Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy has launched Jagananna Thodu, a scheme to provide an interest-free loan of Rs 10,000 to street vendors and other small traders.
9.05 lakh beneficiaries will receive the money from the Rs 905 crore released for the purpose. Banks shall credit the loan amount of Rs 10,000 to the beneficiaries’ accounts within 10 days.
“From now on, small, petty vendors, artisans need not approach private money lenders for loans and be burdened with heavy interest, as they can avail loans from banks under the Jagananna Thodu scheme to use as their working capital,” Reddy said during the programme's launch on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister said that the programme was designed in view of the plight of small vendors and artisans he witnessed during his 3,648-km padayatra in the state before the 2019 elections.
Officials said that the government will be paying interest of about Rs 100 crore annually on the beneficiary behalf, under the scheme.
The beneficiaries will also be provided with a QR-based smart ID card and if they repay the loan amount within time, the government shall reimburse the interest amount once every three months directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts, and further, they become eligible for another loan.
“These vendors cater to the needs of the public in rain or sun, selling vegetables, flowers etc, essentials on the streets to survive. As they fall under the unorganised sector, banks also decline loans. So they end up approaching private parties, take loans at high interest rates to run their businesses, and often fall into huge debts,” the CM said.
Reddy said that Jagananna Thodu will bring a positive change in the lives of such vendors. Volunteers and welfare assistants of village/ward secretariats would assist in identifying beneficiaries, accepting applications and arranging loans.
Any eligible person left uncovered can apply through volunteers, and upon verification, they will also be provided with the scheme's benefits in a month or two. They can also call on the 1902 toll-free number for enrollment.