Thiruvanantpuram: After Goa and Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, which earlier had a distinction of first state to achieve total literacy, has now become a total banking state. Union Minister of State for Finance Sh. Pawan Kumar Bansal declared Kerala a total banking state on Monday at Thiruvananthapuram. Every single household in Kerala has been brought under banking network with at least one member of each family having a bank account. All such persons will now be eligible for a general purpose loan up to Rs. 25,000.
A deadline of June was set for making Kerala as the first banking state by the State Level Banker's Committe (SLBC) however, Goa and Himachal Pradesh accomplished the feat before the targets could be met for Kerala. The Palakkad district of Kerala also stole the limelight with the distinction of becoming the first district in India to achieve one hundred percent financial inclusion.
Kerala has witnessed a 69.47% growth in the credit to deposit ratio and domestic deposits account for over 60.95% of the total deposits. The minister asked the banks to promote agricultural lending to fuel rural growth and employment. SBI accounted for 33 percent of the total domestic deposits while private sector bank cornered 31.86 percent of such deposits.
A great emphasis on financial inclusion has been put by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and it has asked banks to take innovative measures to extend the banking facilities to rural masses. IT, Biometrics and mobile phones are used by officials of various banks and institutions like FINO, which has provided a smart card, to implement this financial inclusion project.