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Focus on normalising cash situation, prioritise lending to weaker sections: PM Modi to banks

Praising efforts of bankers during the 50-day demonetization period, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked them to focus on normalising situation as fast as possible and prioritise lending to poor and lower middle class.

“My effort is to take the banking system to normalcy as fast as possible in the new year. I have asked all concerned officers in government to focus their attention to this task,” he said. Addressing the nation on the eve of new year, the Prime Minister asked banks to work pro-actively especially for the rural and remote areas so that the difficulties of farmers and villagers can be removed. In a stern warning to those indulged in malpractices during the 50-day period, he said, they will not be spared.

“Amid this herculean effort, some grave crimes by some officers in some banks have come to light. Some government official also committed serious offences and tried to take advantage of the situation and they will not be spared,” he said. Stressing that Indian banking system has never received such a large amount of money in such a short time, he said “While respecting the autonomy of the banks, I appeal to them to move beyond their traditional priorities and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities.”

Prime Minister praised bank employees for their hard work to make demonetization a success. “Female employees too, worked till late hours as part of this mission. Post office staff, banking correspondents – all did exceptional work,” he said. Asking banks not to let go opportunity to serve poor in the centenary year of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, he said they should take appropriate decisions in public interest promptly.

“When policies and programmes are made with clear objectives in mind, not only are beneficiaries empowered, but both short term and long term benefits are achieved. Spending is carefully scrutinised, and chances of good results are maximized,” he said.

Noting that the progress of the MUDRA Yojana has been very encouraging, he said nearly 3 and a half crore people have benefited from this last year and the government now aims to double this, giving priority to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes and Women.