The government may allocate funds in the ensuing Union Budget of 2016-17 for setting up ATMs at post offices to ensure accessibility to all financial services in every village.

An employee at India Post’s e-Commerce Parcel Processing Centre in Mumbai

An employee at India Post’s e-Commerce Parcel Processing Centre in Mumbai (pic: Kamlesh Pednekar)

“We are looking at see how ATMs and micro ATMs can be rolled out in every post office. Some provisions may be given in the Budget for installing the ATMs at each and every post office,” said Jayant Sinha, Union minister of state for finance, recently at an interaction with the bank officials and Members of Parliament here.

Bank officials present at the meeting said the government is intensifying efforts for last-mile financial inclusion for success of its social schemes. The government is keen cover about 70 to 80% post offices in the first year.

“We appreciate the move by the finance ministry as the post offices have larger network compared to the banks. The opening of ATMs will be key for success of the schemes of the Union government”, said Rabindra Kumar Jena, Member Of Parliament (Loksabha), Balasore who was also present at the meeting.

Parliamentarians at the meet stressed on opening of new banks, among others, in the state. Odisha has set a target for opening of bank branches in 4,597 unbanked gram panchayats(GPs) for last-mile financial inclusion.

The SLBC (State Level Banker’s Committee) has allotted the identified 4,597 unbanked GPs, among the banks having operations in the state to set up brick and mortar branches.

However, banks are going slow in opening new branches. Sources said that only 146 new branches have been opened so far.

For getting all the GPs banked, the state government has assured that banks coming forward to open branches in unbanked GPs will be provided space in panchayat buildings and Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras free of cost for five years.

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/