TAMIL NADU

“India need not have fear about competition”

ALL ATTENTION: A section of the UCO Bank employees at the All- India UCO Bank Employees’ Federation Conference in Chennai on Sunday.

ALL ATTENTION: A section of the UCO Bank employees at the All- India UCO Bank Employees’ Federation Conference in Chennai on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Ganesan

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: India need not have fear about competition or globalisation, it is the Western world that has to fear and respect India as Indians have determination to make it to the top, said Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday.

Addressing the open session of XIII triennial conference of the All India UCO Bank Employees’ Federation, he said “The 21st century is the century of Asia in which India and China are going to be to the dominant players. Countries such as Vietnam and China have shown the way. We should remove the shackles and change the mindset to emerge at the top. If China can do it in 5 years, we can do it in 10 years.”

Lauding the top management, employees and trade union representatives of the UCO Bank for making a remarkable turnaround in its performances (1997-2007) from a net loss of Rs. 211 crore to a net profit of Rs. 412 crore, he asked them to move a step further to convert it as the number one bank in the eastern parts of the country and among the top 5 banks in the country by 2018.

At the same time, he urged the UCO Bank management to address some of the critical issues to grow faster than the industrial growth rate. According to him, the bank’s advances as of March 2008 grew by 17.18 per cent, far below the industry average growth rate of 24.53 per cent, while deposits grew by 23.20 per cent as against industry average growth rate of 23.59 per cent.

“The gross and net non-performing assets are much better than what it was 10 years ago. You have to redouble your efforts to improve it. I hope it would be better in 2008-2009. I will be shortly visiting the bank and have discussion with the board, management and union representatives to review the bank’s performance for the next 10 years,” he said.

Stating that the banking sector crossed the farm credit target of Rs 2,25,000 crore for 2007-2008, Mr. Chidambaram expressed hope that the current year’s target of Rs 2,80,000 crore would be met easily. UCO Bank chairman and managing director S.K. Goel said that they had so far adopted 10 villages in the country as part of Village Development Plan to help the weaker sections of the society. The programme was kick-started in Tamil Nadu by adopting Ariyakudi village.

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