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In Photo: Flanked by Union finance minister Arun Jaitely and Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, founder Chandra Shekhar Ghosh lighting up the lamp to mark the launch of Bandhan Bank in Kolkata on Sunday. Photo posted by Arun Jaitely on FB  

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 23 August: “THE birth of Bandhan Bank (founded) by a Bengali entrepreneur today, will surely help in Bengal’s revival and encourage more individuals in Bengal to come forward and take up entrepreneurship,” Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday at the launch of India’s latest private bank in Kolkata.

The launch ceremony, organised at Science City Auditorium in the city, was also attended by Reserve Bank of India’s deputy governor H R Khan, Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, besides the Bandhan Bank’s founder MD and CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, who happens to be a Bengali hailing from Tripura.

Mr Jaitely stressed that political differences with the Trinamool Congress government would not come in the way of the Centre extending continuous cooperation to Bengal.

But in the same breath he had a word of caution to offer. By making a reference to the Saradha scam, he said: “Unreliable agencies have hurt Bengal in the past. Get rid of such unreliable institutions in the state of Bengal and Odisha.”

Lamenting the lack of economic development in the past in Bengal, Mr Jaitely observed that things were now looking up with the change of guard in the state.

“It’s a pleasant change to witness the city covered with blue banners and hoardings of Bandhan Bank. Earlier when I used to visit Kolkata, it used to be painted in red and that did not surely help in new enterprises to come up.”

He lauded Bandhan’s journey from a micro-finance firm to a bank. “It’s a pleasant occasion to celebrate today as a great institution is born in West Bengal.”

Speaking on the occasion, Bandhan founder Mr Ghosh said that Bandhan Bank would initially refrain from offering large corporate loans. “Instead, we will offer lending support to micro and small enterprises,” he said adding that a “high capital base is a huge strength for Bandhan.”

Bandhan Bank has begun its journey with 501 branches spread over 22 states. It has around 75 lakh savings bank account holders in its fold and has a capital base of about Rs. 3,000 crore.