The female share in the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme at 43 per cent indicates the empowerment of entrepreneurial capabilities of urban females, according to a report by State Bank of India’s economic research department (ERD).

This empowerment of urban females makes the Scheme a gender equalizer, it added.

Almost 75 per cent of loan beneficiaries come from the “non-general category” is a testament to the innate power of well-intended policy schemes to seed transformative changes, the ERD said in a report.

The Scheme, which was launched on June 1, 2020, is a micro-credit scheme for urban street vendors that aims to provide collateral-free working capital loans up to ₹50,000 in incremental tranches.

Till date around 70 lakh loans disbursed in all three tranches (1st: up to ₹10,000; 2nd: up to ₹20,000; and 3rd: up to ₹50,000), benefiting over 53 lakh street vendors, with a total value exceeding ₹9,100 crore, the ERD said in its special report.

The ratio of people repaying the first loan of ₹10,000 and taking the second loan of ₹20,000 loan is 68 per cent. The ratio of people repaying second loan of ₹20,000 and taking the third loan of ₹50,000 loan is 75 per cent, per the ERD’s assessment.

“Remarkably, the disbursement of the loan is consonance with census data -- about 80 per cent borrowers are Hindu, while remaining 20 per cent borrowers are non-Hindu.

“However, the spending pattern of the poor are same for those at the bottom quintile... Poverty has no religion, caste, creed or gender,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI.

The average debit card spending of PM SVANidhi account holders increased by 50 per cent to about ₹80,000 in FY23 as compared to FY21. It means that in just 2 years average spending per annum increased by about ₹28,000, with a rather small amount of seed capital infused to informal urban entrepreneurs.

Under the scheme, regular repayments are incentivized with a 7 per cent interest subsidy, and digital transactions are rewarded with cashback up to ₹1,200 per year.

As per PM SVANidhi dashboard, around 5.9 lakh borrowers are in 6 mega cities and 7.8 lakh borrowers come from the top 10 million+ population cities.

Of these mega and million+ cities, Varanasi is the top performer where 45 per cent of total spenders are active spenders, followed by Bengaluru, Chennai, Prayagraj, etc.

Till date around 70 lakh loans have been disbursed in all three tranches, benefiting over 53 lakh street vendors, with a total value exceeding ₹9,100 crore.

“It is noteworthy that public sector banks have played a pivotal role in achieving this significant milestone through their support of the first-ever micro-credit scheme designed for urban poor socio-economic section. About 31 per cent of total loans are disbursed by SBI alone. Top five banks (State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and Canara Bank) accounted for two-third of total disbursement,” GHosh said.