The ‘Navajeevan’ project under the National Employment Service (Kerala), which offers financial assistance to senior citizens interested in starting self-employment ventures, was launched at Perambra in Kozhikode district on Saturday. Minister for Excise and Labour T.P. Ramakrishnan inaugurated the State-level scheme.
The benefit of the new scheme will be available for citizens between 50 and 65 years of age who have registered their names with various employment exchanges in the State. A one-time instalment of ₹50, 000 will be given to eligible beneficiaries with 25% subsidy.
Officials with the National Employment Service said the benefit of the scheme would be available only to those renewed their employment registration every year. The applicants’ annual income should be below ₹1 lakh. Giving special consideration to women, up to 25% of the total fund had been reserved for them, they said.
The project coordinators also said the scheme would give priority to widows and differently abled persons. As the fund can be sanctioned under the credit guarantee scheme, no personal security would be required. Of the total fund, 25% would be reserved for the Below Poverty Line segment in the State, they said.
One of the biggest attractions of the scheme, according to officials, is that the beneficiaries can start joint ventures using the amount. All of them will be eligible for the subsidy, which will be credited directly into their bank accounts. Several nationalised and cooperative banks are partners in the scheme.
Apart from financial support, skilled persons in the specific age group will be given job opportunities under various government-supported projects. The Labour Department’s support will be sought to identify such skilled senior citizens and make use of their experience for the successful implementation of various government-funded projects.
Under the scheme, efforts will be taken to prepare a district-wise data bank with the names and contact details of such skilled citizens. They will be offered job opportunities mostly in their respective areas. Experienced farmers will also be able to take advantage of the new openings to find a sustainable income.