NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a programme to approve loan requests of up to 10 million rupees ($138,000) for small- and medium-sized businesses within 59 minutes, as he tries to woo a large voting block ahead of a series of elections.
It wasn't immediately clear which lenders have been earmarked for the fast-track loans.
"As we speak, somewhere in the country your entrepreneurial brother or sister is getting a loan ... sanctioned in just 59 minutes," Modi said. "Think, only 59 minutes. Just 59 minutes."
The announcement is a counter to overtures to small businesses already made by the opposition Congress party. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in August he would seek to shift the focus of the country's economic policy towards supporting small and medium-sized firms if the opposition won power in next year's election.