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India launches PM SVANidhi online dashboard

The Secretary of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry recently launched the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) online dashboard.

PM SVANidhi was launched to provide affordable working capital loans to street vendors to resume their livelihoods, if they were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

According to a press release, the platform was inaugurated through an online conference. It is dynamic, interactive, and will provide a one-stop solution to all stakeholders looking for information, or who want to track or monitor the progress of PM SVANidhi up to the city level.

Since the online submission of applications on the portal began, more than 715,000 applications have been received and over 170,000 have been sanctioned in different states and union territories (UTs), the release stated.

The scheme aims to aid over five million street vendors who had been vending on or before 24 March in urban areas, including those from surrounding peri-urban and rural areas. Under the scheme, the vendors can avail of a working capital loan of up to IN₹ 10,000 (US$ 136), which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.

On the timely or early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy at 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer on a quarterly basis. There will be no penalty on the early repayment of loans. The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash-back incentives of up to IN₹ 100 (US$ 1.37) per month.

The scheme aims to bring banks to the doorsteps of ‘nano-entrepreneurs’ by engaging with the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the micro-finance institutions (MFIs) as lending institutions in as well as scheduled commercial banks, public and private, regional/rural, and cooperative banks.

The onboarding of the vendors on digital payment platforms is an important component to build credit profiles for the vendors, helping them become part of the formal urban economy.

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the implementation partner for the scheme. A graded guarantee cover is provided, on a portfolio basis, to these lending institutions through the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to encourage lending to street vendors.

The street vendors mostly operate their businesses on very thin margins. The micro-credit support under the scheme is expected to provide not only major relief to such vendors but also help them climb the economic ladder. The use of an integrated IT platform, web portal, and mobile app, has enabled the scheme to extend its reach and benefits to this segment of society with the objective of minimum government and maximum governance.

In August, the ministry had launched the letter of recommendation module through which street vendors, who do not have identity cards or certificates of vending, can also avail benefits under the scheme.

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