The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved four major initiatives, including the PM Vishwakarma scheme that seeks to benefit lakhs of traditional artisans and craftsmen and the PM-eBus Sewa that aims at promoting green mobility while improving city bus operations. The other two schemes to get Cabinet nod are the extension of the Digital India programme and seven multitracking projects of Indian Railways. The Vishwakarma scheme, for which an outlay of Rs 13,000 crore has been set aside for a period of five years, seeks to benefit about 30 lakh families of traditional artisans and craftsmen, including weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers.
Scheme will be launched on September 17
PM Modi had on Tuesday announced that the scheme will be launched on September 17. The artisans and craftsmen will be provided credit support of up to Rs1 lakh (first tranche) and Rs2 lakh (second tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5 per cent. The government will also provide support of up to Rs15,000 to buy modern tools. The cabinet also gave its nod to the PM-eBus Sewa to promote green mobility and improving bus connectivity with cities that have no organised service.
10,000 e-buses will be deployed in 169 cities
As many as 10,000 e-buses will be deployed in 169 cities on a public-private partnership (PPP) model at an estimated cost of Rs57,613 crore of which Rs20,000 crore will be borne by the Centre. The scheme will cover cities with a population of three lakh or more and support bus operations for 10 years. States/cities will be responsible for running the bus services and making payments to bus operators, while the Centre will provide subsidies, the government said.
Union cabinet approved the extension of the Digital India programme
The Union cabinet has also approved the extension of the Digital India programme with an outlay of Rs14,903 crore to boost digital initiatives in skilling, cyber security, high performance computing and simplifying technology for masses, among other areas. The outlay has been approved for a five-year period from 2021-22 to 2025-26, Vaishnaw said. Under the extended programme, nine more super computers will be added under the National Supercomputing Mission (NCM), he said. The Digilocker app will be extended to micro, small and medium enterprises to help them avail of credit and other services by verifying their document stored in the app. As many as, 6.25 lakh IT professionals will be re-skilled and 2.65 lakh persons will be trained in information security, he said.
Cyber awareness courses will be conducted
Besides, cyber awareness courses will be conducted for 12 crore college students under the programme. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved seven multi-tracking projects of Indian Railways at an estimated cost of around Rs32,500 crore, Vaishnaw said. The projects, which will be fully funded by the Centre, will help increase the existing line capacity, smoothen train operations, reduce congestion and facilitate ease of travelling and transportation. The projects will cover 35 districts in nine states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, and increase the existing network of Indian Railways by 2,339 km and provide employment of an estimated 7.06 crore man-days to the people of the states.