Citizens' Issues
Minister appeals for funds as crunch hits pro-poor schemes

The minister said that each below-poverty-line family was being given Rs.12,000 for building a toilet. But the need apparently is greater

 

The funds crunch at the Centre seems to have adversely impacted the schemes meant for the rural poor which are managed by the union rural development ministry.
 
Low interest in Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) and delayed payments to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) give credence to the claim.
 
Records with rural development ministry suggest that only 29 of the 543 Lok Sabha members have nominated gram panchayats from their respective constituencies in the second phase of the scheme. The case is even worse with the Rajya Sabha members as only five of the 252 members have identified the target villages. The deadline for the initial phase of nominations ended last month. 
 
The funds crunch also impacts other schemes. Rural Development Minister Birender Singh has made an appeal to commercial banks and private micro-investors to disburse money to people for building toilets at home, so that any shortfall in funds can be met from other sources. 
 
"There are people who are not below the poverty line, but still do not have toilets at their home. We have appealed to the companies and the NGOs to help fund toilets to make our villages free from open defecation," Birender Singh told IANS. 
 
The minister said that each below-poverty-line family was being given Rs.12,000 for building a toilet. But the need apparently is greater.
 
According to an official in the ministry, who did not wish to be named, the minister had also made an appeal to banks and private investors to fund some of the rural development schemes where the ministry was falling short of money. Corporate houses, too, are being approached, the source said.
 
Lack of funds was the primary reason behind the low interest in the village adoption scheme, the source said. 
 
"I know the response is not up to the mark and I will be writing to the MPs for that. The major complaint of the MPs is that there should be additional funds which should be provided for the villages they have selected," the minister said, adding that he did not see any scope for allocating additional money in this budget. 
 
"But I will write to the finance ministry for some sort of matching grant which can be provided from our side," he said.
 
He felt that additional funds may invoke interest of more members of parliament in the scheme. But a ministry source said that it would be difficult to raise more resources for the schemes.
 
"Our ministry cannot allocate additional funds for the villages. State governments are not lending a helping hands either," the source said.
 
For SAGY, where parliamentarians adopt gram panchayats, the prime minister and only eight ministers have made nominations. They include Ashok Gajapati (Andhra Pradesh), Ramvilas Paswan (Bihar), Jitendra Singh (Jammu & Kashmir), Sushma Swaraj (Madhya Pradesh), Bandaru Dattatreya (Telangana) and Babul Supriyo (West Bengal)
 
Three ministers hailing from the Rajya Sabha -- Nirmala Sitharaman, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thaawar Chand Gehlot -- have also identified the villages to be developed under the second phase of SAGY.
 
As for MGNREGS, reports available with the ministry suggest that over 70 percent wages have not been paid on time to workers so far in 2015-16.
 
According to details available, 44.6 percent of the payments to workers were delayed between 15 to 30 days, 20.8 percent were delayed between 30 to 60 days, 4.3 percent were delayed for 60 to 90 days while 2.3 percent were delayed for more than 90 days.
 
"We have allocated more than 95 percent of the money but it is the state governments who are dragging their feet causing delay in payments," the ministry source said.
 
Though the Narendra Modi government had announced an increase in funding for MGNREGS, the hike does not find reflection on the ground.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article

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'Bring bank chairman, executive director under service rules'

Bankers told IANS that there are no service rules for EDs and CMDs other than "terms and conditions"

 

With several thousands of crore rupee-worth corporate loans given by government-owned banks turning bad, it is high time the top executives are also brought under service/conduct/ disciplinary rules, said a top leader of a bank union.
 
"Bad loans in the banks, particularly, the big ticket accounts are a potential zone for corruption. Syndicate Bank former chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) S.K. Jain episode is only a tip of the iceberg," C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
 
"There is no defined regulation to take action on executive directors and managing directors of banks as they are not governed by the common Officers Conduct Rules," he added.
 
