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9 Government Schemes For Women Entrepreneurs In India

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Now is the time to say that there was a time of male domination in mainstream society. At first, the women had to do only housework, and the idea of having a business was like a dream. Times have changed, and there are a lot of women who have come out of the clutches of this domination. E.g., Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar, Ekta Kapoor, Neeru Sharma, and so on.

Our current finance minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman is also an example of women empowerment. All these women have turned their dreams into reality. However, to run a business organization, capital is the main requirement.

The Indian government offers a financial boost to women entrepreneurs. Some of those schemes are:

1. Bhartiya Mahila Bank

  • This bank was started to provide finances to underprivileged women to start their own businesses.
  • It was merged with the SBI on March 31st, 2017.
  • It sanctions loans for up to 20 crores for manufacturing enterprises.
  • Under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprise (CGTMSE), you can avail a collateral-free loan of up to 1 crore.
  • The loan sanctioned must be repaid within 7 years.
  • The base rate of interest on loans is 10.25% and an additional 2% which makes the total rate of interest 12.25%.

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2. Annapurna Scheme

  • This scheme has been devised for those women who want to start their own food catering business.
  • Under this scheme, loans are sanctioned up to the amount of Rs 50000.
  • Collateral in the form of assets and a guarantor are needed to avail this scheme.
  • The loan must be repaid within 3 years.
  • After the loan is sanctioned, a grace period of 1 month is given before starting the repayment of the loan.
  • The interest rate varies according to the market rate.
  • It is offered by Bharatiya Mahila Bank and State Bank of Mysore.

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3. Stree Shakti

  • This scheme has been devised to give a boost and help the ongoing business to thrive.
  • If the requested loan amount is more than Rs 2 lakhs, then a concession of 0.5% is provided on the rate of interest.
  • The women who have applied for the loan must have at least 50% ownership and must have taken part in state-run Entrepreneur Development Programmes (EDP) eligible for this scheme.
  • For tiny sector units, no security is required for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs.
  • It is offered by State Bank of Mysore.

4. Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme

  • This scheme has been devised to provide capital to start and keep running businesses.
  • The women applying for this loan must have 51% ownership in the business.
  • It offers a concession of 2% on the rate of interest.
  • It has to be repaid within 7 years.
  • If the loan amount is below Rs 10 Lakhs, then there is no need for collateral.
  • In the case of SSI (Small Scale Industries) up to an amount of Rs 25 lakhs no collateral is needed.
  • It was initiated by Oriental Bank of Commerce.

5. Dena Shakti Scheme

  • It is for those women who want to do a business of manufacturing goods and agricultural work.
  • Loans are sanctioned of up to Rs 20 lakhs for education, housing and retail trading.
  • Under micro-credit, loans of up to Rs 50, 000 are offered.
  • Concession of 0.25% on the rate of interest is granted.

6. Udyogini Scheme

  • The main advantage of this scheme is low interest rates on business loans.
  • Loans of up to 1 lakh are sanctioned if the women are aged between 18 to 25 years and are engaged in agriculture, retail and other small businesses.
  • The yearly income of the applicant’s family should be Rs 45, 000 or less to avail the scheme.
  • There is no ceiling on the income for widowed, destitute or disabled women.
  • For widowed, destitute or disabled women and women belonging to SC/ST category, a subsidy of 30% of the loan, or Rs 10, 000 (whichever is lower) is provided.
  • For women belonging to the general category, a subsidy of 20% of the loan or Rs 7500 (whichever is lower) is provided.
  • Punjab and Sind Bank started promoting this scheme, and many other banks, including Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC) offer this loan today.

7. Cent Kalyani Scheme

  • It is ideal for women who manage SMEs or are involved in agricultural work or retail trading.
  • Loans of up to Rs. 100 lakhs are sanctioned.
  • No collateral or guarantor is required for getting the loan sanctioned.
  • No processing fee is required.
  • It was launched and is offered by Central bank of India.
  • The interest rate varies according to market rates.

8. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme

  • It was launched and offered by the Punjab National Bank. It is also offered by small industries development bank of India.
  • It aims to help women set up new projects.
  • Its targets are small scale sector, and it promotes upgrading and modernization of existing projects.
  • Loans of up to Rs 10 lakhs are sanctioned.
  • It has to be repaid within 10 years, and it also offers a moratorium period of maximum 5 years.
  • Interest rates vary according to market rates.

9. Mudra Yojana Scheme For Women

  • It offers support to women who want to open a day-care centre, beauty salon or a similar small venture. It is also supportive of a group of women who want to open their own business.
  • It is offered by banks under the Pradhan Yojana.
  • Loans are provided with a lower ceiling of 5 lakhs and an upper ceiling of 50 lakhs.
  • No collateral or guarantor is required if the loan amount is less than Rs 10 lakhs.
  • You can apply for loans under the Shishu, Kishor and Tarun plans.

Shishu: It is for businesses in the initial stage. Loans are provided up to an amount of 50000 Rs. with the interest rate of 1% per month with the repayment period being 5 years.

Kishor: It is for well-established businesses. The loan amount ranges from Rs 50000 – Rs 5 lakhs. Interest depends on bank, scheme guidelines and applicant’s credit history. Repayment also depends on the bank’s discretion.

Tarun: It is for expanding a business. A loan is granted up to the amount of Rs 50 lakhs. Here also, Interest depends on bank, scheme guidelines and applicant’s credit history. Repayment also depends on the bank’s discretion.

TREAD (Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development)

This scheme aims to economic empowerment of women by providing credit (through NGOs), training, development and counselling extension activities related to trades, products, services, etc.

Government grants up to 30% of the total project as appraised by lending institutions which would finance the remaining 70% as loan assistance to applicant women.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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