The National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC) will soon start lending to individual borrowers for catalysing corpus utilisation.

Speaking at a function for allotting petrol pumps to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women, Minister for Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram said “There are funds with the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Finance Commissions which they can leverage to act as primary lenders. The government will soon move a proposal to allow the institutions to directly lend to members of these communities.”

He added, “These loans will be prioritised for those members of the scheduled tribe community with Letters of Intent for setting up a petrol pump and for building homes.”

An official aware of the proposal told BusinessLine that the proposal seeks to enable lending at lower interest rates for those from the ST communities. The authorised share capital of NSTFDC was ₹ 750.00 crore, while the total paid up capital for fiscal 2016-2017 stood at ₹ 569.10 crore. This is likely to be enhanced too, the official added.

Currently the NSTFDC provides financial support for meeting the working capital requirement of the Central / State government owned agencies for undertaking procurement and marketing of minor forest produces, agricultural produces and other products grown/made or collected by the Scheduled Tribes.

The government also allotted 195 temporary COCO (Company Owned and Company Operated) outlets to women and to beneficiaries from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. An official statement said that 114 of these pumps were allotted to women beneficiaries.

The Minister of state (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said, “There are 54,826 petrol pumps in the country. The policies of the union government mandate that 22.5 per cent or nearly 12,000 of these pumps should be owned by members of the SC/ST community. But there are only 6,053 SC/ST controlled pumps in the country.”