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Panelists feel that the government schemes should help more people, compares scheme and its limitations with NPAs and loans to big businesses

Parties are gearing up for the 2019 general elections.  The BJP is all-out listing its achievements. Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with beneficiaries of the Mudra Yojana (PMMY) scheme. Launched by him in 2015, the scheme aims to develop India’s micro-enterprises sector by providing loans up to Rs 10 lakh. During the interaction, PM Modi said Rs 6 lakh crore has been disbursed to 12 crore beneficiaries. APN’s popular debate Mudda took up the issue with panelists including Congress’s Hilal Naqvi, BJP’s Ashok Thakur, publicity expert Naresh Dudani, noted scribe Kulsum Mustafa and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Thakur said: “People have benefited from government schemes like the Mudra Yojana. Why should the PM be criticised just because he’s interacting with people to gauge the success of the programme?”

Naqvi said:  “The BJP has been trying to convolute the truth. No one has actually benefited from Mudra Yojana. This is a re-finance programme. If you see bank NPAs, a large part comprises such programmes of the government that have not yielded the desired results.”

Thakur said: “Mudra Yojana is a way to give loan to small businesses. In the Congress’s time, loans were given to the likes of Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. This is the difference between the Congress and the BJP.”

Raju said: “Small businesses thrive on small loans, and government schemes to benefit such people should be welcome.  Bank NPAs are more to do with large loans, and not the small loans given to small businesses.”

Thakur said: “Most of the beneficiaries are from the backward classes.”

Mustafa said: “Some people benefited; some people did not. A small percentage must have benefited. Micro-financing is for those who need such small amounts like Rs 5,000-Rs 10,000. The PM talking about his schemes with the people is a good effort, since this is the last year before the general elections, and have such dialogue is a brilliant idea.”

Naqvi said: “How many people benefited, seven crore or 11 crore people?  One also needs to know how many people were able to return these loans.”

Dudani said: “The way the PM has used technology in diverse ways is worth noting. Such transparency is most welcome; that the common man can talk directly to the PM is a great achievement of both technology and governance.”

Naqvi said: “To assess a scheme, we need to know, if the money disbursed comes back or not. If it comes back, it means, it has met its goal. This kind of assessment is needed to find out the success of the government programmes.”

Thakur said: “Only those who work are assessed. When one starts work, they are many who want to pull you down. This is exactly what is happening. People don’t want to see Modi’s success.”

Dudani said: “Let’s not get into a debate about Ujjwala Yojana uselessly. Look at how many homes gas cylinders have reached…homes that earlier did not have access to gas cylinders, and depended upon lighting logs to cook. People have been given gas cylinders. Whether such beneficiaries have come for refilling, whether they can afford to pay Rs 500-Rs 600 periodically for gas filling, is another topic altogether.”

Raju said: “Such yojanas are big game changers. It gives a completely different view of life and opportunities. Some people may not have come back for refilling, but a lot must have benefitted significantly.”

Mustafa said: “It is good that the BJP thought of alleviating the dreary work of poor women by devising such schemes.”

Thakur said: “PM Modi doesn’t talk in the air. He leads from the front.”

Raju said:”For all-round amelioration of the lives of the poor, everything must be thought of clearly, not just giving a gas cylinder to the poor, but also include the transportation costs, and also assess the economy of the family that would need to refill the gas cylinder.”

Dudani said: “It is to be noted that 85 percent gas cylinders have come back for refilling, and that’s a good indicator. Sustainable development is going to be the key to ensure success of such programmes in the future.”

—Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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