Bengaluru: The Narendra Modi-led Union government has devised a plan to ensure street vendors are brought to the mainstream. 

To this effect, the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiggy, a food tech major. 

The development comes under the Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme. It is the ministry of housing & urban affairs (MoHUA) that has entered into an MoU with Swiggy. 

The sum and substance of the project is to give the vendors online access to thousands of consumers and help these vendors grow their businesses. 

The MoU was exchanged by, joint secretary Sanjay Kumar and chief financial officer, Swiggy Rahul Bothra, through webinar in the presence of secretary, ministry of housing & urban Affairs (MoHUA) Durga Shanker Mishra, and officials of Swiggy and ministry.

Municipal commissioners of Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi also participated in the ceremony through video conferencing facility.

What prompted the government to take such a step: 

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic where physical distancing is the key to check its spread, this novel initiative aims to radically transform the business of street vendors across cities, by facilitating them to receive orders and serve customers using online mode of business. In a first of its kind initiative, MoHUA has coordinated with the key stakeholders including municipal corporations, FSSAI, Swiggy and GST officials to ensure that necessary prerequisites are completed for this initiative.

The way it is done: 

To begin with, MoHUA and Swiggy will run a pilot program by on-boarding 250 vendors across five cities namely – Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi. The street vendors will be helped with PAN and FSSAI registration, training on technology/ partner app usage, menu digitization and pricing, hygiene and packaging best practices. Upon the successful completion of the pilot, MoHUA and Swiggy plan to expand this initiative across the country in phases. This partnership is seen as yet another move by MoHUA to empower street vendors with digital technology and facilitate greater income earning opportunities by being present on a popular ecommerce platform like Swiggy.

During the ceremony, Secretary, HUA also launched the updated and modified version of PM SVANidhi Dashboard, which facilitates users not only with better granular view of the scheme’s performance but also with additional tools for comparisons.

The ministry is implementing PM SVANidhi Scheme since June 01, 2020, for providing affordable working capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown. This scheme targets to benefit over 50 lakh street vendors who had been vending on or before 24 March, 2020, in urban areas including those from surrounding peri-urban/rural areas. Under the scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year. On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on quarterly basis. There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan. The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash-back incentives up to an amount of Rs 1,200 per annum. 

The vendors can fulfil their aspiration of climbing up the economic ladder by availing the facility of enhanced credit limit on timely/early repayment of loan.

As on October 4, 2020, over 20 lakh loan applications have been received under the PM SVANidhi Scheme. Out of these, over 7.5 lakh loans have been sanctioned and over 2.4 lakh loans disbursed.