Govt Meddling In JKB Affairs Would Hamper Its Growth: Omar

Govt Meddling In JKB Affairs Would Hamper Its Growth: Omar

17 March 2012
Rising Kashmir


Jammu: Underlining the role of strong and vibrant financial institutions in the development of core economic sectors particularly Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (MSME) in the State, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said although government own J&K Bank but government should not run the affairs of the Bank as it would prove fatal to its functioning and growth. Omar inaugurated 111 business units and ATMs of J&K Bank through electronic device at a function at Jammu University here. Speaking on the occasion, he said investment and liberal lending by Jammu and Kashmir Bank to the handicrafts, tourism, agriculture and allied sectors is also of immense importance to enhance economic activities and generate employment. “Local industrial units function under all circumstances. Their business is not dependent upon the packages and tax concessions. Local industrialists do not close their units with the closure of special packages, as such, contribute regularly in economic growth and development of the State”, he said adding that this sector should receive focused attention while welcoming the outside investors in the State. Referring to the location disadvantage of J&K for heavy and large industries, the Chief Minister underlined the importance of focusing on SMSE, agriculture and allied sectors. “The tourism occupies important position in our economy and flow of tourists to all the three regions of the State is remarkable. More than one crore pilgrims visit Mata Vaishno Devi annually. If we are able to convert one percent of these to normal tourists, we would be making significant dent in the economy and employment generation in this sector”, he said identifying the role of Bank in the growth and development of tourism industry in the State. He said Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather has given the State best ever budget where under greater focus has been given to core sectors especially agriculture and allied activities. “J&K Bank should invest in this area and contribute in efforts of the government in bringing about remarkable change in the development and growth of agro-based economy in the State,” he said. “The government owns J&K Bank but it is my considered opinion that government should not run the affairs of the Bank as it would prove fatal to its functioning and growth”, Omar said. Asserting that he is keen to keep J&K Bank apolitical and without any interference from the government, he said, “We want Jammu and Kashmir Bank to be real friend of people and provide them liberal financial support to raise business and start economic ventures. The support from the government to J&K Bank will continue”. “Doing away with the practice of getting overdrafts from the Bank by respective governments; my government shifted to new initiative of ‘ways and means’ and provided J&K Bank an opportunity to strengthen its edifice by investing the overdraft money in various business activities in the State. Normally any change in routine is not welcomed but when we discussed this initiative with the Chairman and top management of J&K Bank, we received encouraging feedback and shifted to ‘ways and means’ mechanism from the overdraft procedure,” Omar said adding political opponents of the government also tried to create hype in this regard circulating the concept that this initiative would weaken the Bank. He said they have found the initiative is yielding useful results for the growth and development of the Bank. “This initiative not only helped the Bank to strengthen its foundation and business avoiding reliance on government but helped it to broad base its reach to the people across the State”, he said referring to the growth and development shown by the Bank since the introduction of the new initiative by the government. Appreciating Chairman and management of J&K Bank for running affairs of Bank in most professional and efficient manner, the Chief Minister lauded the Bank for showing remarkable growth and development in business and lending under the new initiative. “You have not only strengthened your position but expanded your business. J&K Bank should work for making Jammu and Kashmir Bank an International Bank. You are already one of the best banks in the country and your new target should be to achieve the status of an International Bank for which you possess good scope than other banks”, he elaborated. Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather appreciating the development and financial health of Jammu and Kashmir Bank stressed on enhancing the credit flow from the Bank to the ground particularly in agriculture sector. “Though Bank’s performance in lending advances has been praise worthy, yet there is scope and need to focus on primary sector of economy i.e. agriculture”, he said and urged the Bank to concentrate more attention on this sector. He said the next year’s budget has made agriculture a tax free sector which should serve a message to Jammu and Kashmir Bank and other financial institutions regarding the keenness of the government for the holistic and inclusive development of agriculture in the State. Rather lauded the efforts of Jammu and Kashmir Bank for making investment in agriculture sector contributing 63 percent of the total investment made by all banks in this sector emphasizing the need for added attention to ensure sustained growth and development and help generation of employment. The Finance Minister also appreciated the Bank for contributing Rs. 3200 crores out of overall lending of Rs. 4450 crore by all banks registered in the State this year. “This shows 72 percent contribution from Jammu and Kashmir Bank which is not only encouraging but praise worthy”, he said and also highlighted the profit of about of Rs. 600 crores registered by the Bank during current financial year by the end of December 2011 against Rs. 475 crores during the last financial year in the same period. The Finance Minister said that the scope of enhancing lending and increasing investments in core sectors of economy including agriculture and allied sectors would be discussed in detail in SLBC meetings. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Mushtaq Ahmad said J&K Bank is set to achieve the business target of Rs. 85,000 crores by the end of this fiscal while the profit is likely to be Rs. 800 crores. He said Bank strives to achieve Rs. 100,000 crores business by the end of 2012-13 and register a profit of Rs. 1000 crore. He said by e-inauguration of 111 Business Units and ATMs today by the Chief Minister, the number of Bank branches has gone to 602 of which 494 are in the State and the number of ATM went up to 506. He said today’s inauguration of Business Units included 41 new branches and 70 ATMs across the State. Mushtaq said that Bank has a target of establishing another 125 Business Units during the next fiscal and adding 300 branches in next two to three years. He said that the Bank is also providing job opportunities to meritorious and efficient youth adding that during the current fiscal, about 1500 youth have been provided jobs at various levels. “We intend to recruit 300 to 400 Relationship Executives in next year”, he added. Referring to the cooperate social responsibilities of the Bank, the Chairman said that besides contributing in the growth and development of economy of the State by investing and lending loans to business persons and entrepreneurs, the Bank is also establishing parks and contributing in medical welfare of the people. Minister for Health and Medical Education, R. S. Chib, Legislator G. M. Saroori, Economic Advisor to Government, Jaleel Ahmad Khan, Principal Secretary R&B, K. B. Agarwal, Vice Chancellor, Jammu University, Chairman Chenab Power Company, M. Y. Khan were present on the occasion among others.