Women, Minorities and Weaker Sections

Women, Minorities and Weaker Sections



The Central and the State Governments have introduced several schemes for facilitating finance to the Women, Minorities and SC/ST/OBCs. Besides specific schemes, the Government also provides special concessions to them under various other schemes.

Schemes for Women

Various government schemes for MSMEs provide certain special incentives and concessions for women entrepreneurs. For instance, under Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), preference is given to women beneficiaries. The government has also made several relaxations for women to facilitate the participation of women beneficiaries in this scheme. Similarly, under the MSE Cluster Development Programme by Ministry of MSME, the contribution from the Ministry of MSME varies between 30-80% of the total project in case of hard intervention, but in the case of clusters owned and managed by women entrepreneurs, contribution of the M/o MSME could be upto 90% of the project cost. Similarly, under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises, the guarantee cover is generally available upto 75% of the loans extended; however the extent of guarantee cover is 80% for MSEs operated and/ or owned by women. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has also been implementing special schemes for women entrepreneurs.

Some of the special schemes for women entrepreneurs are as below:

Rashtriya Mahila Kosh

The National Credit Fund for Women (NCFW) commonly known as Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) was set up by Government of India in 1993 to meet the credit needs of the poor and asset needs of the women in the informal sector.  RMK extends micro credit through MFIs for various activities including setting up of micro enterprises.

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development Scheme for Women (TREAD)

With a view to encourage women in setting up their own ventures, government implements a Scheme, namely, “Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD). The Scheme envisages economic empowerment of women through the development of their entrepreneurial skills in non-farm activities. There are three major components of the scheme;

  • Govt. grant upto 30% of the total project cost to the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) for promoting entrepreneurship among women. The remaining 70% of the project cost is financed by the lending agency as loan for undertaking activities as envisaged in the project.

  • GoI grant to training institutions / NGOs for imparting training to the women entrepreneurs, subject to these institutions / NGOs bring their share to the extent of minimum 25% of GOI grant and 10% in case of NER.

  • Need-based GoI grants upto Rs. 5 lakh to National Entrepreneurship Development Institutions and any other institutions of reputed for undertaking field surveys, research studies, evaluation studies, designing of training modules etc.

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme for Women

The Government of India is implementing a nationwide employment generation programme, under which relaxation is provided to women in the following ways:

  • For urban women beneficiaries, margin money subsidy is provided at the rate of 25 per cent (for general category, it is 15 per cent) of the project cost while it is 35 per cent for women in rural areas (25 per cent for general category).

  • In case of women entrepreneurs, beneficiary’s contribution is 5 per cent of the project cost while in the case of beneficiaries belonging to general category; it is 10 per cent of the project cost.

  • Bank finance in the form of loan is 95 per cent of the project cost in case of women and other weaker section borrowers and 90 per cent of the project cost in case of those belonging to general category.

Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE)

Promoted by Government of India alongwith SIDBI, provides credit guarantee for collateral free loans upto Rs. 100 lakh for MSEs under its Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) with special concession to loans extended to women entrepreneurs i.e. the guarantee coverage is provided upto 80%.  As on August 31, 2010, CGTMSE has covered 78,400 guarantees of Rs. 2,571 crore run by women entrepreneurs, which constitutes around 20% of total guarantees.


Promotional & Developmental Assistance

The Indian Government is fully committed to promote the great spirit of women entrepreneurship through various promotional and developmental support. 

  • The Ministry of MSME, Government of India, accords considerable emphasis on promotion of women entrepreneurship, particularly among first generation women, through various training and support services. Similar entrepreneurship development programmes, especially for women, are also regularly conducted by various state level developmental institutions, banks/FIs and NGOs. These women-centric programmes are tailor-made to train the potential women entrepreneurs in improving their technical/managerial knowledge and skill with a view to facilitating them to start MSEs in various fields. These programmes are often called “Out-reach Programmes” as they are conducted in rural / less developed areas. 22.5% of total target of ESDPs/EDPs are conducted exclusively for SC, ST, Women and Physically Challenged persons. No fee is charged from SC/ST, women and physically handicapped.

  • SIDBI also supports various institutions for conducting EDPs.  It was found that EDPs assisted by SIDBI have helped in grounding many women micro enterprises at the grass root level

  • Marketing Assistance - Ministry of MSME has formulated a scheme for women entrepreneurs to encourage Small & Micro manufacturing units owned by women in their efforts at tapping and developing enterprises under MSME stall at International Trade Fairs / Exhibitions, to enhance export from such units. Under this scheme,

    • provide rent free space (6/( Sq. Mts.) in the exhibitions

    • reimburse 100% economy class air fare for one representative, the overall ceiling shall however be Rs. 1.25 lakh.

To access women specific financing schemes offered by various commercial banks in India, click here.


Schemes for Minorities

To provide additional financing agency for minorities, National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) was set up by the Government in 1994. The Corporation promotes the development of backward sections amongst the Minorities through various schemes. Some of the financial assistance schemes of NMDFC include:

For more details on various schemes of NMDFC, click here. 

For contact details of the corresponding State Channelising Agencies (SCAs), click here


Schemes for Schedule Castes and Tribes (SC/ST)

National SC Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) is the apex institution for financing, facilitating and mobilising funds from other sources and promoting the economic development activities of the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes living below double the poverty line. NSFDC runs various financing programmes for the benefit of the Schedule Castes. Some of the financing schemes of the corporation are as below:

  • Term Loan
  • Micro Credit Finance
  • Shilpi Samriddhi Yojana
  • Mahila Samriddhi Yojana
  • Mahila Kisan Yojana

To access details on aforementioned financing schemes, click here. 

For contact details of the corresponding State Channelising Agencies (SCAs), click here



Schemes for Other Backward Castes (OBCs)

National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC), a government undertaking, provides financial assistance through State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) and Micro Financing through SCAs/ Self Help Groups (SHGs) to assist a wide range of income generating activities to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self-employment ventures under sectors like Agriculture and Allied Activities, Small Business, Artisan and Traditional Occupation, Technical and Professional Trades/Courses, and Transport and Service Sector etc.

The various financing schemes offered by the corporation are as below:

  • Term Loans/ margin Money Loans
    • New Swarnima Special Scheme for Women
    • Educational Loan Scheme “New Akanksha”
    • Swayam Saksham


  • Micro Finance Schemes
    • Mahila Samriddhi Yojana

For more details on aforementioned schemes of NBCFDC, click here.

For contact details of the corresponding State Channelising Agencies (SCAs), click here


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