Easy availability of credit and a marketing platform for products are some of the measures that government should take to promote women entrepreneurs in the MSME sector, says a report by think-tank CUTS International.
While India has experienced unprecedented economic growth over the past two decades, women’s participation in the economy has seen a steady decline over the years, the report said, adding that at 27 per cent, India has one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in South Asia.
“Several issues hinder participation of women to operate a business and become a successful entrepreneur. Issues such as availability of easy and affordable credit is one of the important aspects, which needs government’s attention.
“There is a high level of involvement of middlemen and contractors that needs to be curtailed and regulated,” Chenai Mukumba, Assistant Policy Analyst with CUTS International said.
N K Maini, DMD, SIDBI said that there was a 73 per cent credit deficit for women entrepreneurs in India and SIDBI has undertaken a number of initiatives to address that gap.
“One of the challenges is that they are not able to register their businesses because of the cumbersome and costly process involved,” she added.
Research Associate Arundhati Kulshreshtha said that although the government has implemented several schemes for women entrepreneurs they are ineffective, as they are not reaching the intended beneficiaries.
“There is need to clearly define and incorporate what a woman’s enterprise is in the MSME Act. It will bring it into focus, help in proper data collection and cogent policy making. It will also clarify the scope of beneficiaries who can avail the benefits of the government schemes,” Arundhati said.
She said that after completion of the stakeholders consultation on the draft report, they will prepare the final report by March and share it with the government.
Further she said that the MSME ministry is taking keen interest in the report and would try to consider all the suggestions made by the report.
“In order to improve the effectiveness of programmes such as training courses, the government needs to take into account various gender-specific factors,” she added.
The MSME sector contributes about 40 per cent in the country’s manufacturing and 45 per cent in the country’s total exports.