Jagan Reddy launches interest-free loans scheme for Andhra street vendors
The YSR Congress Party government in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday launched yet another welfare scheme - Jagananna Thodu (Brother Jagan’s support) - aimed at providing interest-free loans to small traders and street vendors in the state.
Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the scheme in a virtual mode from his camp office at Tadepalli in Amaravati. He deposited Rs 905 crore in the account of 9.05 lakh small traders towards reimbursement of interests on bank loans.
Interacting with beneficiaries through video conferencing mode, the chief minister said small and petty vendors and artisans won’t have to go for private borrowing at high interest rates hereafter and could obtain hassle-free loans from the banks under Jagananna Thodu scheme to cater to their working capital.
“Hitherto, banks were not providing loans to these roadside vendors as they come under unorganised sector. But now, they can get the bank loans under the new scheme. The government themselves will arrange loans to these vendors through village volunteers and welfare assistants of village and ward secretariats who would identify the beneficiaries and submit the lists to the banks,” he said.
Through this scheme, the banks would provide loans to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to nearly 10 lakh people and the government would bear the interest of Rs 60 crore to Rs 100 crore annually. Assuming that the loan repayment period is 10 years, the government will be spending Rs 1,000 crore towards reimbursement of interest, the chief minister said.
He said the banks shall credit the loan amount of Rs 10,000 to the beneficiaries’ accounts within a week or 10 days. The beneficiaries will also be provided with QR-based smart ID cards and if they repay the loan amount in the given timeline, the state government shall reimburse the interest once in every three months directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts, making them eligible to take the next loan.
The beneficiaries eligible for loans under Jagananna Thodu scheme include vegetable vendors, fruit vendors, small shopkeepers, pushcart vendors, and traditional artisans. “If any eligible person was not covered in this scheme, they can still apply through volunteers, and upon verification, they will be provided with the scheme benefits in a month or two. Also, they can call on the 1902 toll-free number to get enrolled,” Jagan said.
Opposition Telugu Desam Party described the scheme as a mere publicity stunt by the Jagan government. “The scheme is actually a Centrally sponsored scheme launched by the NDA government in May as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat package in the name of “Pradhan Mantri Swanidhi,” TDP official spokesman K Pattabhi said.
He said as per the Central scheme, small loans to the extent of Rs 10,000 would be provided to 50 lakh petty traders and roadside vendors towards working capital. The scheme had already been under implementation in other states including Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he pointed out.
“Now, the YSRCP government is giving a big build up as if it is a new scheme and issuing full-page advertisements in the media causing huge burden on the state exchequer,” the TDP leader alleged.
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