Political considerations hold up NMFDC restructuring

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New Delhi, May 9 (UNI) The Ministry of Minority Affairs is reported to have developed cold feet over the proposal for restructuring of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation(NMFDC), despite a Parliamentary panel having expressed its unhappiness over the delay.

The Cabinet note for the proposed restructuring was almost ready, but had got stuck over the issue of raising the interest rate on loans, which the Ministry did not want to do in view of the coming elections, sources in the Ministry told UNI.

According to the sources, the top bosses felt that if the interest rate on loans to minorities was raised, it would be used by the Opposition parties to the government's disadvantage.

As per the proposal, the NMDC would shed its not-for-profit status and would act as a government-owned holding company. It will also generate its own revenue surpluses to finance welfare schemes.

Moreover, state channelising agencies (SCAs) would be strengthened for which it is suggested that lending and borrowing rates for the SCAs should be at the prevalent market rates so that these agencies could recover their operating costs.

The restructured NMFDC would be based on public-private partnership(PPP) model in which the government could hold a 49 per cent stake in the new corporation while the private parties called minorities partnerships could have a 51 per cent share.

But to generate more revenue and become financially viable, the NMFDC would have to raise the rate of interest on loans, a proposal which the Ministry was reluctant to agree to at present, hence the delay in putting the proposal before the Cabinet, an official said.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Minority Affairs in its 25th Report tabled in the Budget Session of Parliament has expressed concern over ''inordinate delay'' in implementing the Report of an Expert Committee submitted last year, and asked the Government to expedite the process of restructuring so that the Corporation could expand its coverage of minorities The restructuring is largely based on the recommendations of the Nasser Munjee expert committee set up to look into the problems of the Corporation and suggest ways to make it play a more effective role in the development of minorities.

There are some minor changes from the structure suggested by the Expert Committee headed by Mr Munjee, chairman, Development Credit Bank.

The Report had suggested the creation of a National Minorities Development Corporation, with the existing NMDFC functioning as one of its two wings. The other wing would be a Waqf Development Agency.

However, according to sources, the idea of creating another apex organisation had been dropped and the existing MNFDC would continue to be the apex organisation.

But the suggestion to create a Wakf Development Agency had been retained.

The main focus of the private efforts should be in the field of education, jobs and social infrastructure.

The suggested Waqf development Agency would be providing a support service to Waqfs which can avail opportunities provided by the Corporation.

The NMDFC was constituted in 1994 as a Public Sector Enterprise under Section 25 of the Companies Act.

UNI NAZ PK KN1433

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