There is no denying the fact that the growing presence of women entrepreneurs has re-defined the demographic characteristics of business and economic growth. In this growth story, the women entrepreneurs, big or small in size, have been playing a noticeable role to trigger appetite for entrepreneurship in others, thus generating more employment avenues.
Let me borrow facts from a report ‘Powering the Economy with Her: Women Entrepreneurship in India’. “Today, India has 13.5 to 15.7 million women-owned enterprises—fewer than 20% of all enterprises. Largely single-person businesses, they provide direct employment to an estimated 22 to 27 million people. Accelerating growth in the number as well as size of women-owned enterprises can generate potentially transformational employment in India, of 150 to 170 million jobs by 2030.”
However, the creation of these massive employment opportunities by the women-owned businesses, as mentioned in the report, requires a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach, across a number of dimensions, including government policy, funding and investments, and formal and informal mentorship.
Another report reveals that we have 432 million women of working age in the country’s largest under-tapped economic resource. Women experience three times more unemployment than men.
Today, during these Covid times women are experiencing increased unemployment. Even those who were already in entrepreneurship faced massive decline in their earnings.
A report says that seventy-three percent of the women entrepreneurs have been negatively impacted by the crisis, with almost 20% witnessing the revenue of their businesses nearly wiped out. Notably, ninety percent of entrepreneurs believe they will be able to survive the crisis, of whom two-thirds believe this requires major changes to their business model and cost structure.
To be precise, what is required at the moment is to strengthen the women entrepreneurship ecosystem through policies and initiatives, and with the creation of enabling networks. There is a need to lend a helping hand to the women having an appetite for running their own enterprise and help those already in business; and who have suffered due to the ongoing pandemic, to re-set their enterprises in line with the pandemic–induced changes. In other words, there is need for sustainable growth of women entrepreneurs to strike a balanced economic growth.
Here it’s worth mentioning that quality financial products and services are essential to woo women folk for entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, the J&K government has launched a customized livelihood generation scheme exclusively for women. Tiled as ‘TAJASWINI’, the scheme aims to empower young women entrepreneurs of Jammu & Kashmir. In absence of jobs, the scheme throws an opportunity for the women to venture into entrepreneurship in accordance with their skill-set and those already in business can take the route of the scheme to expand their businesses.
What is the purpose of ‘Tajaswini’ scheme?
It’s a financial empowerment scheme specifically tailored for J&K women falling in the age group of 18 – 35. The scheme paves way for them to set up a new enterprise or upgrade an existing enterprise in manufacturing/ service/ trading/ small business etc. The scheme also facilitates acquisition of fixed assets (Plant & Machinery, equipment, furniture & fixtures) and meet financial needs for purchase of various products /equipment/tools etc.
For example, any young woman who wants to establish her own beauty parlour or boutique/tailoring unit can take the route of this scheme to seek financial support from the bank.
Notably, activities such as running a restaurant, computerized desk top publishing, crèche, cyber café, day care centre, fitness centre etc. can be financed under the scheme.
The loan will be granted in the form of a term loan. However, working capital (cash credit) facility, which is outside the ambit of the scheme, can also be extended by the bank, if required.
What is the amount of loan sanctioned under the scheme?
The quantum of finance is linked to the project cost. The bank will finance 100 per cent of the project cost, but not more than Rs. 5 lakh.
In case the project cost is more than Rs 5 lakh, the rest of the amount has to be self-financed by the beneficiary.
Who is eligible for availing the benefits under the scheme?
The applicant should be registered with Mission Youth, J&K with a qualification of 10th standard or above. However, educational qualification can be relaxed on a case to case basis.
For setting up new units, the applicant must be unemployed and registered with the concerned District Employment & Counseling Center. Notably, the categories of women entrepreneurs trained in RSETI/ Skill Development Institutions etc. any other training institute will get preference under the scheme.
Those individual women/ women entrepreneur (s) and Business Enterprises where women entrepreneurs hold not less than 50% of financial holding are also eligible under the scheme. However, they should not be defaulter with any Bank / Financial Institution.
It’s noteworthy that one woman can seek the assistance under this scheme only once. And those who have already availed any incentive or subsidy under any government scheme are not eligible for assistance under the scheme.
Do applicants have to furnish third party guarantee?
No. The borrowers are not required to submit any collateral security. The loans under the scheme shall be mandatorily covered under Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme and the guarantee fee shall be borne by the Bank.
However, the loans will primarily be secured by hypothecation of furniture & fixture/equipment/machinery etc. & negative lien on property, in case of owned land/property.
What is the repayment period of the loan?
It’s 78 months. However, the borrower will enjoy a moratorium period of six months. The first installment will begin after the moratorium period of six months is over.
Does the scheme carry any incentive for the borrowers?
Yes. The borrower will get an amount of Rs. 50,000 or 10% of project cost (Whichever is minimum) as special incentive (subsidy) which shall be appropriated/adjusted towards monthly installments of the term loan for the first six months after commencement of EMI. They will also get an interest subsidy. The interest subsidy shall be provided only on production of necessary documents including Audited Financial statement (If annual turnover of the concern exceeds Rs 1 Crore), certificate by DLIC testifying the sustainability of the activity.
What is the procedure of accessing the scheme?
The scheme can be accessed through a set procedure for identification of beneficiaries. Mission Youth, J&K shall invite online applications from interested female youth of J&K for seeking assistance under the scheme. The applications have to be submitted by the applicants digitally through a specific digital module developed for the purpose on JK e-Governance platform.
The applicants have to submit certain documents along with the application form. These documents include Domicile Certificate/ Ration Card/ Aadhaar Card; Date of Birth Certificate issued by the competent authority; Project report of the activity intended to be financed; and an affidavit to the effect that applicant will continue the trade for a period not less than 5 years or till the liquidation of loan amount in full, whichever is later.
Once an applicant is selected for financial assistance under the scheme, she has to furnish an indemnity bond duly attested by a First Class Judicial Magistrate among other things to effect that she is not doing or was not doing any job in Government, Public/Private Sector in Central or any State Government and that she shall not take up any such job without repayment of the loan in full.