Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked the Reserve Bank to prepare a 20-year road map for financial inclusion and encouraged banks to be considerate and provide loans to poor people in rural areas, particularly to farmers.
"RBI will be completing 100 years in 2035. It will be appropriate for the central bank to work on the theme of financial inclusion and prepare a road map for achieving it," he said. Modi said that financial inclusion should not remain a government programme but should become "an article of faith". The prime minister was was speaking on financial inclusion to mark the 80th anniversary of the Reserve Bank of India.
Modi said the thinking by the Reserve Bank of India and government on financial matters were often quite similar, although he did not provide any specifics.
Expressing concern of farmers' suicides and the plight of the poor people in the country, Modi asked the bankers to be considerate in providing financial assistance to poor. Farmers' plight should, he added, shake up the conscience of the banking sector.
"Our farmers commit suicide. The pain of this should not only be restricted to newspapers and TV screens. When farmer dies, does it shake the heart of banking sector? Because of taking loan from money lender, he has to face death," Modi said.
He also called on banks to help students. “Our poor students need bank loans to pursue quality higher/technical education and training to be skilled. Lending them can be the biggest financial inclusion. I can assure that you will not see such loans become non-performing assets as these hardworking people will surely return your money."
(With agency inputs)