My salutations to our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shree Narendra Modi for his fine gesture of granting loan of Rs 10,000 to street hawkers, retail shop keepers, roadside vendors, daily wage majdoors, farmers, and others under Aatmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
We all are passing through a very tough time owing to the corona pandemic. During these trying times, where all the giant e-commerce and online merchants closed their shops and suddenly ran away, small shopkeepers and farmers stayed and served the entire nation. Farmers, small grocery stores, street hawkers of vegetables and fruit, laborers, milkmen, etc., regardless of their own safety, continued to serve the people day and night and saved us.
I have been working very closely with them for the last 20 years, and I understand their pain. Most of them are compelled to take loan on daily basis for their survival at very high interest rate ranging from 2 to 5 percent per day, which never turns into NPA. All these people are real industrialists, who are creating employment for masses in India. They are not just feeding themselves but also providing stable, sustainable, and respectable employment to the people working with them.
A loan of Rs. 10,000 for them and that too at very low interest rate of only 7 percent per annum is not less than a boon. Moreover, they will get rebate of 3–4 percent once they pay back their loan in a timely manner. Definitely, this process will contribute positively to the Indian economy.
Our most beloved popular MP, Late Vishwanath Singh Gahmari narrated the account of plight of people from Eastern UP in the Parliament. With teary eyes, he described the pathetic plight and poverty and said that the people of the area used to survive by making bread from the grains picked up from the dung of the cattle. While he was speaking, the whole house was in complete, sad silence. Even the late prime minister had got emotional.
I am writing this on the basis of my personal experience and not on the basis of any media sources. I have had the privilege of being born in the region of India, which is known for extreme backwardness and poverty. I am proud of that poor, honest, and well-intentioned soil of Purvanchal, which gave birth to leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jai Prakash Narayan, Raj Narain, Dr Sampurnanand, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, and many more.
Industry is not just about earning money and feeding oneself. The real meaning of industry is to give stable, sustainable, and respectable employment to the people. Industrialists are responsible for economic upliftment, providing employment and social transformation of society.
As we are engulfed in the corona epidemic, the governments of the whole world have announced economic packages according to their potential. Many governments have given several trillion dollars, and India has also given a package of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is a huge amount.
My request to the government is to give a large part of this economic package to the poor, unemployed, and needy. The government should use this package to create good health infrastructure, which should be available to all.
Many associations and industrialists are asking for financial support. The government should help only those industries that had given stable, sustainable, and respectable employment to at least 10–20 people for at least last 5–10 years. Industry connects society and helps reduce social discrimination.
Most importantly, the support to the industries should be given at a higher interest rate from the market in the form of loans, and must ensure that the return of loan is 100 percent. Let the government and private sector banks and financial institutions develop their intelligence to this level that the money given by them should not become NPA at any cost. This money belongs to the public and public money should not be wasted.
Often, industrialists are looked down upon by public as some of them tend to treat the loan as profit. However, the government and the banks have worked out the relief packages for certain categories of industries, which is a welcome move. Only a proper monitoring system can ensure utilization of the package for the purpose it is meant for.
Salute and thanks to all those industrialists, who paid wages to their employees in this lockdown and did not compel people to walk thousands of kilometres on a hungry stomach.