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ADB pep pill for Bengal

Calcutta, June 12: Bengal will have to improve its infrastructure, policy reform and governance before the ADB considers extending any poverty alleviation loan, according to a senior official of the Asian Development Bank.

“Bengal needs to show more progress. It is a competitive world now. Show results, and more resources will follow,” ADB managing director general Rajat Nag said at a seminar on financial exclusion organised by the BCCI here today.

In 2006, the ADB had granted $1 billion to five states — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Orissa — for lending through cooperative banks to the rural poor.

“Of this $1-billion loan, about $500 million has already been disbursed,” said Nag. “Bengal needs to do more on restructuring co-operative banks. We may look at the state in the next phase,” he added.

Rural credit

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has mooted the idea of setting up rural credit bureaus at the district level.

“We have talked to the RBI about this and it also wants such bureaus to come up. It is in the process of giving three to four licences,” Nabard managing director K.G. Karmakar said.

Karmakar said the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (Cibil) had approached Nabard for this. “At present, Cibil provides credit information about retail and corporate borrowers of banks and financial institutions. But nothing is being done for people in rural areas who have limited or no access to banks,” he said.

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