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Collateral-free loans turn boon for women

Oct 05 2015 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Collateral-free loans turn boon for women
New Delhi
Until recently , Rajni, who lives in Tilak Nagar in west Delhi, used to work in a boutique. Now, she has borrowed `50,000 from Punjab National Bank to set up her own business. In Bawana, Kamla has taken a loan from IDBI Bank to buy two buffaloes, while Nisha has borrowed to expand her tuition centre where she teaches 15 children.

Rajni, Kamla and Nisha are among scores of women across the country tapping into Mudra -the NDA government's newly launched scheme meant to provide collateral-free loans to entrepreneurs. Women have emerged as a prominent section of borrowers tapping into the window through which the government hopes to sanction `1.22 lakh crore by the end of March to help nearly two crore people finance their ventures. With the government fixing stiff targets, banks have already sanctioned loans of close to Rs 29,000 crore to over 42 lakh borrowers since April, with Rs 9,000 crore handed out since a campaign was launched a month ago.

While sectoral data is still being collected, bankers said that a majority of the loans are from street vendors, tea stall owners, beauty parlour and boutique owners or for purchasing auto rickshaws or setting up a repair shop. “ A large part of the loan is going to people engaged in the service sector, where providing a collateral is an issue,“ said a PNB executive.

To deal with the problem, the government has already announced a credit guarantee trust that will provide a cover against default to banks.In fact, fearing defaults banks have been reluctant to lend to the 5.77 crore “own account en terprises“ such as small shopkeepers, repair shops or tuition centres prompting them to access informal sources of fund ing at rates which can be as much as 10% a day .

According to NSSO data, these units on an av erage employ two people including the owner, and have fixed assets of Rs 2 lakh. The survey showed that 30% of them are en gaged in some manufac turing activity , 34% in services and 36% in trad ing. Irrespective of their business, accessing funds from the financial system is a problem with the average outstanding loan and interest, esti mated at Rs 17,681, with only 8% able to access in stitutional funds.


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