TRADE RELATED ENTREPRENEURSHIP ASSISTANCE & DEVELOPMENT (TREAD) FOR WOMEN
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.
3. SALIENT FEATURES OF THE REVISED TREAD SCHEME FOR EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
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
4. THE CRITERIA FOR REGISTRATION OF NGOs.
legal entity with a minimum registration of three years.
5. GRANT assistance FOR CAPACITY BUILDING OF NGOS
Training expenses of operating staff on reducing scale.
6. GRANT assistance TO BE USED BY NGOS FOR ULTIMATE BORROWERS
Training in credit usage, credit management and basic
7. ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS
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.
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
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