Bihar unveils interest-free incentive scheme to promote women entrepreneurs

Additional chief secretary, industries, Brijesh Mehrotra said the cash incentive will be doled out in two instalments in the current fiscal depending on the business needs.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar chaired the cabinet meeting which decided to come up with schemes for women among others. (HT Photo)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar chaired the cabinet meeting which decided to come up with schemes for women among others. (HT Photo)
Published on Apr 20, 2021 05:09 PM IST
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Bihar government on Monday cleared the release of 200 crore under the Mukhyamantri Mahila Udyami Yojana, a scheme to encourage entrepreneurship among women through cash subsidies and interest-free loans, each up to 5 lakh, for starting a business. This was part of Nitish Kumar’s chief pre-poll promises, popularised as Seven Resolves part-2, said state officials.

Two other similar schemes were also approved by the state cabinet chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday, which aim to encourage entrepreneurship among the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and extremely backward classes and also amongst the young population of all castes. The state cabinet also approved the release of 400 crore for these schemes on the same day. The beneficiaries of the three schemes, except the women and those from the SC/ST category, will be charged token 1% interest on the loans provided. All the beneficiaries are deemed to pay back the loan in 84 equal monthly instalments after one year of the cash transfer, said officials. The three schemes were among the nine proposals of different departments, which were approved by the cabinet.

Additional chief secretary, industries, Brijesh Mehrotra said the cash incentive will be doled out in two instalments in the current fiscal depending on the business needs and the old practice of releasing at least three instalments will be discontinued. The candidates will get three months to apply for the scheme possibly after May 15.

Social analyst Tarkeshwar Ojha said the Nitish Kumar government was generous with innovating schemes but they didn’t have the desired impact since doing business in the state was not easy owing to “deterioration in law and order, high cost of land and bureaucratic red-tape”.

Akhilesh Kumar, an automobile dealer says there were only 240 women among the 21,112 applicants, who applied for incentive under the CM’s rural transport scheme launched in 2020. He feared women may not again participate in huge numbers in the new scheme. “Schemes for other classes might be lapped up in the job-scarce state like Bihar,” he added.

Media in-charge of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) Rajesh Rathore alleged that the government had failed miserably in keeping up its employment-generation promises. “What happened to the CM’s call to provide jobs to all migrants during their return last year? They had to leave the state... Bihar would have developed a lot, had the government been sincere in executing even 5% of the cabinet decisions,” claimed the Congress leader.

Janata Dal (Unite) leader and former minister Neeraj Kumar, however, dismissed the allegations and stated that Nitish Kumar was committed to “honest implementation” of the project. “And seven resolves are the schemes that the CM is committed to implement. He has been monitoring their implementation personally,” he said.

In other important decisions taken on Tuesday, the cabinet raised the state contingency fund to 8,732.10 crore from the existing limit of 350 crore. The transport department’s proposal to incentivise the retailers of vehicles for selling registration numbers of choice also got its approval.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Subhash Pathak is special correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of experience in journalism, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure of Bihar and Jharkhand.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022