Bhopal: Silver lining for street vendors, many await for loan under Svanidhi Scheme

BHOPAL: Many street vendors in the city have yet to get the benefit of PM Svanidhi scheme.

Lengthy process for submitting application forms has prevented a few of them from seeking the loan. The state government has, however, given a target of benefiting half a million vendors under the scheme to the urban development and housing department.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched the plan on June 1 to provide affordable working capital to street vendors that they may earn a living. The corona pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have consumed their livelihoods.

Twenty-two-year-old Faisal Ali, resident of Shahjahanabad who vends various items of daily use has told Free Press that he filled the required forms for availing the benefits three months ago.

He continued to wait for the loan. But his hopes were shattered when he got a message on his mobile phone, that his application was rejected. The lockdown has emptied his wallet. So he expected the loan he would get under scheme would help him restart his business, Faisal says.

The story of 38-year-old Aneesha Bee, resident of Karond is no different. She sells anklets in colonies and her husband Nafees vegetables on handcart. They applied for loan two months ago. They, too, got a message informing them about the cancellation of their application. They say they were unaware about the reasons for rejection.

Twenty-five-year-old fruit-seller Imran Khan, resident of Rohsanpura Square, has the same tale as that of Faisal and Nafees. He applied for loan two months ago. But he has yet to get a positive reply. He says he has spent Rs 100 to buy the application form and lot of time to submit it. Khan says an acquaintance of his got Rs 5,000 out of Rs 10,000.

An applicant, nonetheless, does not have to pay a single penny to buy an application form. A few vendors have not applied for it because of the lengthy process.

Lakhan Chaurasiya, resident of Shiv Nagar, Chhola Mandir, sells vegetables on handcart. He says he also did not fill the form, because it will cost him Rs 1, 000. He does not want to waste time visiting offices daily. He earns Rs 1,000 every day, and if he spends four days on submitting an application for the loan, he will incur a huge loss.

A resident of Sanjay Nagar, Arun Yadav, says he has kept away from applying for the loan, because the amount is not sufficient to start a new business. He gets Rs 35,000 each month by selling fruits. He used to sell food stuff on a handcart before the lockdown.

Aseem Khan, a resident of Qazi Camp, collects rags from door to door. Khan says he did not apply for the loan, since he lacks an Aadhar card.

Sixty-year-old Kamal Singh Yadav, resident of Shaymla Hills, sells fruits on handcart. He says because he wants to keep away from the burden of repaying loan, he did not apply for financial aid under the scheme.

Most of the forms rejected: Social activist

Around 60% of the population in the city work as street vendors. But most of them said their forms were rejected. The state government claims that around eight lakh vendors got themselves registered under the scheme. According to the Street Vendors Act, every city should have a Town Vending Committee (TVC) 40 % members of which should be street vendors and rest should be government officials. I don’t know what the situation is in the state. I have filed an RTI to know the facts.- Ashish Raghuvanshi, social activist

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Free Press Journal