The government has allocated Rs 200 crore for setting up a venture capital fund for Scheduled Castes to provide concessional finance to entrepreneurs from that community, Lok Sabha was informed today. "An allocation of Rs 200 crore has been made to the Ministry in the Budget Estimates (BE) 2014-15 for setting up a Venture Capital Fund for the Scheduled Castes," Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Sudarshan Bhagat said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
"The objective of the fund would be to provide concessional finance to SC entrepreneurs," he said, while replying to a question whether the government proposes to introduce a new scheme for enhancing credit facility to young entrepreneurs among the weaker section of the country. In reply to another question, he said the government has introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014 in the Rajya Sabha on February 7, 2014.
"It has been proposed inter alia in the Bill to establish the National Commission and State Commissions for Persons with Disabilities," Bhagat said when asked whether government proposes to set up National Commission for Physically challenged persons. Bhagat, while replying to a question, said as per Census 2011, there were a total of 2,68,10,557 persons with disability, of which 50,32,463 had disability in seeing, 50,71,007 in hearing and 19,98,535 in speech.
In 2014-15 (as on August 1), a total of Rs 816.15 lakh has been released to different states under Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) and there have been 11,558 beneficiaries. He also informed the House that as per Census 2011, there were 46,844 villages in the country having greater than 50 per cent SC population.
In yet another reply, he said a new Department of Disability Affairs has been set up vide Cabinet Secretariat notification dated 12.5. 2012 under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
"A separate demand No 91 under the Union budget for the department has been made with effect from the financial year 2014-15," the minister said, adding eight NGOs which were found misusing funds under Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances and seven NGOs were found misusing funds under DDRS.