Millennium Post

Committee to look into issues ailing cooperative banks

Kolkata: Expressing her optimism that cooperative banks in Bengal will be a model for the whole country, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced the constitution of a high-power committee to look into the problems associated with these banks and suggest measures to revamp their operation.
"A high-power committee headed by the Chief Secretary will be constituted, which will look into the problems of the cooperative banks in the state. It will submit its findings along with recommendations in another six month's time to me," Banerjee said.
She added that the committee will examine the ways of raising the deposits of the cooperative banks, devise means for proper audit and also suggest ways on how to solve the problems of the employees associated with the banks.
"Currently, you have a deposit of Rs 30,000 crore in the banks. We will have to raise it to 1 lakh crore in the next few years and for this, you all have to work very hard for the next three to four years," Banerjee said at a symposium on 'Role of Cooperatives for Socio Economic Development', organised by the state Cooperation department at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
The Chief Minister stressed on discipline among the employees and audit for ensuring accountability, transparency and credibility of the cooperative banks as an important stride towards raising the deposits of the banks.
"You have been able to disburse Rs 3,000 crore as agricultural loan. If you want to provide loan of around Rs 20,000 crore in the next few years, you have to raise your deposits to Rs 1 lakh crore," she said.
Elaborating on the steps that the government is taking for a complete overhaul of the cooperation system, Banerjee said that computerisation of the banks and training for the employees will be prioritised.
The Chief Minister welcomed the decision of the Cooperation department to open as many as 75 cooperative bank branches soon and urged the department to open 220 such bank branches in the next few years.
"There are many areas in the state that are still not covered by the nationalised banks. I will urge you to open branches in these areas," she added.
The Chief Minister said that the Cooperation department has been neglected for many years and urged the department to pull up their socks with the officials of the department working with dedication and seriousness.
In a stern warning to dishonest officials, she said, "No one should misuse funds of the cooperative banks. There have been cases when loans have been given indiscriminately and later, the authorities have approached the government for help," Banerjee said.
She cherished her hopes of strengthening these banks in such a manner, so that loans for government schemes like Kanyashree, Yuvasree etc., are disbursed through the cooperative banks. "We want to convert these banks in such a way so that they function in the same fashion as the nationalised banks," said an optimistic Banerjee.

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