Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Amid the growing chorus in the country to boost women entrepreneurship, the number of women beneficiaries across major government schemes has jumped significantly from the pre-Covid period. According to the data shared by Minister of State for MSMEs Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma in Lok Sabha on Thursday, under the employment generation scheme Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), the total women beneficiary count in FY22 stood at 39,154, up 43 per cent from 27,285 in FY21 and 58 per cent from 24,720 in FY20.
Likewise, under the Public Procurement Policy, which mandates a minimum 3 per cent annual procurement by government departments and public enterprises from women-led units, the women beneficiary count jumped a whopping 180 per cent from 3,666 in FY20 to 10,287 in FY22 and 105 per cent from 5,013 beneficiaries in FY21. Moreover, the Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programme (ESDP) also recorded an increase in women entrepreneurs supported to 24,734 in FY22 from 13,640 in FY21.
In contrast, Mahila Coir Yojana, which aims at supporting women by helping provide spinning equipment at subsidised rates after appropriate skill development training, recorded a dip in beneficiary count from 3,591 in FY21 to 2,331 in FY22 even though it was up from 2,075 in FY20.
“The ministry also implements several other schemes for promotion and development of MSMEs, including women-owned MSMEs, namely, Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP), Tool Rooms & Technology Centres, Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), Procurement and Marketing Support Scheme, Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme (ESDP) etc.,” Verma said in his written response in the Parliament.
Even as women-led units are leveraging government schemes for growth, there is still no dedicated scheme by the central government for existing women MSMEs at the growth stage looking for collateral-free credit to expand their business. Currently, Stand-Up India is the only central scheme for women entrepreneurs apart from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe entrepreneurs looking for setting up a greenfield enterprise or first-time venture.
According to a report by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Intellecap – the advisory arm of impact investment firm Aavishkaar Group in March this year, the estimated credit demand by women-owned very small businesses (WVSEs) in India was worth Rs 83,600 crore. The report noted about 15 million women-owned MSMEs facing challenges such as inadequate access to capital, technology and information, and infrastructure gaps.