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Government Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs in India

Government schemes in India empower women entrepreneurs by providing financial assistance and collateral-free loans, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic business landscape.

  • 1,903 Views | Updated on: Mar 21, 2024

India has witnessed a significant surge in the number of women entrepreneurs, marking a paradigm shift towards gender inclusivity in the business field. Recognizing the potential of women as catalysts for economic growth, the Indian government has introduced various schemes to empower and support women entrepreneurs across the country.

Government-sponsored initiatives aim to break down barriers, provide financial assistance, and foster an environment conducive to women’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

Govt Schemes for Women in India

Time and again, the Indian government has taken significant steps to increase awareness amongst women regarding advantageous government schemes for women.

Beneficial Monetary Schemes For Women Entrepreneurs

The government has also launched several government schemes for women schemes in India. For example, the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) business loan scheme is for women who wish to start their businesses. The scheme provides loans up to ₹20 crores for women-owned manufacturing companies at an interest rate of 10.15%. It also offers collateral-free loans up to ₹1 crore for micro and small enterprises.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana provides funding to the unfunded, catering to the financial needs of micro and small entrepreneurs who lack access to traditional banking systems. The scheme recognizes the potential of small enterprises as vital contributors to economic growth and job creation.

TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) scheme

The Government of India introduced the Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development Assistance Scheme (TREAD) with the primary goal of fostering women entrepreneurs.

The scheme’s core objective is to empower economically disadvantaged women by enhancing their technical skills and entrepreneurial capacities through comprehensive support services. Among the challenges faced by these women, obtaining credit stands out prominently.

Recognizing the difficulty that impoverished women encounter in accessing credit, the scheme addresses this issue by making credit available through responsible NGOs. These non-profit organizations play a crucial role in managing the funds and ensuring that the recipients not only receive financial support but also benefit from training and counseling.

Mahila Shakti Kendra

This government-sponsored program was launched in 2017 to financially empower women by providing skill development support, digital literacy, employment, and more. Each Shakti Kendra (at national, state, district, and block levels) offers an interface for rural women to avail themselves of benefits via training and capacity building.

Mahila-E-Haat For Women Entrepreneurs

The Ministry of Women and Child Development governs this program. Started in 2016, Mahila-E-Haat is a bilingual marketing platform that uses technology to enable budding women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, NGOs, and others to promote their products and services.

Stree Shakti

Stree Shakti provides a personal loan to help women expand their businesses. Women must own 50% of the business to qualify for this loan and are eligible for loans up to ₹50 lakhs under this program. It makes it simple for women to run a firm, boosting income flow.

Mudra Yojana

The Mudra loan program, a governmental effort within India, strives to foster entrepreneurship and extend financial aid to micro and small enterprises. It places particular emphasis on empowering and advancing women entrepreneurs, contributing to the enhancement of women’s entrepreneurial endeavors within the nation. Mudra loans designed for women are accessible with simplified criteria, and loans up to ₹10 lakhs do not necessitate collateral. Furthermore, the program extends preferential interest rates to female entrepreneurs, rendering it an appealing choice for individuals aspiring to initiate or broaden their business ventures.

Economic Empowerment of Women Enterprises and Start-Ups by Women

This initiative, established under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, offers an incubation and acceleration program designed for women micro-entrepreneurs, facilitating the launch of new ventures and the expansion of current ones. Currently, the program is actively running in the states of Assam, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

Stand-Up India Scheme

The Stand-Up India Scheme represents a governmental initiative that aims to foster entrepreneurship within women and marginalized groups. Its focus lies in facilitating financial support through bank loans, ensuring the provision of loans to both a scheduled caste (SC) or scheduled tribe (ST) borrower and a female borrower for the initiation of new ventures. In situations involving non-individual enterprises, it mandates that either an SC/ST entrepreneur or a female entrepreneur must hold a minimum ownership and controlling stake of 51%. This program enables female entrepreneurs to access loans from ₹10 lakhs to ₹1 crore, empowering them to commence or enhance their small-scale enterprises.

