Steps taken to ensure availability of cash in rural areas: FM

New delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said steps have been taken to ensure availability of cash in the rural areas. Currency notes are supplied by the RBI through currency chests maintained in the banks, keeping in mind the requirement in various areas and regions, he said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

“Steps have been taken to ensure availability of cash in rural branches of Banks and 1.55 lakh Post Offices. The network of 1.2 lakh Banking Correspondents has also been activated with higher cash holding limits,” the Finance Minister added.

Moreover, he said, states have been requested to identify the rural pockets where availability of cash has been a problem and provide all support to the banks and post offices to ensure the last mile distribution of notes through mobile banking vans and banking correspondents.

Further, the banks have been advised by the RBI to involve the district co-ordinators functioning under the State Level Bankers’ Committee in facilitating/planning distribution of currency from the chests so as to ensure adequate supply of notes to the rural branches, post offices, district co-operative banks etc.

In a separate reply, Jaitley said, the board of State Bank of India (SBI) has approved raising Rs 5,000 crore through issuance of long-term infrastructure bonds for seven years or more during the current fiscal.

During the 7 months of the current fiscal, SBI has disbursed Rs 20,468 crore housing loan under affordable segment, he said. Replying to another question, Jaitley said, India received foreign direct investment (FDI) of USD 22.63 billion in the first half of the current fiscal as against USD 42.45 billion in the previous fiscal.