Thursday 22 October 2020

Assam re-launches self-employment scheme worth Rs 1,000 crore

With assembly polls seven months away, the Assam government on 4 September re-launched an old scheme with the aim of providing self-employment to around 2 lakh youths of the state. Called Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment (SVAYEM), the scheme worth Rs 1000 crore, would provide Rs 50,000 each as seed money to selected youths to start business ventures.

The scheme was part of the BJP-led government’s budget speech in 2017-18, but instead of benefitting 1 lakh youths as planned it managed to get only around 7,000 beneficiaries due to lack of adequate support from banks.

“We are launching the redesigned SVAYEM with a budget of Rs 1000 crore which will be spent in the next three months without any banking linkage. The 2 lakh beneficiaries would have to be part of self-help groups, joint liability groups, etc. before 1 September,” said finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The groups seeking to avail benefits of the scheme will be able to register themselves at a new portal which will be launched on 16 September. Sarma said the scheme could get repeated annually with the possibility of increasing the number of beneficiaries.

“This is the biggest self-employment programme launched by any government in Assam since Independence. The Rs 1000 cr would come from our own revenue without any banking linkage,” the minister said.

To claim benefit of the scheme, the applicants would have to be below 40 years of age, must have passed matriculation and should be part of existing self-help groups.

A second scheme, which provides a Rs 50,000 subsidy to anyone who has taken an education loan will be launched again. Last year 1,545 persons had benefited from the scheme.

“But due to the economic situation because of COVID-19, we had not launched the scheme this year. We already have 5,547 approved applications. Those who want to avail it can apply again. The amounts will be released next month. It will cost the exchequer Rs 25 crore,” informed Sarma.

Another scheme worth Rs 250 crore would transfer a sum of Rs 3,000 each to nearly 8 lakh bank accounts of tea garden labourers in the state.

Launched in 2017-18, the state government had provided Rs 2,500 each to 6.33 lakh bank accounts as part of the scheme and a similar amount the next year to 7.15 lakh bank accounts. No amount was transferred to the accounts last year.

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