Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that financial inclusion and inclusive development are the needs of the hour. He called for ‘Antyodaya’ and stated that development held no meaning until its benefits reached the most deprived groups of people. He was addressing the gathering at the celebration of the 125th Foundation Day of the Punjab National Bank (PNB), in New Delhi, today.
Vice President paid rich tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the most prominent and inspirational leaders of India’s struggle for independence and felicitated the members of his family.
Naidu called for systemic reforms in the Indian banking sector in light of mounting Non Performing Assets (NPAs). He spoke of the need to have an effective and efficient system of checks and balances in place so that the loop holes in the system are not taken advantage of.
Vice President said that India’s financial institutions have been commended globally for being resilient and for having withstood global downturns and recessions well. He opined that banks were no longer just about strong lockers and a good interest rate on deposits. ‘They have transcended their conventional mandates and are now at the forefront of India’s development story’, he added.
Saying that banks played a central role in India’s quest for financial inclusion and inclusive growth, he expressed his firm belief that India’s banking sector was poised for robust growth as the rapidly growing business and commerce in India would turn to banks for credit and other financial services. He cited a number of factors such as the upwardly mobile middle class and the digital revolution as the thrust factors behind these growth prospects.
Citing the gains made by India in digital technologies for banking such as India’s Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), RuPay and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), and the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), a mobile app based on UPI, the Vice President asked banks to further harness digital growth to scale up to the level of world-class businesses. He also spoke about new and innovative business models such as the Payment banks and small finance banks.