Patna: Bihar, which lags behind the national average on development indices like roads, power and per capita income, also has a poor banking network that is posing a roadblock in the growth process.

While there is one bank branch for population of 12,000 at the national level, in Bihar there is one bank branch to cater to a population of 22,000.

Of the 8500 gram panchayats in Bihar, around 5000 does not have a bank branch, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar rolled out the figures during a meeting of State Level Banking Committee (SLBC) at Rajgir on Saturday.

The second most populous state of the country has a total of 5270 bank branches of which 3143 are in rural areas, 1150 semi urban and 978 in urban locations, he said.

Of the 2509 ATMs in the state, only 395 are in rural areas, Kumar told at the meeting attended by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and top officials of nationalized banks.

The Chief Minister sought better banking facilities in the state to give momentum to its growth process.

He stressed on the need for opening new bank branches in the left out panchayats and appointment of an official immediately who will have the power to sanction loan so that needy people get money from bank for starting some venture.

Extending its helping hand to Bihar, Chidambaram laid out ambitious targets for 2014-15 for a strong banking network in the state. He set a target of opening 750 new branches in the state in next one year.

He instructed the banks to liberally give loans particularly for education, food processing and agriculture.

Chidambaram said though the CD (Credit Deposit) ratio in Bihar has improved to 40 percent in 2012-13 it needs to further go up in the future.


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