Odisha worried over poor Aadhaar seeding, low banking penetration

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Poor Aadhaar seeding of bank accounts and low penetration of banking in rural pockets seems to be holding the Odisha government back in implementing Direct Transfer of Benefits (DBT) in the State.

Worrying factor

Addressing State Level Bankers Committee meeting here on Friday, State Finance Minister Pradip Amat said: “The government wants to encourage DBT to all beneficiaries under various government Sponsored schemes. This has not been possible due to poor bank branch network in interior areas. Poor Aadhar seeding of bank accounts is also a worrying factor.”

“The State Government is going to set up a DBT cell to improve direct benefit transfer. Although Aadhar enrolment has been done for 91 per cent of the eligible people in the State, Aadhaar seeding has been done only for 35 per cent of the bank account holders.”

“Banks may conduct Aadhaar seeding in camp mode in coordination with concerned government departments,” he exhorted.

Expressing satisfaction that about 97 lakh new bank accounts were opened in the State under the Jan Dhan Yojana, Mr. Amat said, “almost 25 per cent of these accounts still have zero balance. This means that these accounts have no transactions at all. Also, 25 per cent of these new account holders are yet to receive their pass books. We should strive to make the existing bank accounts fully operational so that people are not denied basic banking facilities.”

Finance Minister asked bankers to improve agriculture term loan lending rate. “Under agriculture term loan, the achievement was less than 50 per cent. This year at least we should ensure 100 per cent target achievement under agriculture and allied sector. However, during the first quarter of this year, only 21 per cent of crop loan and 14 per cent of term loan targets have been achieved,” he pointed out.

Quarterly targets

“Unless we start achieving our quarterly targets from the beginning of the year, we cannot achieve the annual targets. The State heads of all banks should closely monitor their target achievement under priority sector lending,” Mr. Amat warned.