Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday handed over loans worth ₹205 crore to over 3,000 beneficiaries and launched the CM’s Micro Finance Scheme in Nagaland, officials said.
On the second day of her visit to the North-eastern state, she also inaugurated a branch of a private bank in Mon district and flagged off a Mobile ATM Van to serve the rural people of Mokokchung district.
Sitharaman, who is on a three-day visit to Nagaland, graced the Banker’s Conclave/Credit Outreach Programme and ceremonially handed over loans valued at ₹205 crore under 11 major schemes to 3,422 beneficiaries.
This is part of a total loan amount of ₹223 crore to be given to 3,837 people.
The banker’s conclave is part of the Nagaland government-organised three-day Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Investment conclave inaugurated by the Union minister on Monday.
The 11 schemes under which the loans were given include Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme, Kisan Credit Card, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Stand Up India scheme for ST, SC and Women entrepreneurs and NABARD’s Livelihood Development of Tribal population through Orchards.
Money was also given under the retail banking segment such as housing loans and auto loans, officials said.
Addressing the bankers' conclave, Sitharaman expressed hope that every government scheme would reach the actual beneficiaries.
The Union minister lamented that though 70% of the population of Nagaland engaged in agriculture, the number of beneficiaries of the Kisan Credit Card is only 2.3 lakh.
According to the 2011 census, Nagaland’s population is 19,80,602.
Apprehending that other major initiatives of the Central government must also be facing similar conditions, Sitharaman asked the banks to go the extra mile to reach out to the people living in every corner of the state.
The banks should hire more banking correspondents so that the benefit of the schemes can reach all eligible beneficiaries soon, she said.
She requested Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to use the state machinery for identifying the actual beneficiaries.
"I am very happy that through Credit Outreach, the banks will be extending credit of ₹223 crore under various schemes & retail loans to the people of Nagaland," Mr. Rio said in a tweet.
In another Twitter post, he said, "I'm also grateful to Smt @nsitharaman for joining me in launching the Chief Minister’s Micro Finance Initiative. This initiative will make credit more affordable & available to individuals, SHGs & Farmer Producer Orgs." Earlier in the day, the Union minister flew to Mon district and inaugurated a branch of Axis Bank.
After returning to the state capital Kohima, she flagged off a mobile ATM van of Nagaland Rural Bank which will serve the rural people of Mokokchung district. It was sponsored by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) from its Financial Inclusion Fund, officials said.
Nagaland Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio were present on the occasion.
Ms. Sitharaman also visited Dr Neilhouzhu Kire Government Higher Secondary School on the outskirts of the state capital and interacted with the students and faculty.
On Wednesday, she is scheduled to hold a closed-door meeting with Nagaland’s business community in Chumoukedima district and visit Heirloom Naga, a weaving centre, in Sovima village before leaving for New Delhi.