Women’s Savings Bank Accounts

Apart from offering the regular savings bank account feature, banks allow women to secure their funds in specially-designed savings accounts that categorically fulfill the financial and investment needs of Indian women today and host competitive features as per modern lifestyle expectations.

Banks further offer significant discounts, cashback rewards, gifts, etc., for women who use their savings bank account credit or debit card to shop. The offer also applies to spending on food, wellness, entertainment, etc.

Lesser Interest on Loans Taken by Women

Many leading banks provide home loans to women at lower interest rates. In some cases of joint home loans, the banks also offer discounted loan rates if the woman is the first applicant for the specific loan.

Typically, the difference in the rate of interest is nearly 0.05%. In addition, women also get discounted car loans from banks as compared to their male counterparts. The net interest savings across the loan period allow women to save more, provided the interest rate remains unchanged throughout the loan tenure.

This is even more beneficial when families take a large loan via a female applicant. Apart from low interest rates, some banks also waive any loan processing charges for women.

If the property is in the name of a woman, some states in India offer financial benefits to women in the form of a lower stamp and transfer duty in case of sale deeds, conveyance deeds, and gift deeds. A few states also completely exempt the stamp and transfer duty on real estate transactions for women.

For instance, in Delhi, the stamp duty charge for a sale deed where a woman is a property buyer is 4%. Meanwhile, the stamp duty for a man is 6%. Similarly, the fee for women is lower than for men regarding conveyance and gift deeds. Further, some municipal corporations also let go of the property tax if the property is in a woman’s name.

Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE)

The initiative launched by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the Ministry of MSME aims to offer collateral-free financing solutions to micro and small enterprises. This program encompasses both new and existing enterprises. The Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) was established to implement this scheme. Under this scheme, eligible borrowers can access credit facilities of up to ₹200 lakh without the need for collateral security or third-party guarantee, contingent upon the project’s viability. The guarantee coverage varies, with Micro and Small Enterprises owned or operated by women receiving an 85% guarantee cover, while other borrowers are eligible for up to 75% coverage.

Udyam Shakti Portal

The Udyogini scheme aims to foster self-reliance and empower women through economic development, offering support for self-improvement. This initiative assists aspiring female entrepreneurs by providing loans with favorable interest rates, in contrast to the exorbitant rates in the private sector, establishing a reliable lending source. Eligibility is limited to those with a family income below ₹40,000 annually, with a focus on encouraging loans in the trade and service sector, capped at ₹1 Lakh.

Annapurna Scheme

This financial assistance is targeted at women in the food catering industry who are in the early stages of establishing their small-scale enterprises. The loan serves as essential capital for these women entrepreneurs, enabling them to acquire necessary equipment and utensils and set up trucks, among other requirements. Within the framework of this women’s loan program, participants can sell packaged food items and snacks, a common and successful business avenue for women adept at managing household culinary tasks. This enhances their sales potential, providing an opportunity for improved capital and access to new products, surpassing what they could otherwise afford. The loan limit for this scheme is ₹50,000.

Final Thoughts

Women in India are progressing in all spheres. By utilizing government programs and financial perks, it is now about time that women achieved complete financial independence. These programs and efforts support and encourage female entrepreneurs, help women secure their lives, families, and health and eventually help them reach their financial goals.

Due to their tax exemption benefits, most programs also enable women to save more money on taxes. Even though India needs to take more critical measures to empower the country’s women, such initiatives prove there is hope for a better tomorrow for women.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bhartiya Mahila Bank Business Loan scheme provides tailored financial assistance for diverse business activities and flexible repayment options exclusively for women entrepreneurs.
  • The Annapurna Scheme offers financial aid for equipment and utensils to establish and expand successful ventures.
  • Stand-up India fosters empowerment by facilitating bank loans, specifically for women, promoting entrepreneurship in traditionally male-dominated sectors.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana provides collateral-free loans to women entrepreneurs through its Shishu, Kishor, and Tarun categories, encouraging business development.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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