Finance Minister tells Banks to prioritise providing loans for education

Finance Minister tells Banks to prioritise providing loans for education

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has asked bankers not to hesitate in providing educational loans to students, as it was an investment towards human resource development.

Inaugurating the 1,937th branch of the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) at Madampatti near here on Sunday, he said that in the last four years, educational loans to the tune of Rs.20,000 crore had been given to 12,51,691 students across the country.

He also urged the banks to prioritise their services in providing loans for education, and to farmers, self-help groups and cottage industries.

He recalled that when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came to power, the loan amount disbursed to farmers was Rs 84,435 crore. “I had promised to double it in three years.

But now after four years, it has tripled to Rs.2,50,000 crore. Our estimate for 2008-09 is Rs.2,80,000 crore. The interest rate has also been reduced to 7 per cent from 10 per cent,” he said.

Reiterating that the loan waiver for farmers was only a one-time exercise, Chidambaram said that loans to the tune of Rs.66,000 crore had been waived off, benefiting 3,66,000 families in the country.

The finance minister also distributed priority credit loans to the tune of Rs.4.12 crore to 1,720 beneficiaries on the occasion. G Narayanan, Executive Director; IOB, MN Kandasamy Director, IOB, and P Ramarathnam, General Manager, were present.