National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) has launched a specialised incubation programme for unemployed girls and women
In India, although women constitute the majority of the total population, the entrepreneurial world is still a male-dominated field, Vayalar Ravi, the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), recently said at a public meeting.
Empowering women entrepreneurs is considered essential for achieving the goals of sustainable and inclusive development. The bottlenecks hindering the growth of women entrepreneurs must be eradicated to entitle them to fuller participation in business, he added.
NSIC’s incubation programme is an integrated support scheme that will provide hands-on training on working projects. It provides necessary facilities for prospective entrepreneurs and start-ups to enable them to learn about product manufacturing processes, technology development and business development.
According to the MSME ministry, the MSME sector contributes about 45 per cent of India’s total manufactured output and nearly 40 per cent of its exports. There are some 26 million MSMEs in the country, providing employment to more than 60 million persons. Of a total of 1,564,000 registered enterprises, 215,000 or 13.7 per cent are those of women entrepreneurs.
Under the scheme, the Central government gives a grant of up to 30 per cent of the total project cost to non-government organisations (NGOs) for promoting entrepreneurship among women. The remaining 70 per cent is financed by the lending agency as a loan for undertaking activities envisaged in the project.
Further, to impart skills and training to women entrepreneurs, a grant of up to Rs 1 lakh per programme is given to training institutions and NGOs, subject to certain conditions.
In the case of hard interventions the contribution from the MSME ministry for clusters owned and managed by women entrepreneurs could be up to 90 per cent of the project cost.
One of the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs is the lack of physical infrastructure. To create physical infrastructure for industrial estates where women’s enterprises constitute more than 50 per cent of the total, a Central government grant of 80 per cent of the project cost – subject to a maximum of Rs 8 crore – is available.
Meanwhile, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and Coir Board has announced that under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), the margin money subsidy provided to women entrepreneurs has been increased to 35 per cent in rural areas and 25 per cent in urban areas, compared to 25 per cent and 15 per cent respectively for other general category beneficiaries.
KVIC disbursed Rs 312.68 crore as margin money subsidy in 2011-12, compared to Rs 277.63 crore in 2010-11 — an increase of about 12 per cent. The number of units assisted increased by 17 per cent to 14,210 in 2011-12, from 12,134 units in 2010-11.
The top five states in this regard were West Bengal (1,981 units), Uttar Pradesh (1,389 units), Tamil Nadu (1,142 units), Assam (1,071 units) and Bihar (991 units).