Terming the current procedure to fix responsibility on top executives of government banks as cumbersome, a transparent and effective rule is to be evolved to deal with the complaints against these officials, Venkatachalam said.
 
Bankers told IANS that there are no service rules for EDs and CMDs other than "terms and conditions".
 
The "terms and conditions" are nothing but those governing pay and perquisites of CMDs and EDs and do not govern their conduct and the decision-making process while in office.
 
"Though the loans are sanctioned by a committee, the will of the CMD and EDs prevail at the committee meetings. There is nothing to hold the EDs and CMDs responsible if their actions hurt the bank's name/financial position," a senior bank official in a government owned bank told IANS preferring anonymity.
 
The only way delinquent EDs and CMDs are brought to book is under the prevention of corruption act, but there should be strong proof against them.
 
According to Venkatachalam, today, the common feeling is that small loan defaulters are harassed while the big fish escape and enjoy.
 
"Kingfisher Airline promoter Vijay Mallya is a classic example. Even now, there are reports that he is planning to leave India without repaying the bad dues. His passport should be impounded and he should not be allowed to leave India without settling the defaulted loans," Venkatachalam said.
 
Incidentally, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday said it has sent a notice to the chairman of Central Bank of India for asking him as to why a monetary relief of Rs.100,000 not be recommended for harassing an education loan borrower.
 
The NHRC said a female student and her father were termed 'defaulters' of education loan and faced insult and harassment at the hands of the Central Bank of India.
 
This despite the fact that the student had paid back half of the Rs.200,000 loan amount on the first month when the debt repayment fell due.
 
"In the case of Satyam Computers Ramalinga Raju, facts were hidden in the balance sheet and he was jailed. Can hiding bad loans from the books be seen differently. Can we not say that RBI is also guilty for hiding the actual health of the banks. All such issues cannot be ignored any longer," Venkatachalam remarked.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article
 

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COMMENTS

Nataraj Kailasam

9 months ago

Vijay Mallya claims that he is a Rajya Sabha MP and seeks refuge by this status and says he should not be arrested. I wish to remind that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Pak P M was hanged. I hope this message goes loud and clear against his hollow,silly argument.
Banks are in a deep mess. This is the result of so many factors and the rot started setting in about a decade and a half back. The Sarfaesi Act, the DRTs,the CDR mechanism,the Stressed Debts Restructuring have all been of little avail to banks in their efforts to recover their dues.
The need now is to strengthen the judicial process towards aiding banks to recover their dues quickly and without having to go through cumbersome and labyrinthine processes. A first step would,in my opinion be, to put up on the notice boards of each bank branch the names of the top 15 or 20 defaulters. Additionally, each Bank should publish on it's website the full list of defaulters owing monies in excess of 10 lacs,with the addresses and photographs,along with those of the guarantors. The RBI Act, if needed to be amended, must be done immediately. It should not take more than 30 days for a defaulter to be declared a "wilful defaulter". Unless the legal process is drastically overhauled, making it difficult for errant borrowers to give the slip, all this will not be possible.
A sound banking system is a pre-requisite for a well- functioning and good economy. The government should not drag it's feet anymore,but must take strong measures to put the banking system back on track. Political parties should stop asking for loan waivers for any section of borrowers. Banks are there to disburse loans,not gifts.

Allahabad HC stays mandatory installation of set-top boxes
Lucknow : The Allahabad High Court (HC) has stayed for a period of three months the installation of television set top boxes (STB) in the state, an official said on Thursday.
 
The government had through a notification made installation of STBs mandatory after December 31, 2015.
 
The HC has also sought a response from the union government in this regard within four weeks. 
 
The high court bench, comprising Justice Tarun Agarwal and Justice V.K. Mishra, was hearing a petition moved by the UP Cable Operators Association seeking a stay on the mandatory installation of set top boxes for cable networks.
 
The cable operators told the court that STBs were not available in adequate numbers and the immediate implementation of the government order was not possible at many places. Also, they were being harassed by authorities in some regions, they complained.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article
 

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