BY ANAND SINGH
The Central government’s ambitious ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant) programme faces a major hurdle in the form of non-cooperation from banks in granting loans for small manufacturing units under the flagship scheme Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP).
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission, the implementing agency, has received a flurry of such complaints from prospective entrepreneurs alleging inaction or non-cooperation from banks on their loan applications.
Following the complaints, KVIC Chairman Vinai Saxena has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying “such apathy by the banks could derail Centre’s efforts to create sustainable employment in the country”.
Saxena’s comments came after Sunaina Mathur, Proprietor of Shiva Udyog in Jaipur, Rajasthan, wrote to him on October 7 highlighting the apathy of bank officials in providing short term working capital loan of Rs 50 lakh to her unit despite of a confirmed order from the government with a guarantee of time-bound payment.
The Jaipur-based Shiva Udyog has got the orders from the KVIC to provide 40,000 kgs of mustard oil to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on August 27 this year.
On August 27, the KVIC has announced that it has received the first order from ITBP for supplying 1,200 quintals of kacchi ghani mustard oil worth Rs 1.73 crore.
The ITBP is the nodal agency appointed by Ministry of Home Affairs for the procurement of provisions on behalf of all paramilitary forces. The KVIC and ITBP have signed a memorandum of understanding for one year which will be renewed further.
Speaking to IANS about the apathy shown by Punjab National Bank (PNB), Jaipur, where Mathur has her loan account, she said, “After receiving an order worth Rs 57.6 lakh from the KVIC to provide 40,000 kgs of mustard oil to ITBP, we approached our PNB branch, which was earlier United Bank of India where we have our bank account on August 31 for a short-term working loan for the purchase of raw material.”
She said that on the instructions from branch manager Arun Rachhoya, she even got a letter issued from KVIC on September 2 that the payment for the government-to-government order would be transmitted directly into the PNB loan account.”
She said that she also met K.C. Mangal, Assistant General Manager at the Jhalana Instituional Area on September 7, who said that her loan request needed to be sent to the Head Office for approval.
She further alleged that the loan request of her firm was never shared with the Head Office.
“As this was a government-to-government order, there was pressure of getting blacklisted if the order was not met on time. So I had to arrange money from friends and relatives to purchase the raw materials for the order,” the Shiva Udyog proprietor said.
IANS tried to contact Mangal, who asked us to get in touch with Deshraj Meena, the General Manager of the PNB in Jaipur.
When asked about the loan request from Shiva Udyog, Meena told IANS, “I will check the details of the said loan request.”
Commenting on the complaint of Jaipur-based Mustard oil manufacturing unit, KVIC Chairman Vinai Saxena said, “The first-ever supply of mustard oil to ITBP by KVIC was a prestigious order and timely supply of high-quality oil to the jawans was the key concern of KVIC.”
“Such apathy of the bank officials could derail the government’s efforts to create sustainable employment in the country,” he added.
He said KVIC has received several complaints pertaining of non-cooperation of bank officials in granting loans to PMEGP units. “The matter has been taken up with the Finance Minister,” he said.
Saxena said that responding to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local, the KVIC has been promoting self-sustainable employment in the country.
He also said that the central government’s flagship scheme PMEGP is a major tool of employment generation in the country. “Such non-cooperation by banks in granting loans to our small units is unfortunate. These small PMEGP units not only contribute to local production but also create employments,” Saxena added.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)