TOP BJD sources on Tuesday said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is likely to agree to be part of a sub-committee of CMs being formed by the central government to assess the impact of demonetisation. This came a day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke to Naveen, inviting him to be part of the panel.
BJD sources said the Centre’s efforts to get Naveen, who earlier backed PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation announcement, on board was a positive move and he was willing to reciprocate. Jaitley is expected to discuss details of the panel with Naveen when he lands here on December 1 to address the plenary session of the Make in Odisha conclave.
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The sources said Jaitley’s offer would help Naveen politically as it would give him a better chance to fulfil his demands on women self help groups (SHGs), considered an important vote bank for the BJD.
Naveen has been insisting that women SHG members are facing trouble due to restrictions on transactions by the banks. During his meeting with Modi last week, he requested him to allow women SHGs to fully operate their bank accounts. He also requested that established SHGs be allowed to work as banking correspondents or handle ATMs to provide last-mile banking service to unbanked panchayats.
Ahead of the rural polls next February, Naveen on Tuesday announced credit linkage to the women SHG members from the current Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore at 1 per cent interest rate within a year.