Just 2 of 15 Directors on Board of NSFDC from Scheduled Castes, House panel bats for representation

Panel notes only 17 of 37 State SC Development Corporations performing, seeks reasons for non-performance

December 18, 2023 10:22 pm | Updated 10:22 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Only two of the 15 Directors on the Board of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) are from Scheduled Caste communities, a House panel has now pointed out, adding that it was not satisfied with the government’s “vague” response on this matter.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes noted in a report tabled in the House on December 18, “The Committee strongly feels that induction of an SC candidate in the Board of Directors would prove to be a catalyst in shaping the overall functioning of NSFDC.”

In its response to the House panel, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry said that a proposal for four directors from the SC community has been approved by the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister but the parliamentary panel, headed by BJP MP Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, called the reply “vague” and unconvincing.

“The Committee are not convinced with the vague reply of the NSFDC in response to their recommendation that vacant posts in the Board of Directors of NSFDC should be filled at the earliest while ensuring adequate representation of Scheduled Castes therein,” the panel said.

According to the information provided to the Committee, there are two vacancies in non-official and seven vacancies in the Official Board of Directors (including three Official Director posts in the State SC Development Corporation).

“The Committee reiterate that the Ministry should propose the names of candidates hailing from SC/ST community as NSFDC is an organisation which primarily works for the economic empowerment of scheduled castes community and hence the inclusion of SC/ST candidates to the Board of Directors would serve to achieve its mandate,” its report said.

The Committee on SCs and STs went on to note that just 17 of the 37 State SC Development Corporations across the country were performing and sought an update on the reasons for non-performance of the corporations.

The Committee also added that the equity support provided to NSFDC by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had been stopped from 2020-21 onwards till 2022-23. It went on to ask the government for an update on whether the Ministry had resumed the equity support for the ongoing financial year, asking the Social Justice Ministry to “vigorously” pursue the Finance Ministry on behalf of the NSFDC.

It had pointed out that the NSFDC needed equity support of ₹200 crore in order to be able to disburse ₹885 crore to cover 1,28,000 beneficiaries throughout 2023-24.

“The Committee would like to stress that in order to make NSFDC financially healthy in disbursing funds and increase the number of beneficiaries, the Ministry should provide optimal equity support for its schemes to stay afloat and fructify,” it said.

The House panel suggested that the lending models be revised to make them more acceptable to the banks.

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