SRINAGAR: In a function held at SKICC today, Governor Satya Pal Malik electronically inaugurated J&K Bank’s 35 Ultra Small Branches (USBs), aiming at financial inclusion and empowerment of Ladakh, connecting 111 remotely located villages, besides, 5 USBs and 1 Business Unit, spread in districts of Samba, Poonch and Rajouri. He also e-inaugurated social infrastructure initiatives like parks, smart classes and street lights under CSR program.
Advisor to Governor B.B Vyas, CEC, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Sh. Dorjey Mutup, Principal Secretary to Governor Sh. Umang Narula, Principal Secretary Finance Sh. Navin Kumar Choudhary, Chairman and CEO J&K Bank Sh. Parvez Ahmed, besides other senior officers of State Government and of J&K bank were present on the occasion. Councillors of LAHDC also participated in the event through video conferencing.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor commended J&K Bank on this innovative approach towards increasing financial outreach in remote areas marked by harsh climatic conditions and scattered population. He said that such measures help people connect with banking services and make it accessible to them. The youth of these places engaged in studies and various means of livelihood shall also be able to get access to much needed finances in difficult circumstances, he added. Besides he also appreciated Ladakh region for having zero NPAs and urged rest of the nation to emulate this good practise.
The Governor stressed that J&K bank should expeditiously expand this innovative measure to the other parts especially the remote areas to realize the objectives of universal financial inclusion, strengthen the core sectors of the economy and develop an ecosystem for holistic socio-economic development.
Governor also appreciated J&K Bank for amicably resolving the issue of adjustment of 582 candidates who had appeared and competed in the recruitment exam of the bank. Besides, the Governor urged the youth which constitutes a substantial component of the population to come forward and engage constructively in the overall development of the State, thereby laying down the foundation for peace and tranquility.
Advisor to Governor Sh. B.B Vyas also appreciated the Bank’s efforts in reaching out to the farthest corner of the state and expanding the framework of financial empowerment.
CEC LAHDC Leh Sh. Dorjay Mutup applauded the bank for providing people from remote locations of Ladakh with accessible banking services.
Chairman and CEO J&K Bank Sh. Parvez Ahmed, during his address, said that this initiative will give impetus to the spread of financial literacy, penetration of credit facilities which in turn will foster the eco-system of entrepreneurship and start-ups, besides increasing industry-academia interface. Further, financial empowerment of small and remote villages will not only facilitate liberating the population from informal channels of lending especially in remote rural areas but shall also make it easier for the defence personnel to avail banking services.
Pertinently, the 41 Ultra Small Branch named as J&K Bank Easy Payment Units shall be a full-time operational Unit run by an official of the position of an Assistant Banking Associate supported by a Banking Facilitator to provide Basic Services viz. Deposit, Withdrawal, Fund Transfer, Loan Repayments, Balance Inquiry, Collection of forms for Account Opening and Lead generation for loans.
The USB units shall offer numerous advantages including outreach and financial inclusion, credibility of financial services through J&K bank, easy replication in remote areas of other districts like Kargil, Kupwara, Kishtwar, Baramulla etc, employment generation in the Ladakh region (35 Assistant banking Associates and 35 USB Facilitators) besides re-enforcing prospects of economic development of Leh region.