4th Edition Of Women Transforming India Awards

Why is it in News?

  • On 9th August, 2019, the central government think tank NITI Aayog under its Women Entrepreneurship Platform(WEP) launched the fourth edition of Women Transforming India (WTI) Awards 2019 following the theme ‘Women and Entrepreneurship’.
  • WTI Awards is being organised in collaboration with the United Nations to recognise women entrepreneurs from across India. Facebook-owned chat messaging company WhatsApp has collaborated with NITI Aayog for WTI Awards 2019 and will be providing support amounting to $100K to the winners.

 About Women Transforming India Award

  • It is one of the flagship events of NITI Aayog, launched in 2016 as an online contest.
  • Through a highly objective and rigorous selection process, women entrepreneurs doing motivational work from diverse sectors like Renewable Energy, Education, Sanitation, Art and Culture, Social Innovation and Impact, are recognized and felicitated.
  • Over 5,000 women entrepreneurs are registered on the platform, more than 30 partners and havea committed funding of over US$10mn for these startups.

Purpose:

  • The idea behind is to award and showcase exceptional women entrepreneurs who have struggled through and have challenged stereotypes through enterprises and initiatives that offer innovative solutions to cater to key development challenges and/or impact communities.
  • It recognizes women, who are flag bearers of the next wave of innovations and aims to connect them with potential business opportunities, through NITI Aayog’s WEP.

 Aim:

  • It aims to promote and support aspiring as well as established women entrepreneurs in India, assist and handhold them in their journey from starting to scaling up and expanding their ventures.

Significance:

  • The initiative is one of the government’s continued efforts to support women entrepreneurship and provide better opportunities for them to grow their business with access to infrastructure, capital as well as mentorship.
  • It recognizes women entrepreneurs who are challenging and breaking stereotypes, through businesses and enterprises and are providing innovative developmental solutions to building a dynamic New India as well as the achievement of 

Challenges for Women Entrepreneur:

Gender Inequality

  • In Indian society, the women have to deal with gender inequality at every level and stage of life. India has been a patriarchal society in the past where the role of women was relegated largely to domestic duties.
  • Even today, women have to continuously fight male egos, sexism and misogyny to prove their caliber and competence. They have to fight the notion that women cannot achieve what men can.
  • Despite rapid growth, existence of wide gender disparities hasnot seemed to decrease in the economic sphere. The outcome has been a dire waste of human potential,creating hindrance to the overall development. Though the situation is changing but there is still a long way to go before we achieve gender equality.

Social Stigma

  • Social barriers along with religion and caste also continue to come in the way of women with entrepreneurial ambitions, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. More importance is given to marriage and family life than career and social life in Indian society even today.

Inadequate Female Education and Skilled Training

  • Education is another major issue in women entrepreneurships. Due to a lack of education and that also qualitative education, women are losing awareness of bright business ventures, market knowledge and technologies, eventually things get scrap after some time.
  • Women, especially outside of the metros, did not have access to specialized training to hone their skills and abilities.

Limited Mobility

  • One of the major factors that has an implication on any business are the primary household responsibilities towards her family that a woman is expected to take up;this leads to division of time between the two worlds. Thus, her mobility is restricted.

Lack of Credit

  • Credit support is considered as the lifeblood for any entrepreneur, whether it is a big or small venture. Women generally do not have enough property that they can use them as resource for their ventures. So, the fund always remains a major constrain for them.
  • In addition, the banks and other financial institutions consider women as less creditworthy and discourage them from borrowing on the belief that they can at any time leave their hold on business. Thus, women ventures eventually fail in the beginning due to having a shortage of financial support.

Safety and Security Issues

  • In today’s times, probably this is the biggest obstacle for women in India, making women hesitate to take on roles that demand long hours and interactions with a world of strangers.
  • The rising trend of social crime and the need for safety pushes everything down the priority list, hampering the growth and development of any initiative by women.

Government’s Initiative for Promoting Women Entrepreneurs

 Mudra Yojana for Women

It is for women who want to start a small enterprise such as a beauty parlour, tuition center, tailoring unit, etc. It is also useful for a group of women who want to startup together. It provides refinance support to Banks / MFIs / NBFCs for lending to micro units having loan requirement upto 10 lakh.

 Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development(TREAD) Scheme

It aims to empower women by providing credit to projects, conducting specific training and counselling, and eliciting information on related needs. The scheme provides for a government grant of upto 30 percent of the total project cost as appraised by lending institutions.

 Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme

Offered by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), this scheme provides financial assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh to set up a new small-scale venture. It also assists with upgrading and modernisation of existing projects.

 Annapurna Scheme

This scheme applies to women entrepreneurs who have started a food catering unit. They can avail a loan of up to Rs 50,000 to purchase kitchen equipment such as utensils and water filters. A guarantor is required to secure the loan.

 Stree Shakti Package For Women Entrepreneurs

It is offered to women who have majority ownership (over 50 percent) in a small business. The women also need to be enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) organised by their respective state agency.

 Bhartiya Mahila Business Bank Loan

Under this, Bharatiya Mahila Bank provide a loan of upto Rs 20 crore for women business owners of manufacturing enterprises. Under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises, there is no need for collateral for loans up to Rs 1 crore.

Udyogini Scheme

Women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 45, who are involved in agriculture, retail and similar small businesses, can avail loans up to Rs 1 lakh under this scheme. Further, her family’s annual income should be below Rs 45,000 in order to avail the loan.

 Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)

It intends to provide training in skills development to ensure employment opportunities to women and enable them to become self-employed entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, grants are provided to institutions and organisations (including NGOs) to impart training programme.

Way Forward

  • Women are the backbone of not just their own homes but also the economy of a nation. The effect of globalization and its upcoming riches are being indulged in as competitively as the menfolk in the country. And women entrepreneurs in India are being acknowledged and appreciated not just nationally but globally.
  • Yes, the challenges and hurdles exist, but women seem determined to overcome them. It is no wonder that Indian women entrepreneurs are now boldly going where they have never gone before.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, 9thAugust, 2019