Bhubaneswar: The State-level Bankers Committee (SLBC) Thursday urged the bankers to open bank accounts of migrant workers those have returned to the State as the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown rendered them jobless.

The meeting felt that since the Central and the State government are finding it comfortable in transferring welfare funds directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries, the migrant workers bank accounts would be a means for the government for remittance of funds into their accounts.

The Odisha finance minister, Niranjan Pujari, urged the bankers to extend crop loans to share croppers in the State. He said that the State government has promulgated an ordinance to give entitlement to the share croppers so that they can avail institutional lendings.

Pujhari, while addressing the 158th and 159th State-level Bankers Committee (SLBC) meeting , here on Thursday, said the bankers should take advantage of the ordinance and reach out to the share croppers in the State.

The chief secretary, Asit Tripathy, urged the bankers to open more branches in the State.

Development commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said the bankers should finance the agriculture and allied sector and the MSME sector in a mission mode so as to revive the economy in the post Covid period.

Principal secretary finance Ashok Meena said that an ambitious annual programme, which is about Rs 15,ooo crore more than the last year, has been drawn for the year 2020-21. He asked the bankers to achieve the target keeping in view the present economic scenario. He said last fiscal by March 31,2020, the priority sector lending in the State has been 95.37% of the target.

Stating that practice of remitting funds directly in the accounts of the beneficiaries has become more effective, Meena urged bankers to open bank accounts of the migrant workers. He also said that the bankers should provide at least Rs 2 lakh loans to the Self-help Groups (SHGs).

State industries and MSME principal secretary Hemant Sharma, fisheries and animal resources welfare secretary R Reghu, special secretary finance PK Biswal, UCO Bank managing director and CEO Atul Kumar Goel, RBI regional director MK Mall, SIB chief general manager Pravena Kala, Nabard chief general manager Chandra Sekher, UCO Bank general manager who is the convener of the SLBC meeting Sanjay Kumar along with representatives of 10 leading banks of the State attented SLBC.