Everyone has right to banking, says FM

Ahead of the rollout of Aadhaar-enabled direct benefits transfer scheme on January 1, 2013, finance minister P Chidambaram said like education, work, food and speech, banking services are right of every individual.

"Banks are not doing a favour by providing services such as educational loans and loans to self-help groups, but are only doing their duty. People have a right to get services like loans from a bank," the minister said on Friday speaking at the Central Bank of India's 102nd Foundation Day function. He said banking does not mean just taking deposits from individuals and institutions and lending to big companies, but it means reaching out to every section of people in the country. "This (public sector banks reaching out to every corner of the country) became possible only after we nationalised banks," the minister said.

Though around 6,500 new branches, at a rate of about 18-19 every day, were opened last year itself, around half of the total over a billion Indians still do not have a bank account, he pointed out. "There is a lot to be done and we must harness the formidable technologies that are there on Friday to reach out to every Indian," the minister said. He said banks must use their branches, ultra small branches, micro ATMs and banking correspondents to make the direct cash transfer scheme successful.

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