Tata to open first small bank of NE

Ratan Tata

Guwahati: Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata, who will arrive here on Sunday on a two-day visit, will inaugurate the North East Small Finance Bank Limited and attend the foundation stone ceremony for 19 cancer centres in Assam.

Sources said Tata, through his investment arm RNT Associates, has invested Rs 40 crore in the bank, which commenced operations as a small finance bank from October 17 last year. The Reserve Bank has issued a licence to the bank under Section 22 (1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, to carry on the business of small finance bank.

A bank official said Tata will inaugurate it on Sunday and 28 branches will be declared open. "Nine companies have invested in the bank, aggregating Rs 298 crore through RGVN (North East) Microfinance Ltd," the official said. The total loan portfolio was Rs 1,089 crore on March 31 this year. It is the first small bank to be set up in the Northeast.

The bank has been promoted by RGVN (North East) Microfinance Ltd, which is the sole micro-finance company in the region and the only non-banking finance company in the Northeast to be granted in-principle approval to set up a small finance bank. Barring NEDFi, no other local company has invested in the bank.

"We have been in touch with Tata for the last two to three years and have been sharing our progress reports with him," the official said.

RGVN (North East) Microfinance Limited was one of the 10 applicants which were issued in-principle approval for setting up small finance banks on September 16, 2015.

On Monday, the foundation stone ceremony for 19 new cancer hospitals, to be set up jointly with Tata Trusts, will be held at the Khanapara veterinary ground here.

According to the memorandum of understanding signed with Tata Trusts, Assam Cancer Care Foundation, a joint organisation, has been set up to construct and operate the hospitals. "Thirteen sites have been identified for construction of the hospitals," an official said.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for the project, which will be equally borne by the state government and Tata Trusts, and the new hospitals will be operational in two years.

BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to attend the event.


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