New Delhi: Addressing on the occasion of Central Bank of India centenary celebration here on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee called upon banks to be partner of the socio-economic growth of the country and urged them to lend support to the industries to meet the present challenges, which has posted 5.1 percent fall of IIP.  

Dwelling at length to promote financial inclusion for sustaining high growth of the banking sector, he said, "Financial inclusion is an important policy of the government to sustain a high growth rate as well as address the chronic problem of poverty, deprivation and disparity." He also appreciated the efforts being put in by the bank in providing advanced IT based facility to the customers and its various initiatives in the field of financial inclusion.

Banks have been advised, he said, to issue Kisan Credit Cards to all eligible farmers. "I have requested the state governments to take up this task on a campaign basis," he said and added that for the current financial year, the target for agriculture credit flow has been fixed at Rs 4,75,000 crore against which the banking system has already extended credit of Rs 2,23,380 crore as on September 30, 2011.

Giving a brief account of the bank’s long journey of 100 years, MV Tanksale, CMD of the Central Bank of India, said: “We have evolved various schemes during our long innings and was the pioneer in initiating various products and processes.”