Odisha government will assist in opening 340 brick and mortar branches and 337 fixed-location business correspondent (BC) and ultra-small branches in unbanked gram panchayats in the next three years. This was revealed by state Finance minister S B Behera while addressing a State Level Bankers Committee meeting here. "The state government will provide all required support to banks like space in the gram panchayat headquarters and power connection for opening of brick and mortar branches or fixed point BCs," Behera said. The minister urged Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to provide Internet connection to banks in order to provide banking facility to the people in remote areas. The state has a total 4,253 unbanked gram panchayats. On the occasion, Behera inaugurated a web portal to map the banking system in Odisha by the use of GPS. The portal designed by the Odisha Space Application Centre (ORSAC) will provide information on branch details, unbanked gram panchayats, distance from one bank to another in a particular area among others. The portal will give information on unbanked gram panchayats, which will help in opening more brick and mortar branches in unbanked areas, Behera said. The minister expressed concern over the declining trend of CD ratio in the state. The comparative position of credit deposit ratio during 2015-16 and 2016-17 does not inspire confidence, he said adding, the CD ratio excluding advance sanctioned in other states and utilised in Odisha is 50.93 per cent against the benchmark of 60 per cent. The CD ratio in Odisha has declined by about 6 per cent in 2016-17 and the credit investment to deposit ratio has deteriorated by around 5 per cent, he said. Similarly, advance to the MSME sector has come down by 18 per cent in 2016-17 over the previous year, Behera said. The state of education loans and advances to weaker sections has declined marginally and these are disturbing trends, he said while calling upon bankers to make all-out effort to achieve the credit target of Rs 60,000 crore set for 2017-18.
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