The VISVAS program (Vanchit Ikai Samooh aur Vargon ko Aarthik Sahayata) aims to provide interest rate subsidies to OBC/SC Self Help Groups (SHGs) or individuals. It is implemented by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The aim of the program is to provide the direct benefit of a lower interest rate to eligible beneficiaries who have taken out loans through Public Banks (PSB), Regional Rural Banks (RRB) and similar financial institutions, hereinafter referred to as Credit Institutions.
In December 2020, the VISVAS program received a major boost after the National Backward Class Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and the National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Central Bank of India and signed by the National Bank of Punjab, the first and leading public sector bank.
For Other Backward classes
- Members of backward classes as notified by central/state governments.
- All OBC Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cardholders and OBC persons facing three or more hardship cases under SECC2011 are eligible for the interest rate subsidy.
- All OBC beneficiaries involved in agricultural activities receiving coverage under PM KISAN
- SHGs must be registered with NRLM/NULM/NABARD with more than two years of credit history.
For Scheduled Castes
- NSFDC recognized Self Help Groups (SHG) registered with NRLM/NULM and NABARD.
- The caste definition includes all castes listed on state and/or central SC lists
- Valid Annual Membership Certificate issued by the relevant government agency,
- AAY cardholders and others facing three or more deprivations as defined by SECC2011
- All beneficiaries involved in agricultural activities receiving coverage under the PM KISAN
The aim of the proposed program is to provide a direct benefit of a lower interest rate to eligible Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) or the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) or NABARD/individual beneficiaries, which have obtained loans through Public Sector Banks (PSB), Regional Rural Banks (RRB) and similar financial institutions, hereinafter referred to as Credit Institutions.
- National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) (for SC SHGs/beneficiaries).
- National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) (for OBC SHGs/beneficiaries)
Guidelines for implementation
All SHGs incorporated under NRLM or NULM and meeting the following eligibility are eligible for loan/credit interest subsidies up to Rs.4 lakh at 5% APR subject to the following:
- All SHG members must be a member of Be SC or OBC
- SHG must be registered with NRLM/NULM or NABARD
- SHG must have a two-year credit history
- SHG members must have a lower annual household income of Rs. 3 lakh
- SHGs must have a history of timely payment of contributions.
- SHGs must not have received an interest subsidy under any other program on that loan account.
All individual members with an annual household income less than Rs. 3 lakh belonging to SC or OBC are entitled to an interest subsidy on loans up to Rs. 2 lakh at 5% pa. another scheme.