‘PM SVANidhi’ scheme can reduce dependence on high interest- charging money lenders: Hawkers’ body

Economy


KOLKATA: The newly-launched ‘PM SVANidhi’ scheme — which aims to provide street vendors loans of up to Rs 10,000 to restart business post the COVID-19 lockdown — can go a long way in reducing their dependence on money lenders, who charge exorbitant interest rates, a national hawkers body said on Thursday.

The National Hawkers Federation (NHF) also said it has set up a dedicated team of business correspondents in association with banks to ensure “not a single loan account turns into NPA“.

“We have an opportunity to use this scheme as a credit line for the micro vendors, and are working towards ensuring repayment with a practical view.

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“We have a mission to free micro vendors from the clutches of money lenders who charge anything between 100 and 300 per cent as interest,” NHF secretary Saktiman Ghosh told PTI.

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had on Wednesday said the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi scheme has generated considerable enthusiasm.

The number of loans sanctioned and applications received under the programme have crossed one lakh and five lakh, respectively, within 41 days of commencement of the lending process, it said.

Under the scheme, vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in a year.

“Banks will disburse this life line loan to 20 lakh beneficiaries across the country (including around one lakh in West Bengal) based on our recommendations,” Ghosh said.

The scheme is likely to be launched soon in the state.

“We are working with banks for creating a pool of 1,000 business correspondents entrusted for collection of repayment from the beneficiaries” he said.

Ghosh claimed if the Rs 10,000 loan amount is repaid within six months, “it will be raised to Rs 20,000”.

He, however, said without a robust repayment collection mechanism, the scheme will fail to accomplish its goal.

Meanwhile, NHF has joined hands with stakeholders to bring on board small vendors on a digital platform to give them the opportunity to sell products online amid the coronavirus crisis.

The portal plans to initially offer organic grocery and agricultural produce, which will be home delivered.



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