New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Lending by public sector banks to minorities has increased to more than 15 percent of the total priority sector lending, an official statement said Tuesday.
It has risen from 10.6 percent in 2007-08 to 15.01 percent by September 2012-13. A total of Rs.1,71,960.71 crore was lent to minorities in this period, according to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
Priority sector lending scheme is a policy of providing a specified portion of bank lending to the important sectors of the economy. It includes agriculture, small-scale industries, cottage sector, tiny sector, export sector, and other small business firms etc.
"In absolute terms, priority sector lending to minorities has jumped from Rs.58,662.67 crore in 2007-08 to Rs.1,71,960.71 crore as on September 30, 2012, thus increasing almost three-fold during this period," the statement said.
Also, a total of 5,954 bank branches had been opened in areas with a substantial minority population during the period from 2007-2008 to 2011-2012.
Priority sector lending to minorities is one of the schemes covered under prime minister's New 15 Point Programme for Welfare of Minorities.