Reiterating the Government’s top priority of eliminating poverty, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu urged the commercial banks to shed their reluctance in lending to the urban poor. In his inaugural address at the National Conference on ‘Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission’ organized in the national capital, Shri Naidu stressed the need for enhanced credit flow to the Self-Help Groups and for self- employment through individual and group enterprises under the Mission.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu asserted that loan repayment by Self-Help Groups is 98% and hence, were most bankable and eligible for lending. He expressed concern over inadequate credit linkages to such groups in the States in the Northern and Eastern regions of the country with the Southern states accounting for 62% of total credit linkage of Rs.3,173 groups advanced during the last two years under DAY-NULM. He highlighted the importance of supporting Self-Help Groups that are in the forefront of addressing poverty by taking up various economically productive activities through internal lending among the members.
The Minister said that with several initiatives being taken to promote domestic and Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors, there is a vast scope for employment generation leading to increased demand for skilled manpower.
Shri Naidu said that the Government is committed to eliminating poverty by ‘skilling the unskilled, funding the unfunded and reaching the unreached’. The Minister stressed on the need for convergence in implementation of skill development programmes and scaling them up in a convergence mode. He said ‘’25% of people still living Below Poverty Line is clearly unacceptable when the country is aspiring for a lead role in the comity of nations. Concerted efforts need to be mounted to eliminate poverty. Due emphasis needs to be given on training to catch the fish instead of giving fish all the time. While banks should scale up financing, loans need to be repaid’’.
Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that an integrated eco-system is being put in place for skilling of 30 crore people while 24 ministries were involved in handling 70 skill development programmes. He expressed concern over skills not being given due recognition as a result of which ‘ in our country there are no Professors of Carpentry or Plumbing’. Referring to what he called the paradox of people with 15 years of formal education and not finding jobs being promised jobs after a 15 week training, Shri Rudy said this needs to be resolved with proper course content and certification. He urged the banks to accept skill certification issued by approved agencies for advancing loans to skilled people.
Minister of State for Finance Shri Jayant Sinha suggested promotion of financial literacy among the beneficiaries as part of skill certification under skill development programmes to enable them with better management of money and enterprises for further growth in chosen area of career development. He favoured credit lending in the name of women stating that they proved to be more adept in managing finances. He also called for lending higher amounts under anti-poverty programmes. This suggestion assumes significance in the context of average loan amount sanctioned so far for setting up individual micro-enterprises under DAY-NULM being Rs.75,000/- against the permissible limit of Rs.2.00 lakh per beneficiary and Rs.3.11 lakh as against the ceiling of Rs.10 lakhs under group enterprises.
Shri Sinha said that under Prime Minister’s MUDRA Yojana, ‘Loan Origination System’ has been introduced under which credit history of beneficiaries would be tracked to help them develop further by extending all necessary support. He informed that lending target under MUDRA for the current financial year has been increased by Rs.50.000 cr from the Rs.1.30 lakh cr advanced to 3.40 cr beneficiaries during the last fiscal.
The National Conference on ‘Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-NULM’ is being organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to discuss ways of scaling up skills training and credit flow to self-employment programmes and Self-Help Groups.