Empowering the Disabled: Government Announces 1% Rebate on Loan Repayments

The Indian Government, particularly the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has introduced an initiative to support Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), commonly referred to as ‘divyangjan’ in India, by offering a 1% interest rate rebate on loans. This rebate is available through the National Divyangjan Finance and Development Corporation (NDFDC) and is aimed at those who repay their loans on time, under specific terms and conditions. The initiative is designed to promote financial inclusion, reduce the financial burden on divyang individuals, and encourage responsible repayment practices​​.

Key Aspects of the Scheme

  1. NHFDC’s Role: The National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC), a government-owned organization under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is pivotal in this initiative. It functions as an apex institution for channeling funds to physically challenged individuals through State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Governments​​.
  2. Schemes Offered: NHFDC offers several schemes for PwDs, including the Divyangjan Swabhalaman Yojana, Vishesh Micro Finance Yojana (VMFY), and Educational Loans for Physically Handicapped. The Divyangjan Swabhalaman Yojana is the flagship scheme, providing concessional loans for various activities aimed at economic empowerment and overall upliftment of PwDs​​.
  3. Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for these loans, an applicant must be an Indian citizen with 40% or more disability (as defined in the PwD Act, 2016 or its amendments) and above 18 years of age (14 years in the case of persons with mental retardation)​​.
  4. Interest Rates: Interest rates vary depending on the loan amount, ranging from 5% per annum for loans less than ₹50,000 to 9% for loans between ₹30 lakhs and ₹50 lakhs. A 1% interest rebate is available for women with disabilities or persons with disabilities other than orthopedically handicapped for self-employment loans up to ₹50,000​​.
  5. Loan Tenure and Collateral: The maximum loan tenure offered is 10 years, and prepayment is allowed without penalty. Collateral or security might be required for loan availing, and the assets and beneficiaries of the scheme are insured through various government schemes​​.
  6. Vishesh Micro Finance Yojana (VMFY): This scheme aims to provide financial assistance to the unbanked population of the target group, promoting sustainable and inclusive livelihoods. The maximum finance allowed under this scheme is ₹60,000, with NHFDC covering up to 90% of the project cost​​.
  7. Educational Loans for Physically Handicapped: These loans are available for higher education in India or abroad, with a loan quantum of up to ₹10 lakh for studies in India and ₹20 lakh for studies abroad. The interest rate is 4% per annum, with a 0.5% rebate for female students​​.
  8. Application Process: Loans can be availed through State Channelising Agencies, nationalized banks/regional rural banks, and NGOs. The State Channelising Agencies sanction projects up to ₹10 lakh, while NHFDC sanctions projects above this amount​​.
  9. Required Documents: Applicants need to submit a loan application form, identity proof, Unique Disability ID or Disability Certificate, Aadhar Card, and proof of educational qualifications​​.

This rebate initiative is a significant step towards empowering divyang individuals, ensuring their access to affordable financial assistance and encouraging their participation in economic activities.



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