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Finance Ministry asks public sector banks to ramp up rural ATMs
October, 11th 2013

The Finance Ministry today asked state-run banks to expedite installing automated teller machines (ATMs) in rural areas, which is falling short of the budget target.

Against the target to install 34,668 by the end of March 2014, the public sector banks have put up only 5,726 ATMs by end of August, Snehalata Srivastava, the additional secretary in the Department of Financial Services, said here.

"The number is not so satisfying...I request all the banks to provide this facility in the rural areas and the areas which are needing this kind of a facility," she said.

In his budget speech, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had announced that all the branches of the 26 public sector banks will have an ATM by end of March 2014 and accordingly over 34,000 branches were identified, she said.

Srivastava said this was done in order to provide the necessary infrastructure for withdrawal of money across the clock.

Speaking about the Government's ambitious direct benefit transfer scheme, wherein the Government is aiming to transfer the subsidies directly into bank accounts of the beneficiaries to avoid pilferage, she said Rs 564 crore has been transfered to beneficiaries through 10 million transactions.

Initially launched in 25 districts early this year, the DBT scheme has been extended to 78 districts and "we also had the DBT for cooking gas subsidies being launched in 18 districts in June," she said.

The government has identified 191 districts more to introduce the DBT-LPG scheme, which will be done in a phased manner starting January next year, she said.

On the financial inclusion agenda, she said the 3.16 crore financial inclusion accounts have been opened and 62,000 business correspondents have been appointed.

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