State mulls to shift accounts from banks not supporting its schemes

State mulls to shift accounts from banks not supporting its schemes

KOLKATA: The state government is contemplating to shift all bank accounts of its departments and undertakings from the banks, which are depriving students from availing the benefits of education loan under the Students' Credit Card scheme launched by the Bengal government.

The state government has decided to take the 'strict move' after observing that most of the private banks are not participating in the 'flagship programmes' of the state government like extending education loan to students under West Bengal Students' Credit Card Scheme, providing financial support to the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) or issuing Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).

The state government identified that mostly private and a few nationalised banks 'were not wholeheartedly supporting the flagship programmes.'

This comes at a time when already more than 1 lakh students have applied for Students' Credit Card through the recently concluded one-month long Duare Sarkar camps. Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi has sent the message to all concerned officers of all departments and District Magistrates, informing that the state government is "contemplating" to take the "strict step" to shift the accounts to those banks that are cooperating to help students get education loans. Finance Secretary Manoj Pant has also been urged to prepare a list of the "non-participating banks".

The Chief Secretary is also scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on Saturday regarding the issues related to the Students' Credit Cards. Top brass of the Education department and all District Magistrates will also be attending the meeting. The Education department has also been asked to prepare a list, containing details of the applications already filed to avail the facility of the education loan scheme.

Students' Credit Card was launched by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 30, facilitating soft loans up to Rs 10 lakh each at a minimal interest with the state government as guarantor to undertake higher education. It was one of the pre-poll assurances given by Mamata Banerjee.

It has also come to the notice of the state government that apart from a few instances, nationalised banks and regional rural banks are ensuring credit linkage of SHGs and extending financial support to farmers through KCC. But the remaining ones "are hesitating to onboard the Student Credit Card scheme despite being 'sensitised repeatedly.' As a result a large number of students from the state are getting deprived as they cannot avail the 'much-needed education loan during the ongoing admission session'."

Sources said the state government would also take up the matter with the State Level Bankers' Association (SLBC). But the final decision in this regard would be taken up during Saturday's meeting.

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