Union Budget 2019: Small entrepreneurs had it rough during the first five years of Modi government with disruptive policy decisions like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax coming into force. Going into the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party had made a slew of promises in its manifesto to interest the small traders and entrepreneurs. After a resounding victory, the Modi government 2.0 is now expected to deliver on those electoral promises in its first Union Budget.
The BJP had promised a new scheme to provide collateral-free credit up to Rs 50 lakh for entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, the government will guarantee 50 per cent of the loan amount for female entrepreneurs and 25 per cent for male entrepreneurs.
FULL COVERAGE: Union Budget 2019
The party had also promised to support entrepreneurial ventures started by individuals from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Communities, or Economically Weaker Sections under the 'Stand Up India' initiative. A new 'Entrepreneurial Northeast' scheme to provide financial support to the micro, small and medium industries and for employment generation in the North-eastern states was also promised in the BJP manifesto.
The BJP had enlisted certain plans in its manifesto specifically for the welfare of small traders. The party had promised to provide an accident insurance of Rs 10 lakh rupees to all the traders registered under GST. The party had said that it will establish a National Traders' Welfare Board and create a National Policy for Retail Trade to ensure the growth of retail businesses.
The BJP had said that it plans to increase the number of beneficiaries under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana to Rs 30 crore. The party had also promised to issue merchant credit cards to registered merchants. This will be similar to Kisan credit cards issued to farmers.
The BJP manifesto also said small shopkeepers would be brought under the ambit of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan pension scheme. Announced in the interim budget earlier this year, the pension scheme looks after the social security and old age financial protection of unorganised sector workers.
That is a long list of promises BJP had made in its manifesto. Now it remains to be seen, how many of them are included in the upcoming Union Budget.