Kerala

60% of funds allotted for entrepreneurship in coir sector unused

Around 60% of the funds allocated for the Skill Upgradation and Mahila Coir Yojana between 2014-15 and 2019-20 have been left unused by the Coir Board under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed.

The Skill Upgradation and Mahila Coir Yojana (MCY) was launched to foster entrepreneurship across the coir-producing States in the country. The MCY, in particular, aims at women empowerment through the provision of spinning equipment at subsidised rates after imparting appropriate skill development training.

As per the information obtained by K. Govindan Nampoothiry, a Kochi-based RTI campaigner, from the Coir Board, a sum of ₹83.16 crore (₹88.72 crore allotted in the Budget) was released for the scheme between 2014-15 and 2019-20, but the Coir Board had spent only ₹33.46 crore.

Fund utilisation

While ₹29.27 crore was allotted in 2014-15, only ₹8.58 crore was utilised. Though ₹21.67 crore was received in 2015-16, the utilisation stood at ₹4.55 crore. Of ₹15 crore sanctioned in 2016-17, the Coir Board could only spend ₹3.67 crore. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, a sum of ₹6.82 crore was released, while the fund utilisation stood at ₹9.8 crore. However, the spending dropped to ₹6.84 crore in 2019-20, during which it received ₹10.39 crore.

The RTI document did not provide the details of allocation and utilisation of funds in 2020-21 and 2021-22. However, it noted that 50,151 people were trained under the Skill Development programme between 2014-15 and 2020-21.

When contacted, an official with the Coir Board said that the pandemic had adversely impacted the implementation of the scheme in the last two years. The official, however, did not provide reasons for poor fund utilisation in the previous years.

Need for awareness

Mr. Nampoothiry said that there was a need to create awareness on the scheme. “The MCY is a scheme exclusively for women artisans. Not many people know about the scheme. It is appalling that more than half of the funds sanctioned for the scheme remain unutilised,” he said.

Besides, the new employment created in the coir industry in Kerala through schemes such as Coir Udyami Yojana and Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme dropped from 1,629 in 2017-18 to 514 in 2020-21, the RTI revealed.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:52:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/60-of-funds-allotted-for-entrepreneurship-in-coir-sector-unused/article37705466.ece

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