Noida: The Prime Minister’s Traveling Merchant Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) launched after the first wave of Covid-19 to provide quick loans of Rs 10,000 to street vendors to restart their businesses, registered only 3,117 registrations in Noida. While 1,800 beneficiaries have already repaid the money, only 268 vendors have returned for an additional loan of Rs 20,000.
Aditya Kumar, Head of Vikas Bhawan Urban Development Agency in GB Nagar, said: “Of successful applications for the scheme, less than 9% of people have returned to take an additional loan of Rs 20,000. The second loan facility is available only to people who have successfully repaid the loan of Rs 10,000 to the banks. According to our records, out of 3,117, some 1,800 people have already settled their debts with banks.
The PM SVANidhi Scheme was launched by the Union Government in June 2020 with the aim of providing unsecured working capital loans of up to Rs 10,000 for a duration of one year following the first wave of Covid. Upon successful repayment of the initial loan, applicants have the option of availing another loan of Rs 20,000.
Rajesh Kumar, a 40-year-old resident of Bishanpura in Sector 58 of Noida, said, “I had borrowed Rs. 10,000 from the street vendor scheme and started a vegetable shop with my brother. We thought that vegetables would be something everyone would buy and that it would be a guaranteed source of income to overcome the financial losses induced by the confinement. I have already returned the loan amount to the bank and returned to our original business of movers and packers.
Sunita Devi, 39, a resident of Sector 62, was just a housewife before the country experienced the first wave of the pandemic. Her husband worked as a daily bettor on construction sites in Noida. “As most business activities came to a standstill during the pandemic, my husband became unemployed and we managed two meals a day with the small savings we had and the free ration from the state government.”
When the loan program was launched, Sunita seized the opportunity. “I opened a sewing shop near my house with the loan money. Although my husband has started working again, I decided to continue my small business for extra income and savings for rainy days,” she said.