Towards Inclusion

Gauri Chhabra

Recently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned the allocation of funds towards the protection of two significant and vulnerable groups of the population – women and children. He said that funds amounting to Rs 1,84,633 crores will now be allocated to the welfare of women and children. Although the figure might not be too exciting for some people, but it is enough to give a fresh perspective to the way we look at women entrepreneurship. The finance minister said ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ begins with girls and women. He said the government would set up Mahila Shakti Kendras at village level in 14 lakh anganwadi centres with Rs 500 crore. This would mean a welcome increase in access of essential services for women and both business and employment opportunities for them.
First Person
Baljeet Kaur, Managing Director Vmad says,
“Women have broken the barriers of society and have demonstrated great results in entrepreneurship. Being a women entrepreneur, I motivate women to recognize and respect their own potential. Besides, I also feel that an increasing awareness of the various schemes for Women Entrepreneurs has to be created so that more and more women benefit from the schemes available. There are also several schemes of the government at central and state level, which provide assistance for setting up training-cum-income generating activities for needy women to make them economically independent. In Vmad we have a women forum which provides awareness of all the Govt. schemes and their benefits to the women entrepreneurs. We have just initiated project ‘Dream Big…Achieve Big’ to support women with business assistance plan, on how they can grow to the next level of their business and increase the profits. All these services are provided free to them and in the first phase we are serving women who are earning 20-25k per month.”
Some of the schemes are as under:
Stree Shakthi Package
The Stree Shakti loan scheme is promoted by the State Bank of India(SBI) is available for the businesswomen who run small businesses and have fifty percent ownership in the business. The businesswomen who have pursued the Entrepreneurship Development Programs (EDP) which are conducted by the state-level agencies are eligible for this particular loan scheme. Also, women professionals like doctors, beauticians, architects and Chartered Accountants can avail loan under this package. The necessary financial aid will be provided under this scheme with an interest concession of .50 percent in case the loan amount you take is above Rs 2 lakhs. No collateral is required for loans up to 10 lacs extended to MSME enterprises owned by women entrepreneurs. However, collateral is required for any loan above one crore and also may be based on the profile of the borrower. As the package is aimed at woman entrepreneur, concessions in margin is in- built into the scheme along with low floating rate of interest linked to base rate of the bank.
Annapurna Loan Scheme
The Annapurna Scheme, offered by Bhartiya Mahila Bank, is applicable for women entrepreneurs running individual business or partnership firms. The applicant needs to be between 18 and 60 years to avail this loan. The main motive of this scheme is to provide financial aid to female business owners for establishing food catering unit. This is a composite term loan and you can avail from a minimum amount of INR 50000 to 500000. You can repay the loan in 36 monthly installments with a moratorium period of one month. These online business loans for women can also be used as working capital for purchasing utensils, water filters and other kitchen equipment required for food business. You need a guarantor for securing this type of loan. The interest rate for these loans is applicable as per the prevailing rates.
BMB kitchen modernization loan is for working business women and house wives. It can be availed for the renovation of kitchen, purchase of electronic items, furniture to be used in the kitchen. The loan repayment period is seven years. Your age should be between 21 and 60 years.
Dena Shakti Loan Scheme
Dena Shakti Scheme under the Dena Bank has promoted female women-owned businesses by providing various financial services to them. You can avail loans under this scheme at a concession of 0.25% on interest rate. This scheme provides business loans for women engaged in the manufacturing sector as well as agriculture and allied activities. Besides, business owners running small enterprises, micro-credit or retail stores can also avail this loan. Under this loan scheme for woman entrepreneurs, loan can be secured at a concessional interest rate. The concession provided is .25 percent. The woman entrepreneurs working in the agriculture sector, allied and manufacturing sector can secure this loan. The small retail stores can also avail this type of loan.
Cent Kalyani Loan Schemes
Central Bank of India offers loan to generate continuous and sustainable employment opportunities for women entrepreneurs above 18 years. There is no income ceiling for this loan. Under this scheme, a women entrepreneur can get adequate financial assistance for starting a new venture. The loan could be Overdraft, Cash Credit working capital limit, Term Loan, Non Fund Based Limit (for Working Capital as well as Term Loan). It provides loans to new as well as experienced business owners, professionals and self-employed. Besides, these business loans for women can also be availed by retail traders, small-scale industry owners and women entrepreneurs engaged in agricultural and allied activities as well as in village and cottage industries. For working capital, you will have to repay on demand and, for term loan, you get maximum 7 years including moratorium period of 6 months to 1 year to repay your loan.
Udyogini Loan Scheme
This loan scheme is an initiative of the Punjab and Sind Bank that provides financial assistance to woman at concessional rates. This loan scheme is available for the retail traders, self-employed women and the businesswomen wishing to start a new venture for setting up a small industry or for agricultural sector. Women enterprises consisting of all units managed by one or more women entrepreneurs in proprietary concern or in which she/they individually or jointly have a share capital of not less than 51% as partners/share holders /directors of private limited company/members of co-operative society. Loan limit would be assessed on a case to case basis. Up to Rs25,000 there is no margin, above Rs 25,000/- the margin can be between 15 -25 % depending on the amount of loan. No collateral is required up to Rs 25000, hypothecation of assets created out of the bank funds can be taken as security.
Akshaya Mahila Arthik Sahay Yojna
This Akshaya Mahila Arthik Sahay Yojna is run by the Bank of Baroda. The process of application for the loan is very simple. Women wishing to run a small scale business can secure a loan under this scheme at concessional rates.
PNB Mahila Samridhi Yojana
This scheme was launched to provide financial assistance to women who wish to set up boutiques, beauty parlours, cyber cafes, Xerox stores, telephone booths, etc.Besides, there are other schemes by Punjab National Bank like PNB Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme that aims to reduce the gap in equity, helping women set up new ventures in the small scale sector or enhance their current undertakings. Furthermore, there are schemes financing crèches, PNB Mahila Sashaktikaran Abhiyan that provides credit to women who intend to establish small and micro enterprises in the non-farm sector, offering fee waiver and lower interest rate and Kalyani Card Scheme that provide loans for women engaged in agricultural, farm or non-farm activities.
Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP)
The Ministry has been administering ‘Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP) Scheme’ as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’. The STEP Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country. The grant under the Scheme is given to an institution/ organization including NGOs directly and not the States/ UTs.
The assistance under STEP Scheme is available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship, including but not limited to the Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, Computer & IT enable services along with soft skills and skills for the work place such as spoken English, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality.
Summing up
The future for women entrepreneurs looks bright. If the government has to fulfill its promise of creating 100 million jobs by 2022, it will have to aggressively push for empowerment of women at all levels. The announcement that the government will provide one-stop convergence support system for skill development for women in rural areas is a step in the right direction. The progress that we envisage can happen only when women become the fulcrum of all economic activity and create a highway between education and employment.