Special schemes launched by the Maharashtra Khadi and Village Industries Board (MKVIB), aimed at Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs, have not reached many of the intended beneficiaries as the Board has failed to disburse most of the funds it has received since 2012-13, reveal Right to Information documents accessed by The Indian Express.
In the last financial year, 2016-17, the Board fell short of its disbursal target by nearly 85 per cent, with only Rs 75.55 lakh of the total Rs 500 lakh being disbursed.
The Board has, however, placed the blame squarely on the banks, accusing them of not providing supporting loans to the entrepreneurs.
The Board is the implementing agency for a scheme that focuses on the most vulnerable sections of society, including landless labourers and village artisans. The Board also implements another scheme for SC entrepreneurs, for which it receives funds from the Social Justice and Special Assistance Department.
Under both schemes, the Board provides Rs 10,000, or 50 per cent of the project cost, whichever amount is lower. Banks are supposed to loan the remaining 50 per cent of the amount to the entrepreneurs.
Documents obtained under RTI show that in 2012-13, the MKVIB managed to disburse Rs 214.98 lakh under the first scheme, as against the target of Rs 550 lakh.
During a recent audit, the Accountant General of Maharashtra had raised the issue of non-disbursal of funds by the MKVIB. The Board blamed the banks that are supposed to provide loans to the entrepreneurs, show RTI documents.
“In its reply, the Board stated that under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 10,000 to beneficiaries below the poverty line (BPL), and the rest is funded by the banks as loans. As banks are not interested in providing loans to the beneficiaries, there are shortfalls in achievement of targets,” read the RTI reply.
Milind Kamble, chairman of the Dalit India Chamber of Commerce (DICCI), said banks often refuse to provide loans as they “view the beneficiaries with suspicion”. “Whether it’s the schemes of the MKVIDC, or other financial institutions of the government, the banks refuse to provide loans,” he said.
“We believe the only way out of the deadlock is by ensuring financial literacy,” said Kamble, adding that members of DICCI have taken up a dialogue with the banks to find a solution to the issue.