West Bengal Government boosts banking services in rural areas

With the target of extending banking services in rural areas, West Bengal government has decided to develop more than 2600 deposit mobilising Primary Agriculture Cooperative Sector (PACS) as customer service points.
A statement issued by the monitoring panel for the cooperative sector has quoted that the initiative to upgrade the PACS has been taken by the district or state cooperative banks by connecting the customer service points with the core banking solution of cooperative banksdigitally. Under the chairmanship of chief secretary Malay Dey,the panel formed has secretaries of financial cooperation, panchayats and rural development departments as members.
The district as well as state cooperative banks will open full-fledged bank branches wherever possible in the unbanked gram panchayat sectors. The panel has also recommended that micro-ATMs are being installed in the PACS for the convenience of customers.The panel proposed the establishment of 2000 farm machinery hubs as well.
The project has been approved by the state government and in 2018-19, 1000 farm machinery hubs are said to be established while the remaining will be taken up in the coming financial year.
West Bengalgovernment has also accepted the committee’s suggestion of raising ad-hoc grant to Rs 2000 from Rs 1000. The committee further stated the inclusion of employees of cooperatives under the SwasthayaSathi scheme.
It also recommended routing salary and other government payments through District Cooperative Central Banks, Scheduled Commercial Bank or PACS only when the audit reports were up-to-date and there was no major discrepancy found in the details. Citing the current practice of giving getting interest subsidy to farmers for short-term crop loans from cooperatives, the committee suggested that the same facility should be provided for long-term loans as well.
The proposal might be examined by the finance department as the state government has already decided to accept the recommendation according to the statement released.


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