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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- BOI Star Mahila SB Account- This account is for girls within the cohort
of 18 years and above. No daily minimum balance requirement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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
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
Authentication No: AP110884619701-18-0421