Ensure rural people do not suffer cash crunch, Odisha urges Centre

Bhubaneswar, Nov 14 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday requested Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley to ensure that people living in the rural areas do not suffer cash crunch due to demonetisation of higher currencies.

“In the context of demonetisation of the old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 along with restrictions on withdrawal, my concern is to ensure that people living in the villages do not suffer on this account,” said the Chief Minister in a letter to Jaitley.

He said about 4,400 Gram Panchayats out of 6,238 Gram Panchayats in Odisha do not have a bank branch.

“In other words, 70 per cent of Gram Panchayats with 1.65 crore people constituting 47 per cent of the rural population do not have proper access to banking facilities,” Patnaik added.

He said they should continue to access benefits and services such as old age pensions, wages under MGNREGA, and scholarships being provided to them without any difficulty.

Besides, bank branches should provide the services relating to withdrawal of money and exchange of old currency in a hassle-free manner, said the Chief Minister.

“Apart from relaxations in withdrawals for government disbursements like old age pensions, which Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has facilitated, I would also request you to instruct RBI and other banks to urgently provide mobile banking services or to set up temporary counters in unbanked Gram Panchayats,” Patnaik said, adding the state government would provide requisite support and infrastructure for this purpose.