Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that all the bank accounts of the tea garden workers of Assam should be made Direct Bank Transfer (DBT)-compatible and those accounts should continue to function seamlessly.
While addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Sitharaman spoke on various plans of the government in order to boost development in the state. "All accounts of the tea garden workers should be made DBT compatible, meaning they should have all the prudential norms and even if it is difficult, I want to ensure that the banks take flexible approach in being able to bring in all the tea garden workers who had an account and that account should seamlessly continue," she said.
She also informed the media that the deadline for the banks to complete all the work related to the accounts of the tea workers is March 15. "All the work such as matching the valid ID proofs and everything else should be completed before March 15," she added.
Sitharaman also told the media that ATMs will be set up in all the seventeen districts of Assam with most of the tea gardens. She said that the ATMs will be set up as per the recommendations of the state government.
While addressing the media in Guwahati, Sitharaman said, "I wanted all the banks and associates to come and sit with the Finance and Chief Ministers to understand what the shortcomings of the Budget in Assam are and ways to achieve the target in Assam. What are the challenges faced by Assam's banking sector, with a particular attention to the tea gardens.
Sitharaman said that she had a meeting with the industry leaders, trade associations in one session and in another the economists, public domain experts, tax experts, chartered accountants and so on were present. Guwhati is the sixth city that the Finance Minister has travelled to in order to explain the budget as per the directions of the Centre.
Speaking on the lines of economic development in the country, she said, "There are greenshoots visible. Many of them sustained. Even if one or two are weakening, we are clear that they will also revive, there are monthly ups and downs. But that should not worry. Our Foreign exchange reserve is doing very well. In between because of seasonal vegetables and because of climate change-related issues when crops like onions got affected and the price shot up, it puts pressure on inflation. Even that is coming down."
She continued, "India has also lifted the ban on export of onions. Even the RBI has not just been monitoring inflation but also coming up with steps which would be stimulus to growth. They have particularly extended additional facilities for MSMEs and also for real estates. They have come up with proposals for lending to the banks at lesser than repo rate levels so that the banks can borrow and further lend loans to the MSMEs."
Speaking on the ongoing violence in Delhi and whether it will pose as a block to investment, Sitharaman replied that no such sign has been signaled at by global investors. She shared an instance from the recent G-20 Summit that she participated in. "Nowhere was there a concern saying that there is something happening in India. On the contrary, there were prominent investors who had said that they are willing to even open up a representation of their offices in India. They want to invest on national infrastructure pipeline. So they want to invest more in India."
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