Seeking suggestion from the banks and small finance institutions for drafting new empanelment policy, the Punjab Finance Minister Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema on Thursday assured them that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government would adopt a complete transparent process during the empanelment of banks to ensure the safety of funds of government entities besides fostering competition among banks.
Chairing a meeting of representatives from almost all the scheduled commercial banks and small finance institutions doing business in the state, the Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that representatives of various banks have already given representations for empanelment to his office over the last few months and the Finance department has been assessing those. “This meeting has been called to seek suggestions from you all to finalise a criterion for empanelment”, said Cheema while adding that bank’s performance on welfare schemes would be watched thoroughly while considering it for Government Business.
Stressing on the need to promote the banks contributing for the welfare of the society, the Finance Minister appealed the banks to extend credit to the bottom of pyramid, businesses that need it and work with Government in a synergetic manner. He said Punjab identifies itself as a welfare state, and banks functioning in the State should positively contribute towards welfare schemes in a significant way.
Emphasising on their need to boost cooperation from banks with the Finance Department, the Finance Minister said that the banks that would eventually get empanelled would use e-DMS portal by Punjab government for accepting deposits. “We have already asked departments to use the portal, but wherever banks witness that it is not being followed, I expect them to urge the concerned Departments to follow it”, said Cheema.
Stating that the state government would not tolerate any unfair lending or recovery practice, the Finance Minister said that it has been brought to his notice that certain banks are resorting to unfair lending practices. “From charging exorbitantly high interest rate from Government Agencies to adopting coercive practices for recovery from citizens, their conduct is questionable. This will not be tolerated at any cost”, said Cheema. He further added that the Finance department would initiate serious actions, including reaching out to RBI if any instance of such conduct comes to the notice of the Department.
Principal Secretary Finance Ajoy Kumar Sinha and Secretary Finance cum Director Institutional Finance and Banking Garima Singh were also present in the meeting.
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