BL :Mumbai, Nov. 19: 2013
Govt to help bank raise money at cheaper rate: Chidambaram
Batting strongly for the first women’s bank in the public sector, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said anyone who supports the idea should open an account with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
“My appeal is not only to women but also to men. I think you should open an account in the name of your wife, daughter and niece. The best gift you can give your mother is to open an account in her name,” Chidambaram said at a press meet organised at the bank’s Mumbai branch at Nariman Point on Tuesday.
The Minister said he wanted more bank accounts to be opened in the next few days in the nine branches.
“And as BMB opens more branches, I want people to stand in queues, if necessary. Only a few days ago, you stood in queues outside Wankhede Stadium,” he said.
The Minister said if BMB is able to access money at a cheaper rate, it can offer loans at a cheaper rate. “We (Government) are going to help them raise money at a cheaper rate,” he said.
Including the Mumbai branch, BMB has nine branches. By the end of the current financial year, it will have at least 25 branches.
The bank was inaugurated on Tuesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, among others. Chidambaram said “It is my intention to ensure that BMB has a branch in every State capital. Then we will branch out to the Tier-II towns, unbanked areas and rural areas, where the potential to tap women’s savings is infinite.”
The Minister has requested the RBI to show forbearance on the requirement to have 25 per cent of the branches in rural and semi-urban areas in the first year so that every State capital has a BMB branch.
BMB is a universal bank and will provide every facility that is now provided by a public sector or a private sector bank. In addition, it will address gender related issues, it will design and offer special products for women.
“While every bank, according to its charter, is supposed to do these things, the fact is they don’t because they have other priorities and other goals. Since our priority is women, this bank will address these issues which have been neglected for years,” the Minister said.
According to Usha Ananthasubramanian, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahila Bank, women have capabilities in food preparation and catering but they don’t have a formal label or system to start organised business.
So, Mahila Bank will fund women who are engaged in catering services so that they are not only able to establish themselves but also provide employment to women.
“Working women are normally worried about their children. So, we want to develop hygienic day-care centres.
This would benefit the working women. We would like to come out with a product for developing day care centres,” she said.
The bank will also offer home, education loan and SME loan products.