In a bid to assist millions engaged in small businesses, the central government has unveiled a new initiative.
The government aims to extend financial support through loans to one crore street vendors by year-end under the PM Swanidhi scheme.
To achieve this, the government has expanded the scope of the PM Swanidhi Yojana to include more beneficiaries.
Understanding PM Swanidhi Yojana
The Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi scheme (PM Swanidhi or PMSVANidhi) was initiated on June 1, 2020.
It operates as a micro-credit scheme, providing small loans in three installments of Rs 10,000, Rs 20,000, and Rs 50,000.
Who Benefits from This Scheme?
This scheme was launched by the central government to aid individuals engaged in small street vendor businesses who support their families through this income source.
These individuals were hit hardest during the pandemic. One major challenge they face is their informal sector status, which makes it difficult for them to secure loans from banks or other financial institutions.
Banks have traditionally hesitated to finance such ventures. The scheme aims to address this issue by providing loans in the form of working capital.
Why Expand the Program?
Originally, the scheme aimed to distribute 57 lakh loans by December 2024, with 42 lakh loans approved for the first installment of Rs 10,000 each
and 12 lakh loans for the second installment of Rs 20,000 each. The scheme has received a positive response, with less than 15 percent of loans becoming non-performing assets (NPAs).
Encouraged by this success, the government has decided to nearly double the scheme’s target and expedite the timeline.
Progress So Far
As a result, the central government has increased the scheme’s target to 1 crore loans by December 2023, up from the previous goal of 57 lakh loans by December 2024.
To date, PM Swanidhi Yojana has sanctioned 71.10 lakh loans, with 65.98 lakh loans disbursed.