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National SC-ST Hub: 50% jump in funds released for SC-ST entrepreneurs to boost entrepreneurship in FY21

Credit and Finance for MSMEs: The government had set up 15 National SC/ST Hub Offices (NSSHOs) across the country for mentoring and handholding SC/ST entrepreneurs.

A study by RBI has found that the majority of the banks do not go beyond 25 per cent (in priority sector lending) for MSME credit. (Image for representation)

Credit and Finance for MSMEs: Funds released under the National SC/ST Hub, which is operated by MSME Ministry’s National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) for financial support to SC/ST entrepreneurs, has jumped 50 per cent in FY21. According to the government data, Rs 120 crore were released in FY21 in comparison to Rs 79.65 crore in FY20 that had increased marginally from Rs 77.78 crore in FY19. The capital support is intended towards helping such entrepreneurs to “fulfill the obligations under the Public Procurement Policy for Micro and Small Enterprises, adopt applicable business practices and leverage the Standup India initiative with an objective to promote “enterprise culture” amongst the SC/ST population,” MSME Minister Narayan informed Rajya Sabha on Monday with the data on the National SC/ST Hub.

According to the revised budget estimates, Rs 120 crore were allocated under the hub, up from Rs 80 crore in FY20, and Rs 78.30 crore in FY19. The government had setup 15 National SC/ST Hub Offices (NSSHOs) across the country for mentoring and handholding SC/ST entrepreneurs across areas including bid participation, finance facilitation, participation in special vendor development programmes, CPSE connects, e-tender trainings, GeM, Udyam registration, etc.

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Rane informed that under the capacity building programme of NSSH, 26,360 SC/ST candidates have been trained while the scheme has been effective to address the issues of the SC/ST entrepreneurs and has enhanced their participation in the public procurement process. According to the MSME Sambandh portal, SC/ST entrepreneurs share in the public procurement has remained around 0.55 per cent since FY19 against the 4 per cent annual sub-target set for central ministries, departments, and PSUs to procure out of their 25 per cent annual target from MSEs. In fact, the amount of procurement has declined from Rs 824 crore in FY19 to Rs 753 crore in FY21. As of August 2, 2021, Rs 126 crore worth procurement was made through 344 SC/ST entrepreneurs in FY22.

Meanwhile, under the government’s credit scheme for SC/ST and women entrepreneurs – Standup India, which facilitates bank credit between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore, has sanctioned 1,16,266 loan applications amounting to Rs 26204.49 crore since inception, according to the data from Department of Financial Services, Financial Express Online had reported last month. Launched in April 2016, the number of applications sanctioned grew 27.3 per cent from 91,319 sanctioned as of March 10, 2020, up from 55,342 applications as of March 7, 2018. The data from the finance ministry was shared by MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik in Lok Sabha today recently. 

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