Mumkin: The Journey of Possibilities
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Mumkin: The Journey of Possibilities

Every vehicle sanctioned under the scheme comes with a 20% funding provided by the Government and manufacturer in equal proportion while 80% finance under Mudra.

Jammu and Kashmir has nearly 69% of population below the age of 35 years, which offers an opportunity of demographic dividends and also poses a challenge for policy makers, development administrators, business and industry among other stakeholders. Inclusive youth empowerment entails a thorough analysis of aspirations, opportunities, literacy, skills, market demand, geographic location and access to economic institutions, services and schemes.

Mission Youth, a flagship initiative of Jammu and Kashmir government driven by youth aspirations recently invited the youth to register on a portal indicating their educational qualification, skills, gaps, career choices, suggestive list of institutional support measures and various other parameters. Thousands of youth registered their preferences for support in various sectors from education, skilling, psycho-social counselling, sports to entrepreneurship. The choice base is indicative of the fact that no single policy or scheme can fit all. In view of the digital divide one can imagine the number of youth not able to make a mark on such platforms.

In this backdrop, Mission Youth, a registered Society, headed by the Lieutenant Governor as Chairman of Governing Body and having Chief Secretary and all Administrative Secretaries, J&K Bank Chairman and other experts as members, is constantly working on sector-specific schemes customised to fit the youth demand. The initiative covers education, skill development, sports, psycho-social counselling, entrepreneurship and various other sectors. The first meeting of Governing Body held in June 2021 approved a host of schemes for youth; guidelines and notifications followed. Ideas to have a scheme available for every set of youth. One scheme making a silent revolution under the umbrella of Mission Youth is Mumkin- a customised livelihood programme in transport sector. More than 500 vehicles were sanctioned under the scheme in July 2021, followed by regular roll-out at district level and 1000 vehicles handed over during the visit of Union Home Minister on 24th and 25th October 2021.

The annual target of 2000 Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) has been surpassed, more than double numbers under approval and the scheme is now being diversified to cover more variants. LCVs have a great business potential particularly in rural and sub-urban areas, and offer the youth a diverse set of opportunities. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation report of ending March 2021 suggests an 18.07%, 19.30% and 62.63% Gross Value Added (GVA at current prices) in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sectors respectively. LCVs are an integral component of all the sectors like agriculture, crops, livestock (dairy), mining and quarrying in primary sector, manufacturing, utility services and construction in secondary, and trade repairs, hotels & restaurant, transport, storage, communications services, transportation and storage etc in tertiary sector.

J&K has a projected population of 13.60 Million out of which 62% is rural where opportunities are emerging in various sectors. The government recently unveiled the investment policy and notified land-banks for industrial development in several rural and sub-urban areas where demand in freight sector is bound to increase. The renewed target for Mission Youth is to cover all Panchayats, 4200 odd, under the scheme with focus to augment different sectors of economy and provide gainful employment to youth.

Effective communication holds the key for success of any welfare scheme. It’s often asked that how’s Mumkin scheme different from regular loan. The answer to this lies in the details. The scheme is implemented under a mission mode with District Level Task Force headed by Deputy Commissioners empowered to clear the cases, applications for which are indispensably received online on the e-Service portal. Fast-track processing and transparency is hallmark of the scheme. The banks are a part of the process so aspiring entrepreneurs don’t need to chase the application in various offices.

The financial model of scheme offers multiple benefits. Every vehicle sanctioned under the scheme comes with a 20% funding provided by the Government and manufacturer in equal proportion while 80% finance under Mudra. The 20% upfront subsidy reduces the cost of a ₹ 8.00 Lakh vehicle to 6.40 Lakh, at a lower interest rate as well. The repayment of equal value vehicle under prevailing rate of interest over a 5-year period would be ₹ 10.33 Lakh compared to ₹ 7.20 Lakh under the scheme. The CGTSME Guarantee fee valuing upto 60,000-70,000 is also waived-off by the J&K Bank. Further, one-year maintenance charge is also sponsored. The overall benefit under the scheme is more than ₹ 3.00 Lakh for every LCV and a hassle-free approval process in time-bound manner.

Availability of credit and ease of processing/approvals are two critical factors apart from subsidy support which instil confidence in aspiring entrepreneurs in any sector. Lopsided presence of bank branches further complicates it. Most of 949 branches of 11 Private Sector Banks are located in urban areas, while more than half of the 453 branches of 12 Public Sector Banks are located in urban areas. The Regional Rural Banks having 332 branches with overall CD ratio of 51% also indicate need for improvement in credit availability to youth. J&K is close to national average of 14.75 bank branches per one lakh population but presence in rural areas is much below this. In such a scenario Mumkin and other schemes of Mission Youth bring all the concerned departments and banks at one platform to offer fulfil the credit demand. Sanction of nearly 2000 Light Commercial Vehicles in last few months is reflective of this collaborative efficient strategy.

The freight traffic is expected to double in next few years and passenger traffic already facing a shortage is bound to witness atleast 50% rise in similar time period. The scheme is also being diversified to cover other opportunities like passenger vehicles, food vans, tourist vans, mobile libraries and other customer variants. The scheme started with Ashok Leyland as manufacturing partner and later others like Tata and Mahindra also joined in. Even in wake of toughest situation in wake of Covid-19 necessitated layoff and rising steel / component prices Ashok Leyland moved ahead with committed target and absorbed the prices. The burden of such unforeseen was not passed on to the young aspiring entrepreneurs.

Union Home Minister during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir handed over 500 vehicles to young entrepreneurs in Jammu on 24th October and similar number to youth in Kashmir at SKICC Srinagar the next day. The Mission Youth spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is regularly coming up with customised schemes based on suggestions, feedback and youth. Mumkin is one example of leadership driven outreach aimed at gainful employment where all stakeholders work seamlessly to ensure benefits reach to the targeted youth as per intended policy. The next milestone of Mumkin is surpassing the number of Panchayats and ensure every youth aspiring to make a mark in the freight or transport sector is covered under the scheme. Nearly 4800 applications have been received by Mission Youth and targets are expected to be revised with diversified options. LCVs valuing ₹ 160.00 Cr have been sanctioned so far, which include ₹ 132.00 Cr contribution by Government and the manufacturers and rest of the amount under Mudra.

The J&K Bank is playing a key role in prompt sanction and timely disbursement of sponsored cases which is reflective of a good governance practice aimed at earning confidence of youth and offering them desired opportunities. Other banks are also expected to follow the trend set by J&K Bank in various youth-centric self-employment schemes of Mission Youth.

[ Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, IAS, is Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Youth, J&K]

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