VIJAYAWADA: For the second consecutive year, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Tuesday extended Rs 370 crore to 3.7 lakh small traders as interest-free loans under the Jagananna Thodu scheme.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy observed that with the government assistance, the small-time and petty vendors, artisans etc need not approach private money lenders for loans and burden their lives by paying heavy interest. They are urged to make use of the Jagananna Thodu scheme launched to cater to meet their working capital needs.
The Chief Minister said that although 9.05 lakh beneficiaries were identified for the scheme, in the phase-1, only Rs 535 crore was disbursed by the banks to 5.35 lakh beneficiaries, despite the government offering to pay the interest. As these vendors come under the unorganised sector, the banks don’t provide loans and they end up approaching private parties, take loans at high-interest rates to run their businesses, and often fall into debts.
He said that in order to end their ordeal, the state government decided to extend financial assistance to the remaining 3.7 lakh beneficiaries through Sthreenidhi Credit Cooperative Federation and APCOB covering all the eligible beneficiaries by sanctioning loans in rural and urban areas. He stated that a total of Rs 49.77 crore was being borne by the government towards interest. He said that it would bring a change in the lives of small and petty vendors, as the government was relieving them of heavy interest loans. If they repaid the loan amount in the given timeline, the state government shall reimburse the interest directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts, and further, they would be eligible to take the next loan, he said.
Jagan Mohan Reddy said vegetable vendors, fruit vendors, small shopkeepers, pushcart vendors, and traditional artisans are eligible to apply for the scheme. He said if any eligible person is 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. They can also call ‘1902’ toll-free number to get help in getting enrolled.
Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Chief Secretary Adityanath Das, Municipal and Special Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Y. Srilakshmi, Special Chief Secretary (Village and Ward Secretariats) Ajay Jain, Special Chief Secretary (Panchayat Raj, Rural Development ) Gopalakrishna Dwivedi, Village and Ward Secretariats Commissioner Narayana Bharat Gupta, SERP CEO Rajababu, MEPMA MD Vijayalakshmi, SLBC Convener Brahmananda Reddy, Sthreenidhi MD Nancharaya, APCOB MD Sreenadh Reddy and other senior officials were present.