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Contribution of Banking in Women Empowerment

For sustainable development, gender equality is crucial. Gender equality does not imply that men and ladies are equal but ensuring equal access to opportunities, resources and rewards for all, irrespective of their gender. Gender equality focuses more on women empowerment because of women's social and historical disadvantageous position since times immemorial. As women constitute 1/2 our population, progress of society and economy is closely associated with women development.

Indian women have a share of their struggles from moving from being obsessed on their male counterparts to being independent, socially and financially. Their development is vital for the event of the economy and also the country. This development needs to spread in every nook and corner of the country. Banking sector by introducing women oriented schemes are contributing towards the event and thus playing an enormous role in women empowerment. This paper intends to debate the initiatives taken by banks for financial inclusion and empowerment of girls in India.

Women Financial Empowerment

Women of India are progressing towards achieving financial independence because of the initiatives taken by Govt. through various financial programs. Banks as a part of these programs, facilitate women by providing personalised banking services which are designed specially consistent with their needs and preferences. Jan Dhan Yojana is an initiative towards financial inclusion which also paves way for ladies financial empowerment.

Few of the bank's initiatives are listed below:
  1. Bank of India (RBI) asked all commercial and Co-operative banks to produce loans to women self-help groups (SHGs) in rural areas at 7 percent once a year under Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in 250 districts in 2016-17.
     
  2. Special home equity loan Schemes for Women- Banks offer concessional home equity credit charge per unit to women as compared to men by 0.05%. SBI has its „Her Ghar', HDFC has its „Women Power' schemes and ICICI also offers concessional home equity loan interest rates.
     
  3. Cent Kalyani scheme- financial organization of India offer this scheme to both prevailing and new entrepreneurs and self-employed women for micro/small enterprises like agriculture, handicrafts, food processing, garment making, beauty, canteen, mobile restaurants, day creches, STD/Xerox booths, tailoring etc. Under this scheme, loans up to ?1 crore are approved for ladies entrepreneurs with a margin rate of 20 per cent. No collateral security or guarantors is required for availing this loan. Market rate of interest is applied. This loan is provided for a maximum of seven years.
     
  4. Oriented Mahila Vikas Yojana- to fulfill credit needs of ladies entrepreneurs, need based loan is provided. No collateral security is required upto Rs.10 lakhs and just in case of SSI, no collateral security is required up to Rs.25 lakhs of loan, only hypothecation of assets created out of banks finance be taken as security.
     
  5. SBI Stree Shakti Scheme- for ladies entrepreneurs in Retail trade, Business enterprises, Professionals and self-employed, small scale units or tiny units where the ladies entrepreneur's stake is over 51%, Term Loan & assets facility is on the market with concessionary margins and interest rates.
     
  6. BOI Star Mahila SB Account- This account is for girls within the cohort of 18 years and above. No daily minimum balance requirement.
     
  7. Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme- Punjab commercial bank and little Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) offer this scheme to help women entrepreneurs to line up a replacement small-scale venture. Loan may be provided for a maximum of ?10 lakh to be repaid in 10 years. The interest depends upon the market rates.SIDBI offers various plans for beauty parlours, day care centres, purchase of auto rickshaws, two wheelers, cars, etc. as per the necessity of girls bank customers. It also helps in upgrading and modernisation of existing projects.
     
  8. Annapurna scheme - to form women self-sufficient within the business of food, the govt. of India offers loans upto ?50,000. The bank of Mysore currently offers this scheme.The loaned amount may be used for assets requirements like buying utensils, cutlery, gas connection, refrigerator, mixer cum grinder, hot case, utensil stand, tiffin boxes, working table, filter etc. for this scheme, a guarantor is required and therefore the assets of the business need to be mortgaged as collateral security. The charge per unit is decided by the economic process.
     
  9. Allahabad Bank- All Bank Mahila Sanchay SB Account- This account is exclusively for ladies and might be opened & maintained at Rs.0/- balance. Demand Drafts/Banker's Cheques etc. for educational purposes of the wards of the account holders up to Rs.1,000/- are provided freed from charges.
     
  10. DHFL-Swayamsidha: it's a set Deposit scheme specially designed for ladies, supplied with the next rate of interest up to 7.85% for a period of 18 months. an extra rate of 0.25% are often availed by privileged* women customers under this scheme.
     
  11. Dena Shakti Scheme- It provides loans up to ?20 lakh for girls entrepreneurs to support them in doing agriculture, manufacturing, micro-credit, retail stores, or small enterprises. Loans up to ?50,000 are offered under the microcredit categoryIt also provides a concession of 0.25 percent on rate of interest.
     
  12. Synd Mahila Shakti'- An initiative of syndicate bank within which bank is extending finance up to Rs 5 Crore per woman beneficiaries at concessional interest rates.Rate of interest for loans up to Rs 10 lakh is at the bottom rate of 10.25 per cent, while for loans exceeding Rs 10 lakh, a concession of 0.25 per cent is being provided on applicable rate of interest.
     
  13. PNB Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme- under this scheme, the ladies entrepreneurs are given loan for putting in of recent projects in the tiny /small scale sector and rehabilitation of viable sick SSI units. Loan is additionally provided for upgradation and modernization of existing plants.
     
  14. Bank of Baroda's Akshaya Mahila Arthik Sahay Yojna- This scheme provides financial assistance to women in setting up/engaged in retail trade, village or cottage/small scale industries and allied agricultural activities within which rate of interest is fixed on the credit scoring system at reasonable terms. Other than these, there are a variety of banking schemes operating in India to empower women. Women financial empowerment doesn't remain a definite dream, because of enormous efforts made by the banking sector of India. But still we've got to steer an extended path before we reach the destination of gender equality.

Suggestions
A Goldman Sachs Global Investing Research Report found that in India, loan rejection rates for women owned small and medium scale enterprises were almost double than those owned by men which is much higher than other countries. To include women into the ambit of financial services there is need to provide specially designed products and services for women customers. To make them more aware, there is a need to spread financial literacy among them. For this purpose, seminars and conferences for women to train them in finances can be organized which can help them to acquire knowledge of financial instruments and institutions.

Conclusion
Efficiency and accessibility of credit delivery mechanisms of formal financial institutions can do wonders for women financial empowerment. Financial literacy can also help women to handle their finances better.It can direct them towards progress and development by channelizing their energies and efforts into productive purposes, thus creating gender equality and accelerating the speed of development of the Indian economy.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Yash Vikram Singh
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: AP110884619701-18-0421

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