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E-Pao! Opinion - Manipur- Past, Present And Future

Manipur- Past, Present And Future
Part 3

By: Govind *


Banking:

Economic development of a place is largely depend on banking and finance. Banks are providing financial assistance to needy people for different purposes starting from Pan shop, development of business like financing to big projects and active role in disbursing employees and pensioners of both central and state. If we see the condition of banking in Manipur, we may conclude that the situation is really pathetic and worst in India. Why banking is not developed only in Manipur? We can discuss some of the important reasons as under.

A) Lack of uses of services of banks:

Many people are ignorant the uses and benefits of banking in a place. The schemes available in the banking are not known properly in Manipur. Seeking a loan or advance is regarded as an impossible thing. But nobody is interested to find out why it is happen in Manipur.

We should know lakhs of people are benefited and their live is made by the bank(s) in other states. Many people still prefer keeping their money inside the almirah or money box which is highly insecure thinking that interest in banks are very small and money in the banks are not convenient for emergency. Thousands of students are staying and studying outside Manipur so as thousands of Rupees are being sent to these students. But a few people know money can be remitted through banks by way of demand drafts, Telegraphic Transfer or Mail transfer.

Still we are using post office money order which the cost of sending money is very high. Nowadays the best and quickest mode of transferring money is through RTGS (real time and gross settlement for amount one lakh and above and NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer for smaller amount below one lakh).

These systems of transfer is based on electronic and the amount is immediately credited to the beneficiary account).Another method of sending money is withdrawal by the beneficiary through ATM .In this case the beneficiary has to open one bank account where others can put or deposit in his/her account. The amount can be withdrawn by using ATM card. But in Manipur due geographical situation the technology required can not be implemented and these facilities are confined only in some of the selective branches in valley area.

B) Lack of initiatives from the State government.

Our state might be the only Indian state where the services of the banks are not fully/properly used. Banks are extending public services like withdrawal of pension/salary by the retired/working employees (both the state and the central government). It is really pathetic and horrible to see the line when pensioners draw their pension from the Imphal Main branch of State Bank Of India.

Aged and old people stand for hours to come their turn for withdrawal of their pension. Those who don't want to stand on line has/have to go from backside by paying some.. And the disbursement of state government employees is done inside the Army camp which is quite insecure.

For example, In Imphal district, 1st M.R ground is used as the distribution center for disbursement of salary. This typical system might be available only in Manipur. Nobody bothers the plight of such people including the government, employees, bankers, general public. Pensioners might be ignorant that their pension can be taken through Banks. Bankers will not refuse to introduce such a new step.

C) Undeveloped Infrastructures:

Manipur might be the number one in India where there is worst infrastructure system. Starting from drinking water to accommodation, the condition is really pitiful. It goes without saying the real pictures of our roads, transportation system, building for offices, room to stay, electricity, communication, postal services etc. Outsiders are not willing to come in Manipur mainly due to accommodation problem.

There is no place to settle their families. Only Paona bazaar and Thangal bazaar are the main market/commercial areas. All other areas are almost residential areas including our district headquarters. But these residential areas can be occupied only by our local people due to undeveloped infrastructure and many other similar reasons.

In the outskirt of Imphal town, there is no facility where outsiders can stay. Our living style not living standard also contributes to non adjustable condition. So there is no place to stay except Hotels and lodges. But it is temporary only. Whole family can put up as a family in the hotel. There is no private houses or government run housing society leave alone flats/apartments which can be accommodated by outsiders.

D) No scope for banking industry:

Bank branches are opened based on some important parameters like marketability, secure for loans and advances, possibilities of selling banking products(like different deposit schemes), possibilities of giving loans and advances(as per bank norms), population etc. But in Manipur there is no much scope for banking as there is no big industries, business, corporate etc which big loans and advances can be sanctioned. There is no Forex transaction as there is no exporter and importer even though Manipur is near to international boundary. Lack of good communication, transportation and technology also attribute to the pathetic condition of banking. Only p-segment is the main scope. Agriculture advances are not yet known to Manipur.

E) Need to change banking system/structure :

Banking system/structure in Manipur also attribute to the undeveloped condition of banking in Manipur. For example- big advances can not be sanctioned from Manipur as the powers given to the branch managers are limited/ restricted. In such cases, it has to go to higher authority/controllers for sanction. But in Manipur there is no such authority/controller even the largest bank in India SBI has no such office only in Manipur. While seeking the approval and sanction, it may take one month or even more than one month as such procedures will be sent to other states where there is/are such offices like Tripura or Meghalaya or even it may be in Kolkatta( West Bengal). Also the unsatisfied service of Post Office and Private Courier also add to bitter. Compare with other states including N.E states. There is at least one such office. Definitely, there would be some people who were/are fed up with the system.

In other states in every place where the population is 15000, whether rural or semi urban or urban area, there will be at least one public sector bank branch. How it survives? It is seen that even a total strength of 4/5 staffs can run and bring a profit of 3/4 lakh in addition to expenditure that too in a small place having one high school, one small telephone exchange, one small post office , half pucca road, one small market of 5/6 shops and main business is agriculture and p-segment .

