Azad Cracks Whip On Banks For Failing To Give Loans
29 July 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will take up with the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Ministry the lacklustre performance of nationalised banks in advancing loans to locals for self-employment schemes despite having huge deposits. Expressing concern at the attitude of the banks, Azad told a meeting of senior officials here today that the banks were receiving huge deposits but failed to advance loans for self-employment schemes approved and forwarded by his Government. Signalling a toughening of measures, Mr Azad suggested that if the banks did not fulfil their social obligations, the Government might consider steps available within the law to change the situation. Expressing disappointment at a report that almost all nationalised banks operating in the Kashmir valley gave the cold shoulder to self-employment schemes forwarded to them for advancing loans, he said he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and Governor of Reserve Bank of India. Mr Azad was informed by officials that 80 per cent of loans advanced by banks for self-employment schemes forwarded by the State Government came from the J&K bank. Leading nationalised banks like the State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank lagged far behind by sanctioning only 12 per cent and eight per cent respectively of such loans. The response from other nationalised banks operating in the State was zero, officials said. While stressing on the need for a complete report on unemployment, Azad said there was tremendous scope for self-employment in horticulture and floriculture. The youth should take advantage of these opportunities, especially when the Government is offering incentives for starting ventures. The Government sector's ability to provide jobs is very limited and there is a need to change the mindset that makes educated youths run after Government employment, he said. He called for simplifying procedures for employment schemes and asked Government departments to forge public-private partnerships. Mr Azad said his Government would consider imparting training for six months in trades like carpentry and masonry to youth with elementary education. A monthly stipend would also be paid to such students so that they could gainfully engage themselves and not stand in a queue for Government job, he said. With the Centrally sponsored multi-crore Bharat Nirman and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan Schemes, he said, there is a lot of scope for the skilled and semi-skilled workforce in villages to find employment. Principal Secretary, GAD Khurshid Ganai informed the Chief Minister that the Subordinate Services Recruitment Board has cleared 6,000 vacancies out of 12,000 referred to it by the Government. Another 3,000 were in the process of clearance. He said the State Public Service Commission would clear entire backlog of referred vacancies by the year end. Earlier, former Minister and PDP MLA Ghulam Hassan Mir Mir said that the Government should come up with a policy on unemployment to change the mindset of the youth to run after Government jobs. He said both short and long term measures were required to tackle the problem of unemployment in the State.