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Women have been among the most disadvantaged and oppressed section of our country with regard to access to and control over resources. Problems faced by them continue to be grave particularly for illiterate & semi literate women of rural and urban areas In order to alleviate their problems, Govt. Of India launched a scheme entitled " Trade Related Entrepreneurship assistance and Development" (TREAD).The scheme envisaged economic empowerment of such women through trade related training, information and counseling extension activities related to trades, products, services etc. The Scheme provided for Market Development, financial loans through NGO's who were also provided grant for capacity building. This assistance was to be provided for self-employment ventures by women for pursuing any kind of non farm activity.


1.1 In order to assess and test the impact that the scheme can have in improving the Socio-economic conditions of women, a pilot project was sanctioned in 1996-97 to Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Ahmedabad with a component of Rs.20 Lakhs. However, later on the grant was provided by the Ministry of Banaskantha DWCRA Mahila Sewa Association (BDMASA) - a sister organization of SEWA, as the project was to be implemented by the said NGO. Suggestions were made for incorporating also a component in the program for assisting even educated and resourceful women on entrepreneurship development by suitably strengthening the facilities existing in entrepreneurship and skill upgradation institutions.

1.2  Based on the successful results of the pilot project, the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) approved a Plan outlay of Rs. 14 crores (15th June 1998) with a Plan outlay of Rs. 14 crores to be spent during the 9th Plan. But due to various reasons, not much headway could be made in implementation of the Scheme. Only a meager amount of Rs. 137.75 lakhs could be released to 8 NGOs. Since the level of progress was not satisfactory.

1.3  It was considered necessary to study the Scheme so as to make appropriate revisions to make it more effective and result oriented. The Office of DC (MSME) after studying the Scheme in detail and obtaining views from the lending Institutions brought out some changes in assistance components of the Scheme to make it more practical, workable and result oriented. The revised Scheme as approved by competent authority will also be continued in 11th Plan.


2.1  Experience has revealed that apart from counseling and training, delivery of credit poses the most serious problem for the poor women. Also there is dearth of information with regard to existing status of women and their common needs for providing necessary support. Therefore, it was considered necessary that if poor women are to be economically empowered, appropriate programmes and schemes are to be designed so as to assist them in all respects. Since such women will not be able to have an easy access to credit, it has also been envisaged that the credit will be made available to applicant woman through NGOs who would be capable of handling funds in an appropriate manner. These NGOs will not only handle the disbursement of such loans needed by women but would also provide them adequate counseling, training and assistance in developing markets. It has, therefore, also been envisaged that a portion of funding be also provided to such NGOs for capacity building. Accordingly the existing scheme has been modified to provide for the following components of assistance.


A. Credit

Government Grant up to 30% of the total project cost as appraised by lending institutions which would finance the remaining 70% as loan assistance to applicant women, who have no easy access to credit from banks due to cumbersome procedures and the inability of poor & usually illiterate/semi-literate women to provide adequate security demanded by banks in the form of collaterals. GOI Grant and the loan portion from the lending agencies to assist such women shall be routed through NGOs engaged in assisting poor women through income generating activities. Only those NGOs, who are having considerable experience (minimum 3 years) in taking and managing funds, taken either as loan or Grant, shall be eligible under the Scheme. While the loan amount will be passed on to women beneficiaries, the Grant shall be utilized by the NGOs for activities accepted as grant activities in the appraisal report of the lending agency and capacity building of the NGOs. NGOs will be free to approach lending agencies of their choice, but such lending agencies are to be approved by the respective State/UT Govts. And finally by the Office of the DC (MSME). Lending agency (ies) will sign MOU with the Office of DC (MSME) detailing the criteria of lending and related terms and conditions. The Govt. Grant portion would be finally approved by the Steering Committee, after taking into account the appraisal of the Project Costs by lending agency (ies) and, in principle, acceptance to grant the loan component, which shall be up to 70% of the project cost.

At the present juncture, SIDBI has signed an MOU with the Ministry of MSME, Government of India. The other lending institutions could be NABARD, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) and financial institutes willing to undertake the spread of this Scheme.

B. Training & Counseling

Training organizations viz. MSME-Development Institute (Formerly Small Industries Service Institute)s (MSME-DIs), Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (EDIs), NISIET and the NGOs conducting training programmes for empowerment of women beneficiaries identified under the scheme would be provided a grant upto maximum limit of Rs. 1.00 lakh per programme provided such institutions also bring their share to the extent of minimum 25% of the Government grant. The batch size for such a training activity will be at least 20 participants. Organizations will apply for such assistance directly to Office of DC (MSME) giving details of the training programmes, expenditure involved, grant needed etc.

