Through education, employment, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship, the empowerment of women has been found to bring about a fundamental transformation in society with positive impacts across rural, urban, and metropolitan settings. In a bid to leverage and channelize this transformative power, the central and state governments have launched several schemes for women’s empowerment, one of these being the Udyogini Scheme, which aims to support women entrepreneurs in the rural and under-developed parts of the country.
Under the Udyogini Scheme for women – underprivileged and deprived sections of society can avail financial assistance under easy terms to set up businesses across various designated small-scale industries. The Scheme extends support and guidance to women to help them secure financial independence for themselves and their families.
The Scheme provides loans to the eligible women in a subsidized manner that is helpful in boosting the financial capital of either their independent small business or as supportive capital funds in an effort to offer a helping hand to grassroot stakeholders.
The Approach of Udyogini Scheme:
The Scheme aims to help rural women set up businesses in areas with substantial potential. These may be related to making products or offering services with supporting finance and services provided under the Scheme.
Business areas are identified through the value chain analysis of selected enterprises.
Female Indian entrepreneurs are given the necessary training to manage and scale up their businesses.
The Scheme takes a transformative approach to economic empowerment with the provision of comprehensive training.
Visible benefits have been seen in several areas, such as direct impact seen for 50,000 women and their families through value chains like lac, vegetables, and herbs.
Udyogini Scheme Highlights
The Scheme was launched by Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC) along with several banks to extend interest-free loans to women from underprivileged sections of society. Saraswat Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, a number of Cooperative Banks, and a few private sector banks and institutions are prominent partners in the Scheme. Under the scheme women entrepreneurs need to meet the following criteria.
- Family Income – Up to Rs1.5 lakh (Not applicable to widowed or disabled women)
- Age – Minimum 18 years, Max 55 years
Features of the Loan
- The interest rate for general applicants – Competitive
- The interest rate for special category – Free or highly subsidized (around 30%). The Scheme has gained popularity by sanctioning interest-free loans for women.
- Collateral – Nil
- Processing Fee – Nil
- The applicants can avail a loan as high as Rs.45 Lakhs provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
- The Scheme inculcates 88 MSMEs.
- Udyogini also incorporates a training program for women entrepreneurs as a means to cultivate their skills.
Service- Key to success
The Udyogini Scheme offers a complete suite of services to help the targeted beneficiaries to establish and grow their businesses, providing handholding and guidance at every stage of the process. The Scheme offers the following services to help female Indian entrepreneurs achieve desired success in their venture.
|Skill & Entrepreneurship Training||Imparts knowledge and develops attitude, aptitude and skills for the business area|
|Business Counseling||Services to identify, promote, monitor and upscale|
|Market Linkages||Provides market linkage support to understand the 4Ps(Product, Place, Price, Promotion) of the market|
|Institution Building||Supports grassroots stakeholders to build community institutions|
|Financial Linkages||Supports enterprises with linkages to social investment firms, Cash Credit Linkage, Kisan Credit Card etc|
|Functional Literacy||Improve skills of adult women in reading, writing, basic calculations, keeping records etc|
Coverage under Udyogini Scheme
The Scheme has identified 88 functional areas for women to set up small businesses in, with the help of low interest and interest-free loans. These include agarbatti manufacturing, banana leaf manufacturing, beauty parlors, creches, newspaper vending, stalls for fish, mutton, dairy trade, cloth trade, ice cream parlor etc.
The following documents are required to avail the benefits of the Scheme.
- Filled in application form furnishing required details.
- Passport-sized photographs
- Aadhaar Card
- Birth Certificate
- BPL (Below Poverty Line) Card
- Caste Certificate
- Copy of Bank passbook
- Income Certificate
- Ration Card
Udyogini activities currently span five states, namely Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. Udyogini offers internship programs to provide students and working professionals from varied areas with practical experience and knowledge of developmental issues. The program provides interns.
- A platform to develop an understanding of the challenges of women’s development
- Provides an opportunity to learn advocacy, research, skills for networking, and other areas of development work
- Develop volunteers for women rights and empowerment
Udyogini has worked closely with rural women in Jharkhand since 2008 to enable them to earn sustainable incomes through the scientific cultivation of lac. The initiative, which started off in 2008 with around 1,000 women producers, has now brought about positive change to the lives of over 30,000 women across Jharkhand, M.P. and Chhattisgarh. The production of lac has increased 40-60% and now brings in an average annual income of Rs. 40,000- 60,000 per household. The income has had the following positive impacts on the lives of the beneficiaries.
- Women mainly spent their income on children’s education
- 80% of women felt empowered and increased their self-esteem
- Decrease in domestic violence due to Udyogini’s involvement
The Udyogini Scheme has benefited
- 7047 Women entrepreneurs
- Supported over 5000 children
- Covered around 1700 villages
- Engaged more than 53000 producers
Q: What is the Vision of the Udyogini Scheme?
A: The Udyogini Scheme aims to foster gender equality through the improvement of the socio-economic status of women to allow their full participation in decision making in domestic and public spheres.
Q: What is the Mission of the Udyogini Scheme?
A: The Scheme aims to provide customized services for business development for enhancement of income, better health, and education services for their children with special emphasis on the girl child.
Q: Which financial institutions are associated with the Udyogini Scheme?
A: The financial institutions associated with the Scheme are Punjab & Sind Bank, Saraswat Bank, Regional Rural Banks, Cooperative Banks.
Q: What training is imparted under the Scheme?
A: The training imparts knowledge and skills across several functional areas essential for business, including attitude and aptitude training, functional literacy, business skills, market and financial linkages etc.
Q: How has the Scheme helped women in rural areas?
A: The Scheme has provided a bouquet of benefits to women in rural areas, the most notable among these a drastic reduction in domestic violence around 50%, enhanced spending on children’s education, confidence in communication with others, and improved self-image.
Q: What is meant by functional literacy under the Scheme?
A: Basic or functional literacy is important when it comes to training women to engage in entrepreneurship and business activities. Udyogini provides training to help adult women improve their skills in reading, writing, maintaining records and doing functional calculations.
Q: How is the Udyogini Scheme positioned in the agriculture sector?
A: Udyogini introduced the Agri value chain concept in Jharkhand involving 3000 women producers of cereals, vegetables, and pulses across three districts. The value chain strategy encompasses increased availability of food through enhanced production, capacity building of producers, strengthening sustainable management of crop value chain and market-oriented collective action.
The Udyogini Scheme has helped thousands of women establish businesses to enhance their incomes and provide better education for their children and, in the process, help in the upliftment of families from underprivileged sections of Indian society.
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