India has single digit rank in credit availability: Jaitley

 Mumbai, India will soon have banking point within the reach of 5 kms of every citizen, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs  Arun Jaitley said. He was speaking at the 100th Foundation Day programme of Union Bank of India, in Mumbai today.

Union Minister of State for Finance,  Shiv Pratap Shukla and Chief Minister of Maharashtra,  Devendra Fadnavis were also present.

The year in which Union Bank of India was launched brings to our memory the Jallianwala Bagh incident and the launching of the Bank by Mahatma Gandhi denotes the strength of Indian financial institutions, said Jaitley.

Private banks rely on retail banking to grow but nationalised banks have to focus on industry and infrastructure. Keeping in mind the goal of financial inclusion, the Department of Financial Services will have a banking point within 5 km of every citizen, Finance Minister said.

The FM observed that during the period of 2014 – 2018, the population who had access to banking services rose from 58 per cent to almost 100 percent. The banking sector has helped weaker sections with low cost insurance.

In order to reduce corruption, it is necessary to reduce interfaces and customers need not have to visit banks for anything.
The recent scheme of loan approvals in 59 minutes for MSMEs, launched by Prime Minister  Narendra Modi is a step in that direction, stated the Finance Minister.

Jaitley further said that despite higher oil prices and periodic slowdowns, the Indian Economy has clocked good growth rate. NPAs of banks needs to be curbed as healthy banks are necessary for growth of economy. The problem of NPAs which arose due to indiscriminate lending was concealed for a long time, but government adopted a multi-pronged approach and government will ensure that dishonest decisions and not erroneous ones are punished, Jaitley said.

Due to various steps like Insolvency Act, exit laws and removal of discretion, the pace of recovery will be faster in coming days.

The jump in ease of doing business ranking and attainment of single digit rank in credit availability are examples of government’s performance. Backing of Aadhaar through legislation helped in formalisation of economy and reduced pilferage, leakage and duplication. GST and other reforms increased revenues which will be used for rural housing, roads and sanitation, the Minister said.

During this event, five products namely, Combo card (credit and debit), Mudra App for faster loan dispersal, contactless card, U-mobile app and green data centre were launched.

The Managing Director and CEO, UNION Bank of India,  Rajkiran Rai said the Union Bank of India, which is the 5th largest bank in the country, will progress even further and achieve more milestones. Postal stamp and coffee table book were also released during this occasion.