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“Gujarat poised to take lead to provide better financial services to India”

“SLBC need to take the banking services to a higher level, befitting Gujarat’s unique all round ‘development model” – Narendra Modi

Gandhinagar, Wednesday: Even as Gujarat is poised to take a lead in providing improved financial services to the nation, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today called upon the State Level Banking Committee (SLBC) to improve the banking services in the state to a level higher than the normal parameters befitting Gujarat’s unique all round ‘development model’.

Addressing the 132nd meeting of SLBC, he asked the Gujarat’s lead bank, Dena Bank, to evolve and prioritize an action plan after carrying out a comprehensive study of the new directions and avenues opening up in various fields.

Mr. Modi asked the banking sector to map Gujarat’s growth story. He cited the example of Gujarat Government’s initiative like decentralizing the administration down to the taluka (block or subdivision) level under the ATVT scheme.

He wished the banks partner the government to develop the 37 backward talukas in the state. Banks have social responsibilities as well as an active role to play for 43 universities in the state. He suggested banks could install CCTVs at their branches facing the roads too, as a strong security measure.

Mr. Modi said the entire eastern tribal belt, starting from Ambaji in the north to Umargam in the south, is in for a new awakening of sorts. It is time the banks evolve strategy to finance tribal farmers of the region. Similarly, he said, people living in the coastal and semi-arid regions of Kutch need ‘area specific’ strategy to solve their specific shortcomings.

The Chief Minister said that Gujarat has a data bank of 42.09 lakh land holding farmers which could be utilized in disbursing kisan credit cards. The farmers are now showing a growing interest in value-addition to farming. There is need for loans to create agriculture infrastructure in the form of cold storage, warehouses, technology dissemination centres and human resources development. Gujarat’s Sakhi Mandalis is another area waiting for urgent financial support to the tune of Rs.5,000-crore.

Earlier, Dena Bank CMD Nupur Mitra gave details of the bankers’ committee’s agenda and activities in the state.

Indian Bankers Association Chairman and Bank of Baroda CMD M.D. Malya said the Gujarat’s model of advancing loans in rural areas and creating saving habit among women has proved to be a model scheme.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Gujarat’s Minister of State for Finance Saurabh Patel, Chief Secretary A. K. Joti, Gujarat SLBC Convener Suresh Patel, NABARD CGM Dave, RBI’s Sudarshan Sen and senior officers of banks and government.

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Governors are an important pillar of Janbhagidari in this battle against Covid: PM
Combined power of all community organizations, political parties, NGOs and social institutions needs to be harnessed in this fight: PM
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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today interacted with Governors of States regarding the Covid-19 situation and ongoing vaccination drive in the country, through video conferencing.

Prime Minister said that in the battle against Covid, along with the vaccines, our values and sense of duty are our biggest strengths. Praising the citizens who participated in this battle last year considering it their duty, he said that the same feeling of Janbhagidari needs to be encouraged now as well. He said that the role of the Governors, through appropriate utilization of their social capacity, thus becomes all the more critical to achieving this. Governors are an important link to ensure better coordination between State Governments and society, he said, adding that the combined power of all community organizations, political parties, NGOs and social institutions needs to be harnessed.

Prime Minister suggested that the Governors can actively engage to ensure that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with the State Governments towards micro containment. He said that their social network can help ensure an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals. Along with spreading the message about vaccination and treatment, the Governors can also spread awareness about AYUSH related remedies.

Prime Minister noted that our youth, our workforce, is an important part of our economy. Hence, it is important to ensure that our youth follows all Covid related protocols and precautions. He said that the Governors’ role is also critical in ensuring the greater engagement of our students in University campuses towards this Janbhagidari. We also need to focus on better utilization of facilities at University and College campuses, he added. He said that just like last year, NCC and NSS also have a key role to play this year as well. Prime Minister said that the Governors are an important pillar of Janbhagidari in this battle and their coordination with State Governments and guidance to institutions of the State will further strengthen the nation’s resolve.

Discussing the rise in the number of Covid cases, the Prime Minister said that in this stage of the fight against the virus, the country stands to gain from last year’s experience and improved healthcare capacity. He discussed the increase RTPCR testing capacity and noted that the country has become Aatmanirbhar with respect to kits and other material related to testing. All this has led to a reduction in the cost of RTPCR tests also. He added that most of the products related to testing are also available on the GeM portal. Prime Minister emphasized the significance of increasing tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60% to 70%. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested.

Prime Minister underlined that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of vaccines. He highlighted that India has become the fastest nation to reach the landmark of 10 crore vaccinations. Noting the positive impact of Tika Utsav in the last four days, he said that in this period, the vaccination drive was expanded and new vaccination centres also came up.

Interaction

The Vice President of India, Union Home Minister and Union Health Minister also attended the interaction.

The Vice President appreciated the Prime Minister for leading the fight against Covid and his proactive steps to develop the infrastructure required to tackle the pandemic. He also highlighted the scientific community's contribution in giving a vaccine to India and the whole world. He also talked about the contribution of healthcare workers, sanitation workers, and other frontline workers who have played a vital role during the pandemic.

The Vice President called upon the Governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their respective states and engaging with civil society organisations to spread awareness about covid-appropriate behaviour. The Vice president said that a 'Team India spirit' cutting across policy lines should be adopted, and in this regard, Governors as the 'Guardians of the State' could guide the State Governments.

Union Home Minister stressed the importance of saving each and every life. Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on Covid cases and vaccination drive. He gave an overview of how India has followed a proactive and pre-emptive approach in this endeavour.

The Governors shared details of how their respective states are tackling the spread of the virus and coordinating activities towards ensuring a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive, while also mentioning the deficiencies of healthcare facilities in the States.

They gave suggestions for further improvement in the efforts and shared plans of how Janbhagidari can be increased through the active social engagement of various groups.