New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the RBI and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) have no objections on raising bank credit to minorities but difference of opinions need to be reconciled before a policy position is brought out.
“Nobody has any objection as such. There are point of views. These have to be discussed and reconciled,” Chidambaram said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
The RBI, he said, feels that targeting more loans to minorities may lead to some double accounting as the same community may fall under other categories already defined for priority sector lending.
“I have said there will be no double accounting,” he said adding the RBI was of the view that banks should concentrate on districts with heavy minority population to realise Government’s objective of banks increasing lending to minorities.
There was difference on perception and approach, he said. “I’m confident differences can be reconciled.”
The Finance Ministry was engaged in consultations with the IBA and the RBI to iron out some differences on raising loans to minorities, Chidambaram said.
“I’m reasonably confident (that) we will iron out differences to arrive at a policy position (soon),” he said.
“I am sympathetic to the idea that more loans must be given to minority communities,” the Finance Minister said.
Chidambaram said of the total priority sector lending, loans to minorities has risen 33 per cent to Rs 45,490 crore in the year ended March 31, 2006 as against Rs 34,654 crore when the UPA government took over in 2004.