Raghunathganj: Raising hopes in rural areas, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said 73,000 villages in the country would have banking facility by next year.

"By March 31, 2012, banking facility will be available in 73,000 villages across the country going by the current pace of work," Mukherjee said after inaugurating a Punjab National Bank (PNB) branch at Talai under Raghunathganj police station area in Murshidabad district.

Mukherjee said the government wants to enable every citizen of the country to avail banking facility in future.

He said Talai was among the 117 villages of the country to have been chosen by the PNB to mark its 117th year, where branches were being set up and local development projects undertaken.

Mukherjee also inaugurated an agri-training centre in the village and hoped it would help farmers acquire modern farming skills for better yield.

"Agriculture should prosper through modern technology," he said.

The training centre was set up jointly PNB and the ITC group.

(Agencies)