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Govt. will ease problems of poor: PM

Long-distance call:Narendra Modi speaking to Chagan Lal in Indore.PTI-  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the government was working on a new digital transaction platform for street vendors in the wake of the pandemic.

Mr. Modi addressed street vendors in Madhya Pradesh who got loans through the PM Street Vendors AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), a micro credit scheme launched by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry in June.

Under the scheme, street vendors badly hit by the pandemic and lockdown can get loans up to Rs. 10,000 to restart their work.

The Prime Minister also interacted with three of the beneficiaries via videoconferencing.

He said whenever there was a crisis, it was the poor who bore the brunt, which is why the government was focused on easing their problems now.

As customers preferred digital transactions over cash due to the pandemic, street vendors should move towards digital transactions.

Citing the example of restaurants that take orders and deliver through apps, the Prime Minister noted that street food vendors could also carry out their business online.

The government would come up with a platform for street vendors to transact digitally.

Under the PM SVANidhi scheme, which is part of the Centre’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat package, he said street vendors had access to easy capital.

“The scheme helps one get rid of interest completely. Under this scheme, interest rebate of up to 7% is being given anyway. A new beginning has been made in collaboration with banks and digital payment facilitators to ensure that our street vendors do not lag behind in digital shopkeeping,” he stated.

Chat with beneficiaries

Earlier in the event, Mr. Modi spoke to three beneficiaries from Madhya Pradesh, which accounts for 4.5 lakh of the total 10 lakh registrations for the scheme. Since its launch on June 1, just over 1 lakh loans have been disbursed.

Chagan Lal, who makes and sells brooms in Indore, told the Prime Minister: “After the lockdown, my business was completely destroyed. Since our work depends on us going from lane to lane and we could not move out during the lockdown, I had to face many problems.” He said he took loans from family members to be able to make ends meet. Now, with the Rs. 10,000 loan, he repaid the previous loans and bought materials to restart his work.

Mr. Modi remarked that he spotted a plastic water bottle near Mr. Chagan Lal’s pushcart and advised him to replace it with an earthen potHe also urged Mr. Lal to recycle the “pipe” portion of the brooms.

Archana Sharma, who runs a food stall in Gwalior, said her business stopped during the lockdown, but she was able to restart using the Rs. 10,000 loan.

Dalchand Kushwaha, A vegetable vendor in Raisen, told the Prime Minister that his income had taken a hit during the lockdown.