Prime Minister Modi launched ‘Stand Up India’
initiative; to encourage entrepreneurship for Scheduled Castes/Schedule Tribes and women
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made two announcements from the ramparts of Lal Qila (Red Fort) on the Independence Day last year—‘Start Up India’ and ‘Stand Up India’—to bring a paradigm change in Bharat’s entrepreneurship programme and for economical upliftment of men and women from the dalit, tribal and economically weaker sections of the society.
Keeping with his promise to bring change in the lives of “Mere dalit aur adivasi bhaiyon aur beheno” (My dalit and tribal brothers and sisters), the PM launched ‘Stand Up India’ scheme at Gautam Buddha Nagar in Noida on April 5.
More important is that Modi chose ‘Samta Divas’ – the birth anniversary of legendary Dalit icon and Congress leader, late Babu Jagjivan Ram to bring smiles on the faces of small entrepreneurs — both men and women — from SC, ST and economically backward classes. “Today is Samta Divas–the birth anniversary of Babu Jagjivan Ram, one of the greatest Dalit leaders of our country. By launching Stand Up India, we want to pay tribute to his struggles and contributions. This scheme will help Dalit and Adivasi youth to be self-reliant and transform them from a job seeker to a job provider. Every year we can have 2.5 lakh small enterprises in the country, as under the scheme an entrepreneur can avail a loan from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore,” said Modi.
At the venue where the scheme was launched, large number of women could be seen visibly happy as they have taken the first step towards entrepreneurship to become economically self-reliant.
The women who were given e-rickshaws and announced as owners by the PM, couldn’t hide their excitement and joy.
“It’s a poud moment for my family and me. From now onwards I’ll be driving this e-rickshaw and earn for my family of six members. We’ve received training for driving, maintenance, primary repairing of the vehicle and dealing with banks. It will help me in enhancing my family’s income and I want use them for my children’s education,” said Haseena, an e-rickshaw owner at the venue.
Besides the launch of the scheme meant to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes and women from economically weaker section, the PM also announced the distribution of 5,100 e-rickshaws under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
The e-rickshaw owners who gathered at the venue shared the hardship they had faced as manual rickshaw-pullers, the low income, problem of getting customers and their inability to have access to institutional finance.
Amidst a huge gathering, the launch of these schemes aimed at empowering the target group kick started in an unusual way. Unlike the traditional government-sponsored functions, Modi reached the venue and walked to a make-shift tea stall—‘Babloo Bhaiyya tea stall’ prepared for a ‘Chai pe charcha’ along with Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and many others. It was designed for an informal chat between the PM and the e-rickshaw owners, who have now become entrepreneurs from daily wagers.
While sipping tea from ‘Kulhaad’ (earthen cups), Modi asked a dozen of men and women to promise that they would ensure education of their children, especially the girl child. After spending a relaxed moment for 20 minutes, Modi using a mobile phone App called an e-rickshaw and reached the dais. Demonstrating how the new would function, he also made an e-payment through a mobile App. However, this time the driver of the e-rickshaw was Vijay Pandey, managing director of Bharitya Micro Credit (BMC).
BMC—a micro-financing organisation aims at facilitating the upgradation of pedal rickshaw pullers into e-rickshaw owners and help create threefold increment in their income. Credit for all these facilities are being provided under PM Mudra Yojna.
Referring to the success of Jan Dhan Yojana, the PM added, “There are people who are fleeing with nation’s money on one hand, and on the other the poor people opened their no-frill bank accounts for the first time and the banks have got a deposit of Rs 35,000 crore. Our aim is to economically empower the poor.”
Speaking on the success of the NDA government in bringing the poor under the banking net, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The PM gave us a disbursement target of Rs 1.22 lakh crore of small loans and we achieved Rs 3.32 lakh crore through Mudra Yojna. The launch of the new scheme will help 70 per cent of women beneficiaries and our challenge is to empower the SCs, STs and women through entrepreneurship. We want to free people from the clutches of moneylenders.”
Integrating with the Jan Dhan Yojana and other schemes, this scheme also needs to be executed well and in right spirit to bring in smile on the faces of SCs, STs and women.