New Delhi: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has found that 12 public sector banks have not been implementing Central government schemes, recording low loan disbursal, and not filling vacant posts reserved for persons belonging to the SC category.
According to Economic Times, NCSC chairman Vijay Sampla said the commission will review the performance of banks starting this month to understand the issues that specifically hinder the economic empowerment of SC communities. He said the commission has found that banks lack a mechanism to collate and report data on the implementation of central government schemes and job vacancies.
“Since there is no mechanism to collect data, we do not understand the extent of the problem. We will review banks’ functioning on these aspects and make it mandatory for all branches of 12 public sector banks to collect data and report to the commission in October every year,” ET quoted Sampla as saying.
According to the government norms, banks should ensure that 50% of beneficiaries of central schemes, such as the Rural Livelihoods Mission and Urban Livelihoods Mission, are from the SC communities.
“NCSC has found in preliminary reviews that banks have not fulfilled the requirements laid down in RBI [Reserve Bank of India] guidelines. A detailed review is required to set down procedures and a detailed reporting mechanism,” Sampla added.
Towards this end, the NCSC review starting June 7 will examine two banks every week, starting with Canara Bank and Indian Bank. “There are specific RBI guidelines on credit facilities for SCs. There is no awareness about these guidelines and this is why they are not implemented. This directly impacts the welfare of SCs,” Sampla observed.
The commission’s preliminary review carried out in northeastern states revealed that only 2% of loans disbursed were given to persons belonging to SC communities.
Another senior official of NCSC quoted in the ET report said that there is a need to educate bank personnel about welfare schemes and the need to ensure that SC communities are benefitted through them. Citing an example, the official said under schemes such as differential rate of interest, banks provide loans up to Rs 15,000 at a concessional interest rate of 4% per annum to the weaker sections for engaging in productive activities.
SCs face the second highest incidence of multidimensional poverty, after the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in India. Around 33.3% of the 28.3 crore SC population is living in poverty, according to Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, 2021. Given this scenario, successive governments have brought out certain constitutional measures and special policy provisions for their holistic development. However, they have made little impact on bringing about economic improvement in the lives of SCs. Many reports and analyses have found that it was due to shortcomings in the policy design, inadequate resource allocation, and poor implementation of schemes meant for the community.