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Process of online banking will be completed by year-end: Chidambaram

HELPING THE NEEDY: Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram handing over a cheque to a self-help group member after launching the Puduvai Bharathiar Grama Bank in Puducherry on Sunday.

HELPING THE NEEDY: Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram handing over a cheque to a self-help group member after launching the Puduvai Bharathiar Grama Bank in Puducherry on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: T. Singaravelou

Special Correspondent

All banks in the country will introduce the services, says Finance Minister

PUDUCHERRY: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Sunday that the process of online banking in the country would be completed by the end of this year.

After inaugurating the Puduvai Bharathiar Grama Bank (PBGB) sponsored by the Indian Bank, he said as of now, online banking services were available in six or seven banks. By the end of this year, all the banks in the country would introduce the services, he added.

The process of providing education loan had been simplified, he said, adding that under the United Progressive Alliance Government, education loan to the tune of Rs.12,000 crore had been disbursed to 12.51 lakh students.

Referring to the remarks made by Chief Minister with regard to the problems faced by the students who applied for education loan, he said since he had been keeping the subject under his direct supervision, action would be taken against the erring bankers within 24 hours if loan was not given within a week to eligible persons who had applied as per the rules stipulated by the government.

Stressing the need for efforts to develop eligibility for availing bank loan through prompt repayment, he said as many as 6000 self-help groups out of a total of 12,000 groups had been provided loan to the tune of Rs.58 crore in the Union Territory.

The quantum of education loan had also increased from Rs.59.29 crore in March 2007 to Rs.75.94 crore in December 2007, marking a 27 per cent growth.

The functioning of the 92 regional rural banks had been streamlined now through reorganising them. The Pallavan Grama Bank and the Pandian Grama Bank sponsored by the Indian Bank and the Indian Overseas Bank respectively were performing well in Tamil Nadu, he said.

It was a fitting tribute to poet Bharathi that the regional rural bank had been named after him, Mr. Chidambaram said adding that the PBGB would have 25 branches in the Union Territory shortly.

Commending the role played by the banks through their 124 branches including 46 branches in the Union Territory, he said as the banks did not face funds crunch, they should come forward to lend more liberally.

Mr. Chidambaram appealed to the Congress functionaries to prepare themselves to meet the Lok Sabha elections slated for next year by setting up booth committees in all the 17 Assembly segments from where the party contested in the last Assembly poll.

Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V.N. Narayanasamy asked the Finance Minister to earmark adequate funds for the Union Territory for setting up of Information Technology units, a textile park and special economic zone, besides enhancing infrastructure to promote tourism.

Seeks more assistance

Mr. Rangasamy said the Union Territory needed more Central government’s assistance for construction of houses for the fishermen belonging to the tsunami-hit areas and completion of the government medical college project. Leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi in Parliament M. Ramadass said the launching of the PBGB would enable the hitherto marginalised sections to avail themselves of bank loan.

Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Bank M.S. Sundara Rajan said the PBGB would reach a business level of Rs.50 crore at the end of the current financial year with deposits at Rs.26 crore and advances at Rs.24 crore.

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