Lucknow, March 29 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram Friday said the central government was committed to the development of Uttar Pradesh and that it would look into the state government's request of financial assistance in this regard.
"UP is a very important state and I would like to assure Netaji (as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh is referred to by his supporters) that the union government is committed to the development and progress of the state," Chidamabaram said while inaugurating 300 new bank branches in the state at a function here.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was also present at the opening ceremony.
The initiative is aimed at financial inclusion of the people in the state, the finance minister said, adding that it is a landmark in the country's banking history as never before so many bank branches have been opened on a single day.
"There is no doubt that without developing UP, the nation cannot grow." the minister said.
He also assured the chief minister that the union government did not "discriminate between states" and that "all the requests made by the state government with regards to financial assistance would be looked into".
Complimenting the state government for the project, Chidambaram said he appreciated the speed and promptness with which the stakeholders worked for opening the 300 bank branches in just three months after the idea was floated.
The finance minister said the chief minister was doing well and that he hoped to see Uttar Pradesh on the path of progress.
While disbursing loans at the ceremony, Chidambaram said that very soon every village in the state would have an ATM (automated teller machine).
Of the 1.06 lakh ATMs in the country, Uttar Pradesh accounts for only 1,188.
The finance minister also called upon bankers to treat loan seekers well and encouraged students to apply for education loans. He said that till Dec 15, 2012, about 25 lakh students had taken education loans to the tune of Rs.50,000 crore.
He later interacted here with the branch managers of the newly-opened bank branches at Kannauj, Rae Bareilly, Saharanpur and Deoria.