Nagpur: Union minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises Giriraj Singh on Saturday said five crore job opportunities would be created in the country by next year, adding that employment creation was not being perceived because of the country’s large population.

He was speaking at the ‘National SC-ST Hub State’ conclave organised in Nagpur by his ministry. Stressing that jobs just did not mean government ones, Singh said that employment opportunities were also being created because of the Mudra (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) loan scheme that had made people self-employed. He said that some sections were mocking these initiatives, alluding to the furore over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that even those selling “pakodas" were part of the cycle of employment generation.

“It is PM Modi’s dream to create jobs through self employment," Singh said. Singh, while speaking about the recent scam that has hit a nationalised bank, said that non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banking sector was in the region of Rs52,000 crore but went on to add that the portion of NPAs pertaining to the MSME sector was about 1.5% of the Rs70,000 crore lent to the latter.

“Bankers should think about why the level of NPAs is so less in the MSME sector. They should provide need-based finance to MSMEs where even after a high rate of interest, the recovery is very good," Singh said.

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