Centre Offers Collateral-Free Loans up to Rs 1 Lakh at 5% Interest, Benefitting 30 Lakh Craftsmen and Families

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Approval has been granted on Wednesday by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for a distinctive central sector scheme titled "PM Vishwakarma." This innovative endeavor was introduced by Prime Minister Modi in his recent address on Independence Day. The program aims to offer advantageous prospects to 30 lakh artisans and their families by granting them collateral-free loans at a reduced interest rate. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw affirmed this development.

Running for a five-year term until 2028, the "PM Vishwakarma" scheme has an allocated budget of ₹13,000 crore. In its initial phase, it will encompass 18 traditional crafts, with carpenters, boat makers, blacksmiths, locksmiths, goldsmiths, potters, sculptors, cobblers, and masons, among others, being the initial beneficiaries.

According to a statement from the central government, the "PM Vishwakarma" plan entails several benefits for artisans and craftsmen, including official recognition via certificates and ID cards, access to credit with preferential interest rates of 5%, the provision of skill enhancement, toolkit incentives, rewards for digital transactions, and support in marketing their products.

In the same meeting, the CCEA also granted its approval for the "PM-eBus Sewa" project. This initiative aims to integrate 10,000 electric buses into the country's public transportation system. Over a span of ten years, the operation and maintenance of these e-buses will be supported, as noted by Union Minister Anurag Thakur.

This project has a comprehensive vision, with the deployment of e-buses in 169 cities and infrastructural enhancements in 181 cities through the Green Urban Mobility Initiatives. The estimated cost of this scheme is ₹57,613 crore, with a substantial ₹20,000 crore provided by the central government. It's anticipated that this effort will generate between 45,000 to 55,000 job opportunities due to the deployment of around 10,000 buses, which will significantly enhance city bus operations.

The "PM-eBus Sewa" initiative consists of two key components. One segment focuses on expanding city bus services, while the other concentrates on developing infrastructural aspects under the Green Urban Mobility Initiatives umbrella. In this context, the initiative will support environmentally friendly measures such as bus priority systems, infrastructure development, and multimodal interchange facilities.

The scheme delineates the responsibilities of states and cities, which will be accountable for operating the bus services and remunerating bus operators. Concurrently, the central government will provide financial support in the form of subsidies to bolster these bus operations.