BENGALURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa may be critical of predecessor HD Kumaraswamy’s policies, but that hasn’t prevented his government from giving a push to a scheme meant for the uplift of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, launched by the JDS leader when he was chief minister.
The Kumaraswamy government had rolled out the Samruddhi scheme in 2018 to boost entrepreneurship among SC and ST communities. Under the scheme, the social welfare department gives a grant of Rs 10 lakh to beneficiaries to set up a franchise or retail outlet in smaller towns and cities.
A sum of Rs 275 crore had been allotted in 2018 with a target of reaching at least 25,000 beneficiaries. But so far, only 10 applicants have been approved under the scheme, which amounts to only Rs 1 crore being utilised so far. The beneficiary would have to identify premises -- either rented or their own property -- for their business. Grants can be used to set up the shop or to purchase products.
Costs over Rs 10 lakh would have to be borne by the beneficiaries themselves. The social welfare department received a whopping 34,180 applications between November 2018 and January 2019, and of these, only 20,828 were eligible because they fell short of caste criteria or had not provided required documents.
Of the 20,828 eligible applicants, some were rejected by companies as the place proposed by the applicants was not suitable in their view. Finally the department gave grants to 10 beneficiaries, including two from Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapura and Shivamogga a few months ago.
They have started their franchises and business is good. Since then, the department has modified the rules, allowing 368 more people to be eligible. These approvals are in different stages - some people are getting trained, some are getting their shops ready. "There is so much potential in this scheme. It needs to be popularised. There were a few glitches and loopholes which are being rectified," said a department official.
Principal secretary of the social welfare department, Kumar Naik said the department will roll out the online facility, where applicants can choose from a list of five franchises. "Even if one or two companies reject applicants, other options can be considered," Naik said.