The VISVAS in the Prime Minister’s VISVAS Yojana 2021 scheme stands for ‘Vanchit Ikai Samooh aur Vargon ko Aarthik Sahayata’ Yojana. It was released by the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot. He released a book containing 33 Action Plans 2020-21 of all the schemes under the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment on September 7, 2020. VISVAS Yojana was one of these schemes. It is for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and OBC Self Help Groups (SHG) or individual groups with annual family income up to Rs. 3 Lakh. The Scheme was valid for 2020-2021. The further extension of the scheme would have been evaluated based on its performance.
The objective behind the Scheme
This scheme aims to provide the direct benefit of a lower rate of interest to the eligible beneficiaries who have availed loans through Public Sector Banks
(PSBs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and similar financial institutions hereinafter referred to as Lending Institutions. Under the scheme, the interest subvention provided will be 100% for OBC members and OBC individuals who have taken a loan for various income-generating activities.
Details of the Scheme
The scheme benefits OBC/SC SHGs with loans/borrowings of up to Rs.4.00 Lakh and OBC/SC individuals with loan/borrowing up to Rs.2.00 Lakh with a quick interest subvention benefit of 5% directly into the standard accounts of borrowing SHGs/beneficiaries. The maximum Loan limit for SHG is Rs.4 lakh and for individuals is Rs. 2 lakh. The maximum subvention amount is 5 % p.a and the mode of payment of subvention is through direct transfer of Subvention Amount into the opening account of the SHG or the Individual.
Eligibility Criteria for the Scheme
For Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
- Self Help Groups must be registered with NABARD / NULM or NRLM with more than two years of credit history.
- All the Other Backward Classes beneficiaries are involved in the Agricultural activities and getting coverage under the PM KISAN.
- Members of the Backward Classes as recognized by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- All the OBC Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cardholders, and OBC individuals facing three or more Deprivations in terms of SECC-2011, as per records available in the relevant BDO office shall be eligible for Interest Subvention.
For Scheduled Castes (SCs)
- All beneficiaries involved in the agricultural Activities and getting coverage under the PM KISAN.
- NSFDC recognized Self- Help (SHGs) registered with NRLM / NULM and NABARD.
- Have a valid annual Income Certificate issued by the competent authority of the State Government.
- AAY cardholders and other individuals facing three or more Deprivations in terms of SECC- 2011.
- The definition of Scheduled Castes includes all castes notified in the lists of SCs in the State and or Central Government.
In December 2020, the VISVAS scheme got a major boost after the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Central Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, leading and premier Public Sector Banks.