Women Entrepreneurship in India
The Indian Government has adapted the principle of Women’s equality in all spheres of life. Since Independence several steps has been taken by the government for the progress of women through successive Five Year Plans.
The draft of Sixth Five Year Plan for the first time, incorporated a new chapter entitled ‘Women and Development’ with a special stress on the issue of the development of women entrepreneurship.
In order to promote women entrepreneurship, multifaceted efforts have been made in India, which are enumerated below:
1. Direct and Indirect Financial Support
To overcome financial bottlenecks in the way of running enterprises, the National Banks, State Finance Corporation, State Industrial Development Corporation and District Industries Centers provide loans, subsidies and grants to women entrepreneurs. In addition, Equity Fund Schemes provide interest free loans to new units and repayment is allowed for 10-12 years. Further, Differential Interest rate Scheme, Mahila Ayog Nidhi Scheme by Industrial Development Bank of India(IDBI) has been introduced for setting up of new industrial projects by women entrepreneurs. Besides, the direct financial support, Indirect financial assistance is also available from Small Industries Development Bank of India(SIDBI),National Small Industries Corporation(NSIC),Industrial Finance Corporation of India(IFCI), State Small Industrial Development Corporations(SSIDCs),National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development(NABARD), etc. which provide refinance small scale industries and rendering assistance to women entrepreneurs.
2. Yojna, Schemes and Program
During the successive Five Year Plans, different schemes, yojna and programmes have been launched to safeguard the interest and functioning of women entrepreneurs. Under Nehru Rojgar Yojna, 75 per cent of the funds are provided by the banks and 25 percent by the Women’s Finance Commission (WFC) out of which 20 percent is provided as a subsidy to women. Similarly, The Prime Minister’s Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme, WFC provides financial assistance to the women entrepreneurs for setting up units with less than 10 lakhs capital.
3. Technological Trainings and Awards
For stemming and improving entrepreneurship programmes, training and awards have been started. Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad conducts result oriented entrepreneurship development programmes for industrially backward and rural areas especially for women entrepreneurs. Again ‘Stree Shakti’Package for women entrepreneurs started by State Bank of India(SBI),which provide concessions and special training facilities. Award for women entrepreneurship is given by Indian Institute of Marketing Management, and Women’s University of Mumbai.
4. Federations and Associations
There are Federations and associations for women, which are making continuous and valuable efforts in the field of entrepreneurship. Large number of women entrepreneur are operating at national and international levels to provide meeting grounds of women entrepreneurs. At national level, some are as follows:
- National Alliance of you of Entrepreneurs (NAYE)
- Indian Council of Women Entrepreneurs (ICWE)
- Self employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
- Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWEK)
At International level, there are two associations:
- Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) with 30 million women entrepreneurs as its members
- World Association of Women Entrepreneur (WAWE), which is willing to collaborate with Indian firms for joint venture.
As a result of above mentioned efforts made by the Governments and several other changes and developments like education, technical upliftment, urbanization, economic independence, legislations for empowerment and so on, the women entrepreneurs have gained momentum.