NEW DELHI: Stressing that financial inclusion is his government’s main focus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said banks had given loans to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore to small entrepreneurs under the MUDRA Yojana.
Addressing the national conference of SC/ST entrepreneurs here, he said, “80,000 borrowers have benefited from the scheme under which more than Rs 50,000 crore loans have been given primarily to SCs, STs, OBCs and women entrepreneurs engaged in small businesses and who provide jobs to about 14 crore people.”
“Financial inclusion is at the core of the government’s focus, which is to create job-creators, not job-seekers,” he said, adding that the strength of a pyramid depends on its base and the people at the base need to be empowered so that they can strengthen the economy.
Recalling that earlier it was difficult for SC/ST entrepreneurs to get loans from banks, he explained that loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh were provided to small entrepreneurs as an initiative to fund the unfunded under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana.
Hailing Dr Ambedkar’s contributions, the Prime Minister said the late leader was not only the architect of the Constitution, but also an accomplished economist. “Babasaheb rightly said that industrialisation will give maximum benefit to our Dalit sisters and brothers,” he said and pointed out that people participating in the function pay crores of rupees in taxes and employ lakhs of youth.
To support businesses of SCs/STs, the government has created a Rs 200-crore venture capital fund with IFCI as the nodal agency. It has so far given loans worth Rs 144 crore to 28 businesses belonging to the SC/ST community, he said.
“Our government is your government. We are working for your empowerment,” he assured and expressed the hope that Dalit entrepreneurs would be able to achieve twice as much as they had in the last 10 years. “This is possible because this is your government at the Centre,” he said.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said that last year, about 1.5 lakh SCs/STs were trained. He said the ministry has identified about 7,500 persons engaged in manual scavenging and they have been given a grant of Rs 40,000 each to look for small business opportunities.