Modi To Small Businessmen: 'You Are The Backbone Of Our Nation'

09/04/2015 11:50 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
PUNIT PARANJPE via Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the inauguration of a conference on Financial Inclusion in Mumbai on April 2, 2015. The conference was organised on the occasion of completion of 80 years of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). AFP PHOTO/PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — Reaching out to small businessmen, including vegetable sellers, milkmen, weavers, artisans and newspaper vendors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said it is their small units that drive the Indian economy in reality, and not the large companies.

In a letter addressed to 'small business persons across the country', Modi said they are the "real backbone of our nation" and the strength they give to the economy is "one of the most overlooked secrets."

Listing out several initiatives, including MUDRA, taken by the government for their benefit, the Prime Minister said, "If your hands are strengthened, I am confident that you will take the nation to even greater heights.

"You should be able to run your business easily, not be harassed by officials, get loans for your day-to-day activities, material for your operations and markets for your product."

In the letter dated March 31 and released today, Modi said, "Vegetable sellers, milkmen, grocers, washermen, newspaperwallahs, weavers, artisans, flower-sellers and so on -- you all are the backbone of our nation.

"While many think that large companies dominate, in reality, it is over 5.5 crore small units like yours, which drive our economy through small manufacturing, trading and service businesses."

Lauding them for providing jobs to 11-12 crore people, the majority of whom are SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities, Modi said, "India thus depends on you for its growth, jobs and prosperity.

"You should be protected from any financial crisis and feel secure about your future. If this is done, you will be strong enough to lift the nation up."

Listing the government's initiatives in the three-page letter, Modi said the government is setting up MUDRA Bank to ensure loans at affordable rates with minimal paperwork.

Through Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, they would get loans up to Rs 5,000 from these accounts for their business needs. The government is also helping states in order to supply uninterrupted power under the Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, he added.

For their children, Modi said, "We are setting up the SETU (self employment and talent utilisation) mechanism to support all aspects of a start-up business, from credit to incubation.

"AIM (Atal Innovative Mission) has also been established to promote a network of world class innovation hubs for those wanting to get into cutting edge R&D," Modi said.

He added that under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, the government is providing accident insurance of Rs 2 lakh at a mere Rs 1 per month premium.

"Having always heard about government servants getting pension after retirement, we would have often worried about our own old age. Who would look after us? How would we manage financially? For this we have come up with the Atal Pension Yojana, which will give you a pension of Rs 5,000 per month after you are 60, by saving just Rs 250 per month from a young age," Modi said.

He added that all the schemes and programmes announced in the Budget will be rolled out in the near future.

"I urge you to take full advantage of the same. On the whole, we Indians are a proud, self made people. We live with dignity and self respect and stand on our own feet even in the worst of times.

"If we are given wings, we will fly. I am thus committed to empowering you to do so. And I am confident you can and you will," Modi said.

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