Noida: Giving a push to government's financial inclusion programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched the Stand-up India scheme under which 125,000 bank branches will provide loans up to Rs10 million to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and women entrepreneurs.
At a function, which was organised to mark birth anniversary of Dalit leader and former deputy prime minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, Modi flagged off 5,100 e-rickshaws.
Explaining the contours of Stand-up India programme, Modi said this will help in creating 250,000 entrepreneurs throughout the country as every bank branch will be required to provide two such loans ranging from Rs1 million to Rs10 million without collateral for setting up a new enterprise.
Stressing that it is not possible for the government to provide jobs to everyone, the prime minister said the scheme will convert "job-seekers into job-creators...This scheme is going to transform the lives of people from Dalit and tribal communities."
Stand up India, he said, aims to empower every Indian and enable them to stand on their own feet. The scheme was announced by Modi in his Independence Day address.
Modi also took a dig at the Congress by pointing out that no previous government had organised any function on the birth anniversary of Jagjivan Ram, who as agriculture minister did a lot to usher the green revolution and was defence minister at the time of 1971 war.
"It is unfortunate that contribution of such people is being ignored," he said.
Speaking at the function, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his ministry, which is usually associated with big business houses, in the last two years has tried to work for the betterment of the poor people. He recalled various schemes of the government like Jan Dhan Yojana, insurance and pension and MUDRA Yojana to promote financial inclusion with the view to empower the poor.
Jaitley further said that banks have given loans to 32.6 million beneficiaries totalling Rs 1.35 lakh crore under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana in 2015-16, which is more than the target of Rs 1.22 lakh crore fixed by the prime minister. Modi, who entered the launch venue on a decorated e-rickshaw, distributed keys to some beneficiaries and flagged of 5,100 e-rickshaws.
The prime minister appealed to e-rickshaw owners to educate their children especially the girl child saying that the country cannot progress unless poor and dalit get an opportunity to come up in life. He said the e-rickshaw scheme is environment friendly as there will be a provision for recharging the battery from solar-powered battery station.
"E-richshaw will help in fighting global warming," he said. Although UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was absent, the function among others was attended by state Governor Ram Naik, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and MPs. The state government was represented by Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kamal Akhtar. Under the scheme, SC/ST and women entrepreneurs who will avail loan would be given a RuPay Debit Card for withdrawal, besides comprehensive support like pre-loan training, facilitating loan, factoring and marketing. There would be a Rs10 billion refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) will create a corpus of Rs 50 billion. SIDBI would engage with the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various institutions. The offices of SIDBI and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) shall be designated Stand Up Connect Centres.