National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Hub to be set-up to provide support to SC/ST entrepreneurs Stand Up India Scheme to benefit 2.5 lakh SC/ST and Women entrepreneursThe Union Budget for the Financial Year 2016-17 contains several new measures for the Social Sector. Highlighting these measures in his Budget Speech in the Parliament here today, the Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasitng, Shri Arun Jaitley said that the Government has “decided to embark on a massive mission to provide LPG connection in the name of women members of poor households”. A sum of Rs.2,000 crore has been set aside in this year’s Budget to meet the initial cost of providing these LPG connections, the Finance Minister explained. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said this will benefit about 1.5 Crore households below the poverty line in 2016-17. The scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of 5 crore BPL households. This will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country, the Minister added. This measure will empower women and protect their health. It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking. It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas, he said. The Finance Minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the 75 lakh middle class and lower middle class households who have voluntarily given-up their cooking gas subsidy, in response to the call given by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. In an another important announcement, Shri Arun Jaitley said that it is proposed to constitute a National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Hub in the MSME Ministry in partnership with industry associations. This Hub will provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs to fulfil the obligations under the Central Government Procurement Policy 2012, adopt global best practices and leverage the Stand Up India initiative. The Finance Minster also announced the approval given by the Union Cabinet to the “Stand Up India Scheme” to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women. Rs.500 Crore has been provided for this purpose. The Scheme will facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch, one for each category of entrepreneur. This will benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs, the Minister elaborated. (pg10/para56) Shri Jaitley said the schemes for welfare and skill development for Minorities such as Multi-Sectoral Development Programme and USTAAD shall be implemented effectively.