Why it is not possible in Manipur? I will say - It is due to lack of efficient staffs. In all the assembly constituencies, it is possible if the staffs and officers are really hard working with the main target of personnel segment. Bringing/maintaining a total business of 5/6 crore per branch even in every assembly constituencies will not be a great job. I myself can challenge the job. Once the schemes of p-segment advance are popularized in Manipur, Definitely, most/majority of the state/central government employees irrespective of working or retired, will come for loans. Also these loans are 99% secured. Hence, no headache for recovery.

The respective controllers/concerned department may see the possibility of opening more branches in Manipur. It can be opened at least one new branch each or can be added at least one branch if already exists at the following given places.

DISTRICT PLACE MIN-BR THAT CAN BE OPENED.

IMPHAL DISTRICT:

Imphal Town (Outskirt) Kwakeithel 1
Pishum Thong 1
Tera 1
Khurai 1
Porompat 1
Chingmeirong 1
Total 6

BISHENPUR DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Bishenpur Bazar 1
Nambol Municipality Nambol Bazar 1
Moirang Municipality Moirang 1
Thanga Thanga 1
Total 4

THOUBAL DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Thoubal Bazar 1
Sub-Divisional Off Kakching 1
Mayang Imphal Mayang Imphal 1
Yairipok Yairipok 1
Total 4


CHURACHANPUR DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Churachanpur 1
SDO/BDO Singhat 1
SDO/BDO Tipaimukh 1
Total 3

CHANDEL DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Chandel 1
Other Tengnoupal 1
Moreh 1
Total 3

TAMENGLONG DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Tamenglong 1
Total 1

UKHRUL DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Ukhrul 1
Total 1

SENAPATI DISTRICT:

Dist. Headquarter Senapati 1
Other Mao 1
Total 2

No Of SBI branches No of Other PSU Bank branches No of Foreign Bank branches No Of PVT Bank (old)branches New Pvt Bank branches(UTI,HDFC,ICICI,IDBI) TOTAL
Arunachal Pradesh 42 07 NIL NIL 02 51
Assam 205 615 01 06 09 836
Manipur 16 32 NIL NIL NIL 48
Meghalaya 85 42 NIL 01 03 131
Mizoram 24 02 NIL NIL 02 28
Nagaland 43 18 NIL 01 03 65
Tripura 33 60 NIL NIL 03 96
Sikkim 26 21 NIL NIL 04 51

Some facts of banking in Manipur in terms of branches/offices of nationalized , private and foreign banks.

No Associate Bank of SBI is in N.E except 01 branch in Guwahati
No Foreign bank branch is in N.E except 01 branch in Guwahati
SBI and public sector banks figure are as on April 2004.
Manipur is having the least number of SBI branches in N.E India. Perhaps in India even though the population and geographical area is more than some of the Indian states.
IDBI bank has become a public sector bank recently.
Manipur is still holding the record for non presence of old and new private bank till now.
Manipur is also holding the record for having the least number of SBI branches among the Indian States even though population and /geographical area is more some of the states.
Manipur is the record holder for having the highest average population per bank branches.(All India average 15000 per bank branch, Manipur average 33000 per bank branch as on April 2004)
Manipur is the only Indian state where there is no Regional Office of SBI. Other states are having at least one or more regional office.
Among the public sector banks, UBI (United Bank Of India) is having the highest number of branches in Manipur.
IDBI, the new public sector bank is having at least one or more branches in all the states, Except in Manipur.
UTI, the new Private Sector bank is having at least one or more branches in all the states Except in Manipur.

F) Wrong Attitude of the Borrowers/Customers :

It is well known that except personnel loans (under employees scheme) other loans and advances are very prone to become NPA and loss assets to the banks. Why ? The answer is very simple. The borrowers don't repay (in case of term loans) and don't pay interest, don't renew (in case of cash credit) their loan. There is a wrong general thinking in the minds of Manipur- loans are the money of government. So the borrowers are not serious in repayment, paying interest or renewal the loan account.

We should know the principle of giving financial assistance. Once the financial assistance is taken, it means the borrower have to return back the money borrowed from the bank during the stipulated time for repayment. At the same time, we also must know, once the relationship is satisfactory to the bankers, next time when he bargain for a higher loan/advance, the bankers will positively consider his request. On contrary, if the relationship is broken due to borrower's side, that is the end of permanent relation with the bankers even future generations.

Regarding the facilities and service of the banks, our Manipuri people are very very lenient. The concept of quick service and customer satisfaction are not up the mark in comparison to other states. Sitting arrangement for customers are really pathetic. Even rural branches of other states are far above than the Imphal town branches. Still our bankers provide wooden furniture for sitting while other state banks provide high tech-chairs providing enough space. And coming to the building/premises of the branches, it is an another chapter for laughing stock. See the Imphal Secretariat Branch of SBI, it is just like a rural branch building. In such conditions, coming new customers will be a far dream.

At last, not the least, if we the civilians don't unite among ourselves, bringing the total change in Manipur will be an uphill task. Today-what Manipur needs is a total change starting from living style to administration. It is in their hand to save our Manipur from the total collapse.

Concluded.

Read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


* Govind contributes regularly to e-pao.net . You can contact this writer at miyang(at)e-pao(dot)every1(dot)net . This article was webcasted on July 10th, 2007.


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