Empowering Odisha’s youth: Introducing SWAYAM Yojana for self-employment

Bhubaneswar: In a significant move towards fostering entrepreneurship and self-reliance among the youth of Odisha, the state cabinet has given the green light to launch a pioneering scheme named Swatantra Yuva Udyami (SWAYAM). Geared towards empowering unemployed youths aged between 18 to 35 years across both rural and urban areas of the state, SWAYAM aims to provide a robust platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to kickstart or expand their businesses.

Under the SWAYAM Yojana, the Odisha government pledges to offer interest-free bank loans of up to Rs 1 lakh to eligible individuals. This financial assistance serves as a catalyst for budding entrepreneurs to turn their innovative ideas into reality and contribute to the socio-economic development of the state.

Chief Secretary PK Jena emphasized that these bank loans will serve as a stepping stone for unemployed youths to establish their enterprises, thereby fostering a culture of self-reliance and economic prosperity.

However, to ensure the scheme’s effective implementation and targeted outreach, certain eligibility criteria have been laid down. In rural areas, applicants must belong to families covered under the KALIA Yojana or Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), with a family income not exceeding Rs 2 lakh annually. Similarly, in urban areas, applicants must be part of families covered under the BSKY scheme, with an annual income threshold of Rs 3 lakh.

The government’s commitment to inclusive growth is further underscored by its ambitious target of covering at least 1 lakh rural youths under the SWAYAM scheme within two years. To facilitate this, a substantial budget of Rs 448 crore has been earmarked, reflecting the government’s unwavering dedication to youth empowerment and economic upliftment.

Moreover, recognizing the importance of ensuring food security for all citizens, the state cabinet has approved additional measures to support beneficiary households under national and state food security schemes. Each eligible household will receive Rs 1,000 along with two jute bags, with a total allocation of Rs 959.5 crore. This initiative is poised to benefit a staggering 95.90 lakh families, reaffirming the government’s commitment to social welfare and inclusive development.

In tandem with these initiatives, the state government has also given the nod to the Ekamra Kshetra Amenities and Monuments Revival Action Plan (EKAMRA) Scheme, with a budget of Rs 656.73 crore. This visionary scheme, spanning from 2020-21 to 2024-25, is designed to revitalize and preserve the rich heritage of the revered Lord Lingaraj Temple and its surroundings.

By bolstering the linkages between natural and built heritage, EKAMRA aims to showcase Odisha’s cultural legacy to the world while providing a significant boost to tourism and heritage conservation efforts.