The government has sanctioned more than ₹40,700 crore to over 1.8 lakh accounts under Stand Up India scheme in the last seven years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says on Wednesday. Stand Up India scheme was launched on April 5, 2016, in order to promote entrepreneurship at the grassroot level amongst women, and SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe) category, and to focus on economic empowerment and job creation across manufacturing, services, and trading sector as well as activities allied to agriculture. The scheme has been extended up to the year 2025.

"It is a matter of pride and satisfaction for me to note that more than 1.8 lakh women and SC/ST entrepreneurs have been sanctioned loans for more than ₹40,700 crore," the finance minister says, who was speaking at the 7th anniversary of Stand Up India scheme.

According to the data shared by the finance ministry, as of March 21, 2023, ₹40.710 crore sanctioned under the Stand Up India scheme to 1,80,636 accounts since its inception. Of this, ₹5,625 crore has been sanctioned in 26,889 accounts of SC beneficiaries, ₹1,932.50 crore in 8,960 accounts of ST beneficiaries, and 33,152.43 crore in 1,80,636 accounts of women beneficiaries at the grassroot level.  The ministry says that more than 80% of loans given under this scheme have been provided to women entrepreneurs. 

"The scheme has created an eco-system which facilitates and continues to provide a supportive environment for setting up green field enterprises through access to loans from bank branches of all Scheduled Commercial Banks. Stand-Up India Scheme has proved to be an important milestone in promoting entrepreneurship among SC, ST and women," the finance minister says.

The scheme facilitates bank loans between ₹10 lakh and ₹100 lakh to at least one Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch of Scheduled Commercial Banks. Any SC/ST/women entrepreneurs above 18 years of age can avail the scheme. According to the finance ministry, the scheme aims to encourage all bank branches in extending loans to borrowers from SC, ST and women in setting up their own greenfield enterprises. Greenfield signifies, in this context, the first-time venture of the beneficiary in manufacturing, services or the trading sector and activities allied to agriculture. In the case of non-individual enterprises, 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by either SC/ST and/or women entrepreneurs. The scheme envisages ‘up to 15%’ margin money which can be provided in convergence with eligible Central/State schemes. In any case, the borrower shall be required to bring in a minimum of 10% of the project cost as their own contribution.

"Stand-up India scheme is based on the third pillar of the National Mission for Financial Inclusion namely "funding the unfunded." The scheme has ensured the availability of seamless credit flow from branches of Schedule Commercial Banks to SC/ST and women entrepreneurs. The scheme has been instrumental in improving the standards of living for entrepreneurs, their employees and their families," says Dr Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad, Union Minister of State for Finance. 

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