NEW DELHI– Targeting some 250,000 women and scheduled castes and tribes people, the government on Wednesday approved the “Stand Up India” scheme to foster entrepreneurship among them with a corpus of Rs.10,000 crore, and extend loans of up to Rs.1 crore for new projects.

The scheme, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day 2015 address, was given the go ahead by a meeting of the union cabinet chaired by him here, with a mandate to the department of financial services to anchor it.

“The scheme is intended to facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch — on an average one for each category of entrepreneur. It is expected to benefit atleast 2.5 lakh borrowers,” an official statement said.

The expected date of reaching the target of at least 2.5 lakh approvals is 36 months from the launch of the scheme, it added.

As per the scheme, a refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will be created with an initial amount of Rs. 10,000 crore, along with credit guarantee norms via the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company.

Borrowers will be provided handholding support both at the pre-loan stage and during operations. This would include increasing their familiarity with factoring services, registration with the online platforms and e-market places, along with sessions on best practices and problem-solving, the finance ministry said.