Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday advised public sector banks (PSBs) to enhance the coverage of scheduled castes (SCs) in all schemes. She also called for looking into their needs for capacity building and entrepreneurship development.
She also asked banks to fill the remaining vacancies in a time-bound manner.
“There are improvements required to be carried out in all the schemes like the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes (CEGSSC) and Venture Capital Fund (VCF), among others. It may be taken up by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) after discussion with agencies like the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), which is working with scheduled castes at the grassroots level,” she added.
The FM was chairing the performance review of PSBs on credit and other welfare schemes for scheduled castes. Credit facilities to SCs and scheduled tribes (STs) form a part of the priority-sector lending norms of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
CEGSSC is an initiative by the ministry of social justice and empowerment with the objective to encourage and promote entrepreneurship. These are for scheduled castes, who are oriented towards innovations and supported by PSBs and financial institutions.
This, in turn, is set to create wealth, jobs, develop confidence and promote profitable businesses. VCF for SCs is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship by providing concessional finance.
Maharashtra tops India’s list in the number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) owned by entrepreneurs belonging to SCs. It has as many as 96,805 such enterprises.
The finance minister also said that PSBs must apprise the National Commission for Scheduled Castes twice every year — once around April and during October — on the progress made in recruitment and credit to SCs.