Karnataka CM tells banks to up credit flow

Bangalore, July 27 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Saturday told state-owned and scheduled banks to increase credit flow to stimulate growth and expand financial inclusion.

"Though Karnataka pioneered five state-run banks and two private banks and has 8,430 bank branches, including 3,295 in rural areas, their credit flow has not increased much, as evident from the credit-deposit (CD) ratio at 75 percent in the state, as against 117 percent in Tamil Nadu and 120 percent in Andhra Pradesh," Siddaramaiah told bankers at a meeting here.

Noting that even in rural areas, the CD ratio across the state was at 100 percent as against 132 percent in Tamil Nadu and a whopping 173 percent in Andhra Pradesh, the chief minister said the trend had to be changed to ensure higher credit to priority sectors for the socio-economic development of the people.

"I also notice that ratios for primary sector advances, agricultural advances and SC/ST advances to the total advances have declined or stagnated. It is not clear why banks in the state have been so conservative in lending, which resulted in negative growth or under-achievement," Siddaramaiah said.

Addressing the state level bankers' committee meeting, the first since he took over as chief minister in May, Siddaramaiah told the heads of various banks to adopt growth strategies to reach out to the most vulnerable in society.

"It is a matter of concern that the banks have not achieved the lending targets set for social sector development corporations like Ambedkar Development Corporation, ST Development Corporation, Minority Development Corporation and Devaraj Urs Development Corporation across the state," the chief minister lamented.

Pointing that bank credit flow in the education sector across the state at Rs.263 crore was far lower than Rs.11,894 crore in Tamil Nadu, Rs.7,210 crore in Kerala and Rs.5,446 crore in Andhra Pradesh, Siddaramaiah said as human capital development was essential for sustainable growth, education loan schemes should be extended to rural people to enhance skill development.

"Negative growth even in housing loans is matter of concern as the sector is vital for providing shelter and generating employment. As our endeavour is to make Karnataka a 'Hut Free State' during this decade, banks should partner with the government to provide housing for all," Siddaramaiah asserted.

The chief minister lauded Nabard (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) for pledging credit support of Rs.10,000 crore for farm and rural development in the state and Rs.40 crore for improving income of farmers, artisans and tribals through promotional activities.

Though advances to micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSME) showed increase in volumes, the chief minister said micro enterprises have not been benefited.

"We propose to launch the Rajiv Gandhi Chaitanya Yojane to provide skill training, self-employment and placement opportunities to 200,000 unemployed youth in the state. I urge banks to support the trained youth with loans for entrepreneurship development," Siddaramaiah added.

Syndicate Bank chairman Sudhir Kumar Jain, RBI regional director Uma Shankar, Nabard chief general manager G.R. Chintala and state chief secretary S.V. Ranganath participated in the meeting.

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