Ruby Sinha, Founder, sheatwork.com- a one stop knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs
Budget 2019: What does it have for women entrepreneurs
Women had much to look forward to from Budget 2019 presented by India’s first full time woman finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and were not disappointed. The budget has proposed to set up a high-level committee to suggest more ways to empower women. The challenge lies in taking policies out of the paper and executing plans to help bring about change.
The FM announced Rs 100,000 loan for women under the MUDRA Scheme. At least one woman for every Self-Help Group (SHG) will be eligible to avail of the loan under the MUDRA scheme. 70 per cent of the MUDRA or Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency beneficiaries in the past have been women and this would encourage more women to avail of easy loans. The Budget also proposed to expand the Women SHG interest subvention (subsidy offered on interest rates) to all districts. Every woman SHG member having a verified Jan Dhan Account will get an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000. Relief on angel tax also helps women entrepreneurs. Besides the increase in deduction that can be claimed for interest paid on housing loans by Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh is a great step for women looking at properties up to Rs 45 lakh.Further, the mention around a committee for gender analysis as well as the extension of Stand-Up India programme until 2025 was a much-needed move.
While laying out the proposals the FM noted: “India can make progress with greater women’s participation in its economic growth. The role of women is a very sweet story in India’s growth, particularly in the rural economy. The government wishes to encourage and facilitate the role of women in India’s growth story.”
These lofty words and Budget proposals are indeed encouraging. The issue is not just with bringing about the right framework to help women, but also to execute it which has been a challenge for successive governments.