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Women Entrepreneurs in Bengal’s MSME

13 March, 2021 11:28:59
Women Entrepreneurs in Bengal’s MSME

The Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contributes notably towards industrial production, employment generation, exports and developing the entrepreneurial foundation. It plays a pivotal role for faster, sustainable and overall socio-economical augmentation in Indian economy. With more than 44.7 million enterprises, this sector generates more than 101 million jobs, the second largest sector after agriculture. With its over eight thousands products ranging from traditional to high- tech items, it contributes 40 per cent of total industrial output and 43 per cent of India’s total exports.

Banglashree has encouraged small-time women entrepreneurs particularly in rural areas to fight back through expansion and renovation of their existing industrial units. In the present scenario of industrialization, West Bengal government’s thrust has been on motivating the future generation entrepreneurs. Considering the real need, the Directorate of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, has been adopting more intensive services for elimination of communication gap.

The government of West Bengal realized early the importance of this sector, and after Ms Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister in 2011, her government took a collaborative approach, creating a better and more encouraging business environment for this sector to flourish. The state government introduced financial schemes in 2020 for five years and some schemes even for 10 years. Some of these new industrial incentive schemes for Bengal are unusual and there are no such schemes in other states,

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic when industrialists are upset after suffering huge losses, Banglashree has encouraged small-time women entrepreneurs particularly in rural areas to fight back through expansion and renovation of their existing industrial units. In the present scenario of industrialization, West Bengal government’s thrust has been on motivating the future generation entrepreneurs. Considering the real need, the Directorate of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, has been adopting more intensive services for elimination of communication gap. Through its field offices in the districts and industrial development officers posted at block level, the Directorate has been providing necessary inputs, information to the entrepreneurs for setting up of enterprises and related matter. The incentive scheme is unique as compared to other states in India. Several new schemes, including subsidy even for expansion and renovation of existing plants and machineries, have been introduced by the state government.

The state government’s Karma Sathi Prakalpa has attracted many entrepreneurs to the MSME sector. The scheme provides loans to one lakh youths every year. Each beneficiary can avail of a loan up to Rs 2 lakh under the scheme. Apart from loans, the state government also provides subsidies for taking up new projects. Incentives for energy efficient and cutting-edge technology tied with thrust on skill development accelerates the process, making MSMEs of the state to reach the desired standards of quality and cost.

The government of West Bengal realized early the importance of this sector, and after Ms Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister in 2011, her government took a collaborative approach, creating a better and more encouraging business environment for this sector to flourish. The state government introduced financial schemes in 2020 for five years and some schemes even for 10 years.

According to official sources, for the current financial year, the state capital investment subsidy has been finalized to 60 per cent in Cooch Behar, 40 per cent for both North and South Dinajpur and 20 per cent for Malda, Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad, Kalimpong, Alipurduar and Darjeeling (except Siliguri Municipal Corporation area) for micro enterprises. For women belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and minority communities, 15 per cent subsidy will be given for SMC area. The state government has introduced 100 per cent waiver of electricity duty for women entrepreneurs in this region and 50 per cent for others in Siliguri and 75 per cent in other nine areas. It also plans to set up 100 MSME parks in the next three years to generate jobs in the state and will allocate Rs 200 crore for the project.

The District Industries Centre encourages women entrepreneurs to work independently. They are given technical support for preparation of project report, information on sources of machinery and equipment, expedite power supply / telephone connection, assist in getting plot/ shed in industrial estates, offer training through Entrepreneurship Development Programme, help in procuring financial assistance through bank/ WBFC under Self Employment Schemes, Marketing Assistance through WBSIDC / NSIC Ltd./ CEO, ancillary industry tie-up with government, undertakings, marketing linkage with Central government. / State government organisations/ undertakings, design and production development for handicrafts, awards to handicrafts artisans et al. Exclusive cooperatives formed by women in the micro-level are doing commendable work in the agriculture, poultry, weaving, sericulture and handicraft manufacturing.   

The state government’s Karma Sathi Prakalpa has attracted many entrepreneurs to the MSME sector. The scheme provides loans to one lakh youths every year. Each beneficiary can avail of a loan up to Rs 2 lakh under the scheme. Apart from loans, the state government also provides subsidies for taking up new projects. Incentives for energy efficient and cutting-edge technology tied with thrust on skill development accelerates the process,

The state MSME department in collaboration with the Textile department has been patronizing the wonderful craft heritage of West Bengal, not only to sustain it but to develop it further, keeping pace with new demand pattern, new designs. West Bengal has major advantages of easy availability of raw materials, a comfortable power situation, skilled human resources, stable socio-political environments which are the basic needs in the industrial development. West Bengal has the potential to become the leading state in coming future in terms of MSME productivity within India.

The state government has been continuously encouraging and supporting enhancement of skills for quality creations in the handicraft sector which has reaped benefits for the craftsmen and created a growing number of craft-admirers both in the country and abroad. Bangasree (The West Bengal State Handicrafts Co-operative Society Ltd.) is an apex society under the Directorate of MSME, involved in beneficial and promotional activities for the handicrafts artisans of West Bengal by means of procurement of handicraft items directly from the artisans or from their societies. The items are marketed by the West Bengal State Handicrafts Co-operative Society Ltd (Bangasree) through their showrooms in and outside the state as well as by participation in various fairs. Biswa Bangla has been showcasing, reviving and promoting the hand -made traditional and heritage products of the state. West Bengal Handicrafts Development Corporation popularly known as Manjusha has been promoting and marketing of the handicrafts and handloom products of the artisans of West Bengal through its showrooms. Tantuja is one central marketing organization (apex society) rendering marketing support to primary weavers cooperative societies and handloom artisans working outside cooperatives.

Likewise, Paschim Banga Mahila Samabay Mahasangha Ltd. (PBMSML) is an apex society of woman handicraft artisans under the Directorate of MSME that arranges for marketing and sale of the products through its showrooms and through participation in different fairs. A large number of women who have emerged as independent entrepreneurs in this sector, are encouraged to participate in these fairs. In addition to the district-level handicraft fairs, the State Handicraft Expo is held annually in Kolkata where buyer-seller meets are regularly organised for direct market exposure of the handicraft artisans. Participations are also made at various fairs and craft bazaars at national level and Indian festivals at foreign countries. The number of women entrepreneurs participating in these events have increased remarkably in the last few years.

The state MSME department in collaboration with the Textile department has been patronizing the wonderful craft heritage of West Bengal, not only to sustain it but to develop it further, keeping pace with new demand pattern, new designs. West Bengal has major advantages of easy availability of raw materials, a comfortable power situation, skilled human resources, stable socio-political environments which are the basic needs in the industrial development.

The state government has been very proactive in promoting eco-friendly entrepreneurship development programmes for women and has collaborated with NGO resources to offer training and business development certification programmes to women engaged in eco-friendly businesses. In fact, West Bengal tops the list in employing the most female workers in MSMEs at a staggering 2901324, which is 1616061 more than runner-up Tamil Nadu. Female MSME owners top their male counterpart in Bengal by almost 12 per cent. MSMEs played a crucial role during the COVID pandemic by continuously manufacturing masks and PPE kits for frontline workers.
 

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