Knowing about the Government schemes launched during COVID-19

June 2020 has seen two important government initiatives for the every-day earners for food in news. They are the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Yojana and the PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi.

First on the list is the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Yojana.  It is a central government initiative taken amidst the pandemic circumstances. The Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister in June from Telihar in Bihar. As so the title suggests, the objective of the Abhiyaan is to secure, empower lives by providing livelihood opportunities. The scheme is specifically launched for that population of the country whose areas or villages have witnessed the return of a large number of migrant workers after the citizens were no longer employed following the lockdown announced for the devastating Covid-19.

This campaign is sought to be one of the components of Rs 1.70 lakh crore package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana which was set to help the poor fight against Corona Virus Pandemic.

The Campaign is nothing but a massive employment -cum- rural public works in which the public works are to be undertaken with an aim of generating a resource envelope of minimum Rs 50,000 crores. The campaign would involve 125 days of work. The public works will supposedly include rural housing for the poor along with the provision of providing drinking water through the already established Jal Jeevan mission. The infrastructure of Panchayat Bhavans, rural mandis, community toilets, rural roads, etc. are sought to be developed.

The initiative is hoped to cover 116 districts in 6 states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand. There are 27 aspirational districts hoped to be covered under this initiative. The mentioned are estimated to hopefully cover about 2/3 of the unemployed migrant workers. A major emphasis has also been put to the rural infrastructure. The initiative will have 25 different types of public works which is specifically to create infrastructure and importantly boost livelihood opportunities in the areas.

High speed and cheap internet are also part of the maintenances to be provided in every rural household. Thus, there shall be laying of fibre cable.

The campaign however would require a Multi-Ministerial Effort between different Departments of the Government with Ministry of Rural Development as the nodal Ministry along with the other ministries such as Panchayati Raj, Mines, Road and transport etc.

Second on the news was the PM Svanidhi. The initiative PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It is launched with the aim of introducing a special micro-credit facility Scheme which would provide affordable loans to the street vendors, who recently went on losses or no business at all since the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. This scheme will thus enable the street vendors to resume work and earn their livelihoods.

The beneficiaries will include over 50 lakh people which would include the vendors, hawkers, etc. who work to supply fruits, vegetables, ready-to-eat street foods etc in the markets. It would also include the business of service providers like barber shops, laundry services etc.

The scheme shall be available for beneficiaries belonging to only those States and Union Territories which have notified been under the Rules and Scheme provided under Street Vendors Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending Act in 2014.

The vendors or the hawkers can avail a loan (working capital) of up to Rs. 10,000 which is subject to be repayable in monthly instalments within the tenure of one year. On timely and the early repayment of the loan, credit limit was claimed to be raised and interest subsidy to be given at the rate of 7% per annum which ultimately shall be credited through Direct Benefit Transfer on a quarterly basis. 108 cities were selected, and the loan disbursement was planned to commence in July, 2020.  The eligible lenders were rated as the bank such as Regional Rural Banks, Small Finance Banks, Non-Banking Finance Companies, Micro Finance Institutions established in some States and Union territories.

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is an implementation agency. It was developed to manage the credit guarantee approved to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises.The SIDBI was developed through an Integrated PM SVANidhi portal. The Portal was developed to integrate  credit management and PAiSA portal of MoHUA to administer the interest subsidies automatically.