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Scheduled castes got a "raw deal" under Govt of India credit schemes: Economists

By Our Representative
In a detailed presentation before a seminar in Delhi in front of civil rights and Left-wing politicians, two senior economists with the Transdisciplinary Research Cluster on Sustainability Studies (TRCSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dinesh Abrol and Rollins John have said that the Government of India’s (GoI’s) credit schemes meant for the country’s marginalized communities, as also minorities and women, have failed to take off.
Called “Development for All? Assessing the Pattern of Financing under Modi Government”, and presentation at the Constitution Club in Delhi on March 15, said, quoting the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, that schemes like Shilpi Samridhi Yojana (SSY), MahilaKishan Yojana (MKY), Nari Arthik Sashaktikaran Yojana (NASY), Green Business Scheme and Vocational Education and Training Loan Scheme (VETLS), meant especially for socio-economic development of Double the Poverty Line (DPL) Scheduled Castes (SCs), have “failed to receive” the necessary support from GoI.
According to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GoI, persons whose family income is below Rs 20,000 per annum in rural areas and Rs 27,500 per annum in urban areas are considered to be below poverty line (BPL), and those whose family income is below Rs 40,000 per annum in rural areas and Rs.55,000 per annum in urban areas respectively are considered to DPL.
Analyzing the performance of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), the presentation said, “The committee noted with complete dismay the extremely poor performance of all of these schemes. Even the quantum of assistance provided by the corporation in the range from up to Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 30 lakh is not being disbursed.”
Thus, there were “no beneficiaries” at all under NASY, while under VETLS also, except for 21 beneficiaries in 2016-17, there were no beneficiaries for the last five years. “The same is the case with Green Business Scheme with 40 and 20 beneficiaries in 2016-17 and 2017-18 having 1265 beneficiaries in total four years”, Abrol and John say, adding, “Even under Shilpi Samridhi Yojana there are mere 324 beneficiaries in the last five years.”
As for the Mahila Kisan Yojana, which is exclusively meant for SC women beneficiaries under DPL for income generating ventures in agriculture and/or mixed farming related economic activities, they say, there were “only 915 beneficiaries” in the last five years, say Abrol and John, wondering, why at all was the scheme introduced in, even though “very few women, that too under DPL category, have land ownership rights.”
Quoting from the report of the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Abrol and John say, three micro-credit schemes, Micro-Credit Finance (MCF), Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY) and Ajeevika Micro-finance Yojana (AMY) “are underfinanced by NSFDC for income generating activities for SCs living below Double the Poverty Line. For instance, in the year 2016-17 Rs 29.16 crore was disbursed by NSFDC to State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) and the number of beneficiaries was 7,267.
Further pointing out that SCAs utilised only 5.39 per cent of the allocated funds in the Scheme in 2017-18, the economists say, “SCAs of NSFDC utilized only 50.70, 43.10 and 59.96 per cent of the allocated amount during the year 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively under Mahila Samridhi Yojana.”
In fact, economists say, there were no beneficiaries under this scheme in 2016-17 and only 394 beneficiaries in 2017-18. Further, total number of beneficiaries since introduction of this scheme was only 486 till the end of last financial year i.e. 2017-18, which is nothing keeping in mind the population of the target group. And after September, 2017 there was no progress in the number of beneficiaries which remained the same, i.e. 394, till March, 2018.

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