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Women accorded top priority under PM Mudra Yojana scheme: FM Sitharaman

Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said women entrepreneurs are accorded first priority under the Centre's flagship Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana scheme which offers financial assistance to beneficiaries.

Distributing sanction letters to beneficiaries under the PM SVANidhi Se Samriddhi programme which offers loans to street vendors, here, she said officials of the municipalities should identify the uncovered street vendors and help them avail benefits of this scheme.

SVANidhi Se Samriddhi is an additional component of the PMSVANidhi scheme to facilitate access to eight Central government schemes to eligible PM SVANidhi beneficiaries and their family members for their holistic development and socio-economic upliftment.

Recalling the launch of Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile Trinity, Sitharaman said that through JAM Trinity, an AADHAR card was provided to a beneficiary, after which he or she can open a bank account and, directly, the financial aid from the Centre has been transferred to the accounts of a beneficiary, thereby avoiding 'middlemen'.

The Union Minister referred to former PM and late Rajiv Gandhi's comment that if the Centre gives away Rs 100 to a beneficiary, he receives only Rs 15 and the remaining Rs 85 goes to middlemen and others'.

"He (Rajiv Gandhi) himself has mentioned this and after assuming office in 2014, in order to ensure that a beneficiary directly receives the financial assistance given to him by the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised us to use technology so that the beneficiary is able to know whatever amount he has received directly, thereby middlemen can be avoided," she said.

"The opening of bank accounts to serve the beneficiary was conducted like a mass movement to attain full coverage of the scheme across the country," she added.

On the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana scheme, Sitharaman said it was introduced to provide loans through banks particularly to empower women entrepreneurs.

"One important aspect of the scheme is that women who are running small businesses or interested in starting a business, can approach the bank and start their venture by receiving the loans from PM Mudra Yojana scheme. Through this scheme, if 100 people were beneficiaries, 60 of them would comprise women. Women were accorded top priority under the PM Mudra scheme," she pointed out.

The PMMY was launched on April 8, 2015, for providing loans up to Rs 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.

Sitharaman noted that with an aim to help street-vendors, the Central government introduced the PMSVANidhi scheme through banks to avail loans.

Pointing to Department of Financial Services Secretary Vivek Joshi's remarks, Sitharaman said if a bank offers a loan of up to Rs 10,000 to a beneficiary and if he pays it back on time, the loan amount is increased to Rs 20,000 and again if he pays back on time, it is further increased to Rs 50,000.

"A QR Code is provided to the beneficiary and through the scheme he will be able to receive commission also. This scheme has become popular across the country," she said.

Noting that the Finance Ministry is reviewing the progress of the scheme, Sitharaman said the reason for launching it in Rameswaram was because Ramanthapuram district along with Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu have been identified as aspirational districts' so that they attain a developmental status.

"I was told more than 2,200 street vendors have been identified to benefit under this scheme in Rameswaram, which is dependent on tourism, while more than 5,000 people have been identified under this scheme in this district alone," she said.

Earlier in the day, the Finance Minister offered prayers at the famous Ramanathaswamy temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines.

Later, Sitharaman took part in a similar event at the Government Medical College in the Virudhunagar district.

After handing over the sanctioned letters to beneficiaries under the PM SVANidhi Scheme, she appealed to members of the media, public, and local government authorities to ensure that each and every street vendor in the district avails the benefits of the scheme.

Speaking on the topic 'entitlement vs empowerment', she said, "Through entitlement, a beneficiary is aware of the scheme and he goes to a bank and seeks the benefits that he is entitled to avail from the scheme. Whereas through empowerment, you empower them with these benefits so that they gradually grow and become job creators." "We have disbursed loans to 7,982 beneficiaries under the PM SVANidhi Scheme. People living in Virudhunagar, the media and the authorities should identify the eligible street vendors, tell them about the scheme, and encourage them to avail the benefits of the scheme," she said.

The Finance Minister said Virudhunagar along with Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu were selected among the 116 Aspirational Districts initiative by the Centre to help them grow in all the sectors. "I have come here two or three times and have discussed with the respective District Collectors (of both Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram) on those areas that need to be improved in these two districts," she remarked.

Meanwhile, Indian Overseas Bank, the organisers of the two events, said bank loans to 6,679 people were handed over in Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts on the occasion by the Finance Minister.

Indian Overseas Bank is the convenor for the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) and also the lead bank for Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts. The event showcases the commitment of various banks towards the success of the PM SVANidhi initiative, a press release from the bank said.

Department of Financial Services Secretary Vivek Joshi, Indian Overseas Bank MD and CEO, and Chairman of the SLBC, Ajay Kumar Srivastava were also present on the occasion. dt. 20.11.2023