Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of Bengal has launched 51 new panchayat branches of Canara Bank in the rural unbanked areas of her state with the aim to save rural people from being duped by chit funds.
Recently, banks pointed out to the state finance minister during state-level bankers’ meet that the chit funds were expanding in full pace and for which the banks were unable to mop up enough deposits. Following the Saradha collapse in April 2013 and several hundred chit funds busted, the Chief Minister became rather worried.
Banerjee said, “The government is providing a ready clientele to the banks as we are giving all the regular funds like pensions, scholarships, stipends and even the wages of 100 days work through the banks. There are several villages without banks and for that the government wants the banks to operate even through mobile vans.”
Bank, however, have pointed out that without proper security assistance from the state government, they cannot operate mobile banks. According to the industry insider, bank officials are worried with the law and order situation, as they feel that the mobile vans can be looted mid-way.