New Delhi: Owing to the sluggishness of the UPA government, many important policy decisions are hanging in balance. The indecision has also marred one of the most important Central schemes of spreading the banking facility to rural areas.

The public sector banks, even after the Finance Minister’s promise, are yet to receive the additional aid. As a result, the scheme of spreading banking facilities in the rural areas has been at a snail’s pace, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The lackadaisical approach of the Finance Ministry can be gauged from the fact that the two-year-old scheme of spreading the banking facilities in 73,000 villages, having a population of more than 2000, has not been materialized till date.

According to the data of banking department (Finance Ministry), the banks could reach only 46,000 villages till November 2011. Significantly, the banks have to extend their services in rest of the 27,000 villages in the next four months.

If banking sector sources are to be believed, eight banks are waiting for additional fund from the Centre. In Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s annual budget, these banks were promised for aid of Rs 6000 crore. Two months back, the Finance Minister had also promised to give additional fund to few other banks.

The State Bank of India is also in need of Rs 3000 crore to Rs 6000 crore so that this amount is utilized for stabilization of the banks’ Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR).

Notably, the CAR ratio is used to protect depositors and promote the stability and efficiency of financial systems around the world. Therefore, when the Centre delays in releasing the additional fund to the respective banks, they are unable to decide their CAR ratio.

As per the plan, 16270 villages were to get the banking facility by 2012 in Uttar Pradesh, but till date only 8820 villages have availed the services. Similarly, only 4402 villages out of 9213 have got the banking facility in Bihar till date.

Significantly, the banking facility in New Delhi is even not satisfactory. Out of selected 110 villages, the banks are yet to extend their services in 47 villages.

A glance at the figures:

States         Selected Villages    Development
Uttar Pradesh    16270            8820
Bihar                  9213            4402
Punjab               1576            1181
Delhi                   110            63
Jharkhand           1541            1135
Haryana              1838            1508
J&K                      795            628
Himachal                48            37
Uttarakhand          216            133

JPN/Bureau