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“Give top priority to social sector lending”

Special Correspondent

Banking sector should reform rural credit system: N. Ram

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Time for reforms:N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief,

Chennai: Social sector lending should be the top priority of banks as doubling of rural credit did not meet the ends that were promised, said N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu.

At the 45 {+t} {+h} Foundation Day celebrations of the State Bank of India Officers' Association (Chennai Circle) on Saturday, Mr. Ram said that social sector lending should be the priority as there was an agrarian crisis in the country which was going down further. The banking sector should reform rural credit system by new good practices.

Around the world, the parallel rise of India and China were the talking points. India was seen as a rising phenomenon. But the basic reality was different. India, beyond doubt, had the largest mass of deprived, be it in income, food, nutrition, health, gender and environment. By any credible estimate, including World Bank figures, there were 800 million poor in the country, he said.

The government might claim that there were only 230 million poor which itself was an appalling number. But 800 million was something else. The consequences were not just academic or intellectual as for instance there was an attempt to reduce and target public distribution system, he said insisting that poorest of poor should not be left out by the Centre's policies.

The mechanical divide between APL and BPL very often left out the poorest out of the whole system for various complex reasons, Mr. Ram said underlining the importance of universal PDS. Tamil Nadu had a functional PDS as far as rice and wheat were concerned, he said. Centre must not draw a parallel to NREGS or cite high fiscal deficit or geographically discriminate in providing food. Universal PDS must be the priority, he insisted.

Recalling that green revolution was made possible because of nationalised banks, SBI Chennai Circle Chief General Manager J. Chandrasekaran said the new challenge was in recruiting a young work force and retaining them. Life time employment in a bank was a thing of the past, he said. Managing an ageing work force with new recruits who were qualified and ambitious will be a challenge, he added.

All India State Bank Officers Federation (AISBOF) T.N. Goel inaugurated the photo exhibition. AISBOF general secretary G.D. Nadaf inaugurated a blood donation camp. SBIOA (CC) general secretary D.S. Rishabadas, president D. Suresh Kumar spoke.

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