Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his government has acknowledged the honesty and hard work of street vendors by offering them loans that were inaccessible to the poor in the past.
“Those doing politics in the name of the poor had created an atmosphere that if a loan is given to them it would not be returned. Those who had themselves been involved in scams had always put the blame for all dishonest things on the poor,” he said, addressing beneficiaries of the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme in Uttar Pradesh via video conferencing.
Modi said today the poor have been linked to the banking system and loans have been given to street vendors who are repaying them in time.
“I have always been saying the poor of the country have never compromised with honesty and self respect. Through the PM Svanidhi Yojna the poor have once again presented the example of their honesty before the country,” he said.
“The street vendors of UP are repaying loans through their hard work besides earning their livelihood. This is the will power and hard work and honesty, Modi said.
The Prime Minister interacted with three beneficiaries of the scheme hailing from Agra, Varanasi and Lucknow and enquired about how it has helped them.
Modi, who explained the scheme in detail, also took the opportunity to attack those who had questioned the government’s move of linking the poor with the banking system.
The doors of the banks which have today been opened for you have not happened in a day. It is the result of the ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas’ policy,” he said.
The PM said the scheme was a reply to those who were sceptical about linking the poor with the banking system.
He claimed that when the jan-dhan accounts were opened, many people had questioned and laughed but now those accounts had come to the help of the poor.
“The street vendors are helping in taking the poor forward, they are getting connected to banks, the mainstream of the economy. In a global pandemic which forced big nations to bow before it, the common man of the country bravely did it,” he said.
The PM SVANidhi scheme was launched on June 1 this year to help poor street vendors, impacted by economic distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in resuming livelihood activities. Around 25 lakh applications have been received of which 12 lakh have been sanctioned.
While interacting through video conferencing with Preeti, a fruit vendor from Agra, Arvind Maurya who sells momos and coffee in Varanasi and Vijay Bahadur who sells bhelpuri in Lucknow, the PM enquired about their businesses and how the scheme has helped them.
Expressing satisfaction on coming to know that Preeti accepts digital payments, Maurya gives one momo extra to those using masks and maintaining social distancing and Bahadur used the loan amount to better manage his business, the Prime Minister said other people too can learn from their example.
He also asked Maurya, a resident of his Parliamentary constituency Varanasi, how he prepared momos, and asked Bahadur if the younger generation likes bhelpuri.
On a lighter note, Modi said people in Varanasi like momos these days but he has never had them during his visits there and his security personnel would not allow him to eat the dumplings without first tasting them themselves.
He said while earlier people had to go to the banks to take loans, the banks are now coming to them to give loans.
He also said in the economy of Uttar Pradesh, street vendors have an important role to play. Such a big state with a big population. Through street vending, a large number of people are not only earning their livelihoods but also helping in meeting the requirements of the people in their own towns and villages.”
Street vending jobs have an important role in checking migration from Uttar Pradesh which is today the top performing state in the scheme, he said, praising Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his team for their efforts.
Modi said almost 6.50 lakh applications had been received from UP of which 3.75 lakh were sanctioned. He lauded the banks and their employees in making an important contribution in achieving this target.