Government has asked public and private sector banks to prepare board-approved financial inclusion plans and make them an integral part of their corporate strategies to widen the reach of banking services, Parliament was informed today.
"These plans broadly include self-set targets in respect of rural brick-and-mortar branches opened, business correspondents (BCs) employed, coverage of unbanked villages with population above 2,000 as also other unbanked villages with population below 2,000 through branches/BCs/other modes," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
The plans in terms of incorporating services also include "no-frills accounts opened including through BC-ICT, Kisan Credit Cards and general credit cards issued", he added.
Sinha said the government has launched Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) which envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension.
The bank account holders of PMJDY also get a RuPay Debit Card having in-built accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.
Over 24.85 crore RuPay cards have been issued by the National Payments Corporation of India till January 1, 2016, he added.
In reply to a separate question on recovery of dues by banks, he said the Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been mandated to dispose off the applications filed by banks and financial institutions within a period of 180 days from the date of receipt of application.
On being asked about rising bad loans, Sinha said the reasons for increase in non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks include slowdown in recovery of the global economy and continuing uncertainty in the global markets leading to lower exports of various products like textiles, engineering goods, leather and gems.
"The government has taken specific measures to address issues in sectors such as power, roads, steel, textiles, where incidence of NPAs is high," Sinha added.
The government has also approved establishing six new DRTs to speed up the recovery of bad loans of the banking sector, in addition to existing 33, said the Minister.