59 per cent have access to bank services : FM
New Delhi, Mar 15 : Nearly 59 per cent of the Indian population including 67.8 per cent of urban areas and 54.7 per cent in rural areas were availing banking services according to the findings of Census 2011, Lok Sabha was told today.
Answering a question, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a written answer that there were 100,277 branches of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in the country at the end of 2012 including 36,972 branches in rural areas and 26,595 in semi-urban areas working out 63 per cent in non-urban areas.
The decision to implement Direct Benefit Transfer envisaged extension of banking services to the entire country in a phased manner.
To enhance the reach of bank facilities particularly in rural hinterlands, the Government and RBI were taking numerous initiatives like establishing 152,328 Customer Service Points with Business Correspondent Agents deployed by banks through whom transactions worth Rs 16,533 crore were carried out during April-December 2012.
The RBI, he said had permitted domestic SCBs to open branches in rural and semi-urban areas and urban centres in North-East without its permission in each case subject to reporting. They were asked to allocate atleast 25 per cent of their total branches to be opened in an unbanked Tier 5 and Tier 6 centres which did not have brick and mortar structures.
The RRBs too were allowed to open branches in Tier 2 to Tier 6 centres subject to reporting and fulfilling certain conditions.