Credit and finance for MSMEs: Women entrepreneurs have emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s Stand-Up India scheme with 80.2 per cent of bank loans sanctioned till early December belonging to women-led business units since its launch in April 2016. According to the data shared by the minister of state in the finance ministry Bhagwat Karad in the Rajya Sabha recently, 1,59,961 loans were sanctioned to entrepreneurs as of December 2, 2022, of which 1,28,361 loans were sanctioned to women entrepreneurs while 23,797 loans were sanctioned to scheduled caste entrepreneurs and 7,803 to scheduled tribe entrepreneurs.
The scheme was launched to promote entrepreneurship among the SC, ST and women by facilitating bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore to at least one SC/ ST borrower and one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up greenfield enterprise in manufacturing, services, trading sector and activities allied to agriculture.
Also read: Stand Up India: Over 23,000 loans sanctioned under govt’s pet scheme for women, SC/ST entrepreneurs in FY22
As of March 2022, Rs 30,160 crore were sanctioned under the scheme to 1,33,995 beneficiaries since the inception of the Scheme, of which Rs 24,809 crore was sanctioned to 1,08,250 women entrepreneurs, Rs 3,976 crore to 19,310 SC beneficiaries, and Rs 1,373 crore to 6,435 ST entrepreneurs.
To boost the scheme’s performance, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her FY 2021-22 budget speech had announced reducing the extent of margin money to be brought by the borrower from up to 25 per cent to up to 15 per cent of the project cost. It also brought credit to enterprises in ‘Activities allied to agriculture’ such as pisciculture, beekeeping, poultry, livestock, rearing, grading, sorting, aggregation agro industries, dairy, fishery, and more under the scheme’s coverage.
Also read: Stand Up India: 1.33 lakh new entrepreneurs supported with Rs 30k crore loans, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
Apart from credit support, SIDBI’s Standup Mitra portal, which was developed for the scheme, supports entrepreneurs through a network of hand-holding agencies in connecting them to various agencies with specific expertise such as skilling centres, mentorship support, entrepreneurship development programme centres, and district industries centre.
The estimated credit demand by women-owned very small businesses (WVSEs) in the country is worth Rs 83,600 crore, said a report by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Intellecap – the advisory arm of impact investment firm Aavishkaar Group earlier this year. According to the report, about 15 million women-owned MSMEs in India that face challenges such as inadequate access to capital, technology and information, and infrastructure gaps.
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