Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said the money that has come back into the banking system post demonetisation should be used for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society.
He wondered as to why people are critical of 99 per cent of the higher currency cash in circulation coming back into the system after the government on November 9 last year scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. “Isn’t it good that the money has returned to banks… instead of being found in the bedroom, bathroom, under the pillow, the money reached banks. It is a matter of happiness. I am surprised that some people are criticising, I don’t understand why (they are criticising). The money has reached banks but it should now reach the weaker sections of the society and the government has accorded priority to this,” Naidu said while addressing the SC/ST Hub Confluence.
The Vice President said there exists a “misconception” that the poor do not repay loans. He observed that only the rich have evaded taxes, in an apparent reference to the likes of beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya. “There is a misconception that if you give loan, credit to the poor they will not pay, it is wrong. Only rich people, you have seen, have evaded taxes,” Naidu said.
The Vice President pointed out that Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas was not just a clarion call and there was a need to adopt a multi-pronged approach to ensure that there is all-round development. He asserted that merely giving reservation or admission in schools and employment will not suffice, and the oppressed sections of the society must be enrolled and given a helping hand, otherwise the disparities will increase further. Naidu said the government should impress upon Union ministries and public sector undertakings to procure from the enterprises belonging Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe communities.
He urged the government to find out why less than 0.5 per cent of the goods were procured from SC/ST enterprises even after the Public Procurement Policy was introduced in 2012. The policy stipulates that 4 per cent of the total procurement shall be done by ministries, departments and central public sector enterprises from the entities owned by SC/ST. Batting for women empowerment and upliftment of the weaker sections of the society, Naidu said an effective ecosystem must be created for SC/ST entrepreneurs to thrive and make a significant contribution to the growth of India’s economy. “A weakness prevalent in our country is that politicians are a bit hesitant to meet industrialists and talk about businesses. They (politicians) don’t meet them (industrialists) during day but at night,” Naidu said in a lighter vein.
Addressing the conference, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said although banks are autonomous bodies, the finance ministry will urge them to be more pro-active in sanctioning loans to the SC ST entrepreneurs. Besides, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram mentioned that tribal entrepreneurs will soon be made eligible to directly get any financial benefits from the government without the need for collateral.