C. Eliciting Information on Related Needs

Institutions such as Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (EDIs), NISIET, NIESBUD, IIE, MSME-DIs EDIs sponsored by State Govt. and any other suitable institution of repute will be provided need based Government grant primarily for undertaking activities aiming at empowerment of women such as field surveys, research studies, evaluation studies, designing of training modules, etc. etc. covered under the scheme. The activities are to be undertaken by the institution itself. No grant shall be provided for creation of posts. The grant could be used for sustaining expenses towards office, books, periodicals, consultants, computers including miscellaneous expenses etc. (related to specific projects). The grant shall be limited up to Rs. 5 lakhs per project. The list of such additional institutions, if any, and the activity to be undertaken with the Govt. Grant under TREAD Scheme will be approved by Additional Secretary & Development Commissioner (MSME) in consultation with AS&FA.

Interested institutions will apply for such assistance directly to the Office of DC(MSME) giving all the relevant details


Be a legal entity with a minimum registration of three years.
a. Having experience in thrift and saving programmes with SHGs / individuals.
b. Be engaged in entrepreneurship and income generation activities for women.
c. Have basic infrastructure, qualified support staff and services to undertake micro- enterprise development for women.
d. Prepare project proposals on behalf of women entrepreneurs / women Self Help Groups for income activity and take loan from financial institutions for onward disbursement to them.


Training expenses of operating staff on reducing scale.
a. Part of the expenses on operationalising0 a management and monitoring system    viz. Computer Hardware and Software for MIS and vehicles.
b. Charges for legal documentation viz. for payment of stamp duty for loans    agreement, hiring of legal experts, valuation of assets, examination of title   deeds etc.
c. Auditor�s fee for auditing credit programme records.
d. For establishment of new SHGs
e. Common training / consultancy / networking inputs for the members (borrowers) relating to marketing, designing, packaging, quality control, technologies etc.


Training in credit usage, credit management and basic accounting practices.
a. Skill training and professional consultancy inputs viz. Marketing, designing,   packing, quality control, technology transfer, financial training etc.
b. Equity/margin money contribution for acquisition/establishment of infrastructure   (including machine & equipment) in group, entrepreneurship projects.
c. Payment of insurance premium on productive assets acquired by beneficiaries.
d. Expenses trips to successful micro credit programmes.
e. Legal documentation charges for loan documentation, if any.
f. Legal, consultancy and training expenses for building institutions of the borrowers   viz.SHG federation or Credit Cooperative etc.
g. Participation in exhibition and other marketing events


7.1 A Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of AS&DC (MSME) is to be constituted. Other members of the Committee would be Additional Secretary & Financial Adviser of the Ministry of MSME, Additional Development Commissioner & Economic Adviser, Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, Chairman & Managing Director, SIDBI, Industrial Adviser (Anc.) would be the Member Secretary. Any other members can be co-opted by the Committee, if required. The Steering Committee will provide overall guidance for selection of the beneficiaries, Organisations, NGOs, Lending Agencies for Govt. Grants under the Scheme.

7.2 Steering Committee (SC) shall approve and sanction the GOIs grant portion released/proposed to be released by the lending agency (ies) during its periodic   meeting.   

In case of credit linked projects received from NGOs for assisting the poor women, office of DC(MSME) coordinating the scheme, shall first conduct preliminary scrutiny of such projects to ensure that project submitted by NGO does meet the overall objectives of the scheme and shall then forward them to the lending agency for detailed appraisal and assistance of NGO. The value of the Government grant component shall be sanctioned based on the appraisal & recommendations of the lending agency.

7.3 SC shall undertake regular monitoring and review of implementation of projects in consultation with State Governments, lending agencies, NGOs, Training Institutions and all other stake holders in the programmes.

7.4 In States/UTs the Secretary (Industries) shall act as Nodal Officer to facilitate infrastructural and support services needed for the TREAD projects. NGOs would send their proposals directly to the Office of DC (MSME). A reference, if required, could be made on behalf of SC to the Nodal Officer for ascertaining views on the proposals received from NGOs.

7.5 The Steering Committee is empowered to revise the criteria for eligibility for the NGOs based on experience and its past performance, guidelines containing methodology of implementation of the Scheme and format for application to be submitted for availing benefits under the Scheme.

7.6 Applications (in duplicate) in the prescribed format containing details of the projects and the profiles of applicant beneficiaries shall be submitted to the Office of the Development Commissioner (Small Scale Industries), 7th Floor, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi-110011. Applications will be subjected to preliminary scrutiny for determining the basic eligibility level. Proposals found acceptable will be forwarded to respective lending agencies for detailed evaluation in respect of viability and feasibility of the proposal and the recommendations for approval of the total project cost, loan component and GOI�s grant, component for disbursement. The lending agencies shall in accordance with the stipulations laid down in the MOUs shall disburse the loan and the GOI grant component to the NGO. The lending agency shall, however, obtain sanction of the Steering Committee as far GOI�s grant component is concerned. Monitoring of the programme will be preliminary undertaken by the lending agencies, which shall be periodically reviewed (every quarter) by the Steering Committee.

7.6 It shall be mandatory for all NGOs and organizations/agencies to submit the utilization certificate in respect of Government of India grants in the prescribed format.

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