UP gives interest-free loans to women SHGs to buy vehicles, generate income
The UP government is providing interest-free loans to women’s self-help groups (SHGs) in rural areas for the purchase of four- and three-wheelers to generate employment under the Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY). “The target is to provide 400 vehicles – goods/passenger carriers, mini four-wheelers and e-rickshaws. SHGs across the state have already purchased 265 vehicles under the scheme,” said Bhanu Chandra Goswami, managing director, Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM).
Many SHGs are using these vehicles to earn by ferrying food under the government’s nutrition mission.
UPSRLM has been awarded a gold medal for this scheme, a government spokesperson said. So far, nearly ₹18 crore has been given to members of selected SHGs under AGEY. Under the scheme, a maximum of ₹6.5 lakh without any interest can be provided for a four-wheel vehicle and a maximum of ₹1.5 lakh for an e-rickshaw.
A beneficiary is mandated to return the loan amount in 72 instalments in six years and it is up to her to drive the vehicle herself or hire a driver.
The scheme gets extended to another SHG member once a beneficiary returns the loan amount.
To be eligible for the scheme, it is necessary that the member of the group has been associated with the mission for at least two years and has taken the benefit of other principal funds from the mission.
Goswami said the scheme has been implemented in 73 blocks of 34 districts of the state and this year, vehicles will be distributed in 120 blocks of 50 districts.
“Rural areas benefit from AGEY in numerous ways. It provides employment to the women of SHGs. It also increases the average income by at least ₹8,000 per month. Moreover, under the plan, those routes and tasks are selected where there is a need for such vehicles. So it provides mobility. Loans are given for at least eight-seater vehicles such as Winger, Bolero, Tata Magic, Omni etc,” he said.