New Delhi: The smiles on their faces are not artificial. They are visibly upbeat and happy as they have taken the first step towards entrepreneurship to become economically self-reliant.
Kiran, Haseen and many other women like them, belonging to socially backward and economically weaker sections of society, couldn’t hide their excitement on Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a series of new e-rickshaws and announced them as the owners.
“It’s a proud moment for me and my family. From now on, I’ll be driving this e-rickshaw and will earn for my family of six. We’ve received training to drive, maintain and undertake primary repair of the vehicle,” said Kiran, who received a new e-rickshaw from the PM during the launch of the ‘Stand Up India’ scheme at Gautam Buddha Nagar in Noida.
As part of the launch of the scheme meant to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste, Schedule Tribe and women from economically weaker sections, the PM announced distribution of 5100 e-rickshaws under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna.
“I could never dream that I’ll drive an e-rickshaw and earn for my family. Earnings from e-rickshaw will help me in enhancing my family’s income and I want use it for my children’s education,” said Haseena, another recepient.
This is not just a story about these two women. There were many more like domestic help Pushpa, vegetable vendor Sheela, babysitter Savita, housewives Shabnam and Khushnuda, and many others who received e-rickshaws from Modi for their husbands and sons. Many of them want to see their children studying in an English medium school.
The e-rickshaw owners who gathered at the venue shared stories of the hardship they faced as manual rickshaw-pullers- the low income, problem of getting customers and their inability to have an access to financing.
“We’ve been trained to deal with the banks as well. Now, I feel self-reliant. Getting a loan will not be a problem anymore. I’m my own master. I’ve no words to express my gratitude for our PM Modiji,” added Rajesh, another e-rickshaw owner.
Amidst the huge gathering, the launch of these schemes took place in an unusual manner. Unlike the traditional government-sponsored functions, PM Modi reached the venue and playacted a scenario in which he walked up to a make-shift tea stall named 'Babloo Bhaiyya tea stall’, prepared for a ‘Chai pe charcha’ along with Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and many others. It was designed for an informal chat between the PM and the e-rickshaw owners, who have now become entrepreneurs.
While sipping tea from a ‘Kulhad’ (an earthen cup), Modi asked a dozen men and women to promise that they would ensure education of their children, especially the girl child. After a relaxed discussion that lasted about 20 minutes, Modi then used a mobile phone app and called for an e-rickshaw in order to reach the dais.
Demonstrating how the new system would function, he also made an e-payment through the mobile app. However, in this case the driver of the e-rickshaw was Vijay Pandey, managing director of Bharitya Micro Credit (BMC).
BMC—a micro-financing organization aims at facilitating the upgradation of pedal rickshaw pullers into e-rickshaw owners and helps facilitate a threefold increment in their income. Credit for all these facilities are being provided under the PM Mudra Yojna.
“Today is Samta Divas--the birth anniversary of Babu Jagjivan Ram, one of the greatest Dalit leaders of our country. By launching Stand Up India, we want to pay tribute to his struggles and contributions. This scheme will help Dalit and Adivasi youth to be self-reliant and transform them from a job seeker to a job provider. Every year we can facilitate 2.5 lakh small enterprises in the country, as under the scheme an entrepreneur can avail a loan from Rs 10 lakh up Rs 1 crore,” said Modi.
Referring to the success of Jan Dhan Yojna, the PM added, “There are people who are fleeing with the nation’s money on one hand, and on the other the poor people opened their no-frill bank accounts for the first time and the banks have got a deposit of Rs 35,000 crore. Our aim is to economically empower the poor.”
Speaking about the success of the NDA government in bringing the poor under the banking net, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The PM gave us a disbursement target of Rs 1.22 lakh crore of small loans and we achieved Rs 3.32 lakh crore through Mudra Yojna. The launch of the new scheme will help 70% of women beneficiaries and our challenge is to empower the SC, ST and women through entrepreneurship. We want to free people from the clutches of moneylenders.”
Stand Up India scheme:
-The ‘Stand up India Scheme’ has been launched to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribes and Women by extending loans in the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
-A target has been given to each bank branch (Scheduled Commercial Bank) to give loan to one SC/ST candidate and a woman to develop entrepreneurs. There are 1.25 lakh branches.
-In one year, 2.5 lakh people will procure loan to become small entrepreneurs; as a result 2.5 lakh new enterprises will be opened in a year.
-The composite loan between Rs 10 lakh and upto Rs 1 crore includes working capital component for setting up of a new enterprise.
-Debit Card (RuPay) will be used for withdrawing working capital.
-History of borrowers will be developed.
-A corpus has been created of Rs 5000 crore for credit guarantee.
-Refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount of Rs 10,000 crore.
-Handholding support for borrowers with comprehensive support for pre loan training needs, facilitating loan, factoring, marketing etc.
-Web Portal for online registration and support services.