Bengal forms panel to look into cooperative banks’ problems

Kolkata, Jan 25 : A committee has been formed here to look into the problems of the cooperative banks and find ways for their expansion to serve people in no-bank areas, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday.

The committee would be led by Chief Secretary Malay Dey, and submit its report to the Chief Minister within six months.

"It will look into all problems, and see how the cooperative bank network can be expanded to serve no-bank areas.

It will see how the functioning of cooperative banks can be improved and the total loan disbursal raised to Rs 1 lakh crore.

We also need to lay down a better administrative system, and solve some of the problems of employees and meet their demands," Banerjee said.

Describing co-operatives and self-help groups as the backbone of the economy, the Chief Minister said co-operative banks needed to be set up in all areas where there were no banking facilities.

She lauded the department for deciding to open 75 banks in no-bank areas, but asked them to raise the number to 200.

Banerjee said the state had two lakh self-help groups involving 18 lakh people, and over 500 cooperative societies, of which 2631 were very active.

The Chief Minister said the co-operatives have procured a record 28 lakh metric ton of paddy from farmers this year, and called upon them to increase the number of warehouses.

"Thanks to your efforts, the average annual income of farmers in our state has gone up from Rs 91,000 in 2010-11 to Rs 2.39 lakh now," she said.

Banerjee promised to bring the members of self-help groups under the state government's health insurance scheme Swasthya Sathi, but said it can be done only after setting up a computer data base.

Banerjee said once the co-operative banks became self-dependent, the funds for widow pension, and the state government's welfare schemes like Kanyashree and Yuvashree would be disbursed through them.

Cautioning the co-operative bank managements, she said they need to return people's money in time, and disburse loans quickly.



Source: IANS