The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) has been promoting economic empowerment of people belonging to the scheduled castes for the last 23 years. Its chairman and managing director (CMD) Hardip Singh Kingra spoke to Hindustan Times on recent initiatives. Excerpts:
What are the NSFDC’s objectives?
The NSFDC’s aim is to economically empower people belonging to the scheduled castes (SC) living below double the poverty line (families with annual income of Rs 40,000 in rural areas and Rs 55,000 in urban areas) by providing them loans at concessional rates to take up need-based income generating activities and conducting skill development training for the youth in emerging areas. Recently, NSFDC has added educational loans to its objectives.
What is the quantum of educational loans and which are the expenses covered?
Educational loans up to Rs 10 lakh for studies in India and Rs 20 lakh for studies abroad are given to SC students. These loans cover admission fees and tuition fees, books and stationery, exam fees, boarding and lodging expenses. The cost of laptops or computers are also included.
What are the courses covered in the scheme? What is the tenure of the loan and what are the rates of interest?
All recognised full-time professional and technical courses at graduate and postgraduate levels are covered. The loan is also offered for professional courses such as chartered accountancy and doctoral studies. The loan is to be repaid within 10 years and it carries interest of 4% per annum with 0.5% rebate for women students.
Has the NSFDC delegated powers to state channelising agencies (SCAs) for ensuring prompt delivery of educational loans to the beneficiaries?
The NSFDC has delegated powers to its SCAs to sanction and disburse loans up to Rs 5 lakh for courses within India.
What is the NSFDC’s policy for skill development and training?
The NSFDC provides grants to government, semi-government and autonomous training institutions through SCAs, for organising skill development training programmes for unemployed youth. The fees for this programme are borne by the NSFDC and trainees are provided monthly stipends of Rs 1,000.
What are the recent initiatives taken for skill development of target group youth?
The NSFDC has recently revised its skill training policy and initiated the process to enter into memoranda of understanding with reputed national level skill development institutions and public sector undertakings for training. The training programmes are directly sanctioned to these institutes with full involvement of the SCAs.