Banks should shed reluctance in lending to urban poor: Naidu

New Delhi:  Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday urged commercial banks to "shed reluctance" in lending to the urban poor, stating that loan repayment by them was 98 per cent. "Loan repayment by Self-Help Groups is 98 percent and hence were most bankable and eligible for lending. With several initiatives being taken to promote domestic and Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors, there is a vast scope for employment generation leading to increased demand for skilled manpower," said Naidu. He was inaugurating the National Conference on 'Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission’ (DAY-NULM)organised here. Naidu stressed the need for enhanced credit flow to the Self-Help Groups and for self-employment through individual and group enterprises under the mission.  Stating that the government was committed to eliminating poverty by "skilling the unskilled, funding the unfunded and reaching the unreached", Naidu said that there was a need for convergence in the implementation of skill development programmes and scaling them up in a convergence mode.  Naidu said that 25 per cent of people still were living Below Poverty Line, which was clearly unacceptable when the country is aspiring to a lead role in the comity of nations.  "Concerted efforts need to be mounted to eliminate poverty. While banks should scale up financing, loans need to be repaid," said Naidu.  Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy on the occasion said: "An integrated eco-system is being put in place for skilling of 30 crore people while 24 ministries are involved in handling 70 skill development programmes." Expressing concerns over skills not being given due recognition as a result of which there were no professors of carpentry or plumbing, Rudy said the paradox of people with 15 years of formal education not finding jobs being promised jobs after a 15-week training was an issue. Rudy said the problem needs to be resolved with proper course content and certification. He urged the banks to accept skill certification issued by approved agencies for advancing loans to skilled people.  Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha suggested promotion of financial literacy among the beneficiaries as part of skill certification under skill development programmes, to enable them with better management of money and enterprises for further growth in chosen areas of career development.  Favouring credit lending in the name of women for being adept at managing finances, Sinha called for lending higher amounts under anti-poverty programmes.