Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 18:
With little respite coming people’s way post Centre’s demonetization move even after ten days of its announcement, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt the people living in scheduled areas in the state from the insistence of PAN card number for deposits above Rs 50, 000.
“Subsequent to the demonetization steps taken by the Central government, the recent directives to banks for insisting on PAN number for deposits of more than Rs 50, 000 is putting tribal families to extreme hardship. Due to withdrawal of legal tender of Rs 500 and Rs 1, 000 denominations, they are now forced to deposit their legitimate earnings in banks. Lack of banks in these areas is forcing people to travel far off distances to make their deposits and in case of higher deposits, not having a PAN card is a huge cause of concern. All this has put people living in scheduled areas to immense hardship,” Patnaik wrote in his letter to Modi.
Non insistence of PAN card shall save people from repeated visits to the banks which they are forced to undertake at present. This would also mean less crowd in banks making their operations smoother. This decision is crucial for mitigating the undue hardship to the people living in scheduled areas of our state most of who belong to tribal communities, Patnaik added.
Notably, 23% of the population belongs to the Scheduled Tribe category residing mostly in 44% of the state.
Due to poor presence of banks in the scheduled areas, a large majority of them are not used to the banking system. As per government data, out of 6500 odd Gram Panchayats almost 4400 GPs have no presence of scheduled banks. A large majority of these un-serviced GPs fall in the schedule areas, inhabited primarily by scheduled tribe communities. In fact, almost 90% of them do not have a PAN card.