The Assam government recently launched a financial assistance scheme, the Mukhyamantri Mahila Udyamita Abhiyaan (MMUA), with the aim of empowering rural women entrepreneurs. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to women who aspire to embark on their entrepreneurial journey independently, beyond their association with Self-Help Groups (SHGs). This initiative introduces unique conditions, focusing specifically on the number of eligible children for the beneficiaries.
Objectives of MMUA Scheme
The MMUA scheme is designed to promote the development of rural women who are part of self-help groups. It aims to transform them into “Rural Micro Entrepreneurs” with an annual income target of ₹1 lakh per member.
Eligibility Criteria: Balancing Family Planning and Entrepreneurship
To qualify for the grant, women from the general and other backward caste (OBC) categories must have no more than three children. However, specific exemptions are made for women from the Moran, Muttock, and tea-tribe communities, who can apply with four or fewer children. For women belonging to Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) categories, the eligibility criteria dictate that they should have no more than four children.
- General and OBC Women: Eligibility is limited to three children.
- ST and SC: Maximum benefit for up to four children.
- Morans, Motoks, and ‘Tea Tribes’: Maximum of four children.
Additional Conditions for Beneficiaries
Apart from child limitations, beneficiaries must fulfill two additional conditions:
- Education of Girls: If beneficiaries have daughters, they must be enrolled in school. For girls not attending school, a signed commitment for future enrollment is necessary.
- Tree Plantation Campaign: Beneficiaries need to ensure that the trees planted under the government’s tree plantation campaign, Amrit Brikshya Andolan, are thriving.
Phase One: Seed Funding for Entrepreneurial Dreams
In the inaugural phase of the MMUA, each eligible applicant will receive a grant of ₹10,000 in the first year. This seed funding is intended to facilitate the initiation of various business ventures, chosen from a curated list of 145 business plans prepared by the government. The financial allocation for this scheme is unprecedented, with ₹3,900 crore earmarked in the state’s annual budget, making it the most substantial initiative of its kind in Assam.
Phase Two: Strengthening Financial Support
In the second year of the MMUA, successful applicants will receive further support in the form of a bank loan amounting to ₹12,500, coupled with an equivalent grant from the state government. The disbursement of funds in the second year will be contingent upon a thorough evaluation of the previous year’s utilization of the granted amount. This ensures accountability and responsible use of the financial assistance provided.
India Government’s Initiatives Related to Women Entrepreneurship
1. Women Entrepreneurship Platform
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform is a unique, integrated access portal that brings together women from various parts of India to fulfill their entrepreneurial aspirations. It is a special initiative by the NITI Aayog.
2. Mudra Yojana
This scheme provides microfinance to women entrepreneurs for starting or expanding their businesses.
3. Stand Up India Scheme
The objective of this scheme is to promote entrepreneurship among women, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes.
4. Women Coir Scheme
Executed by the Coir Board, this scheme aims to empower rural women artisans in the coir sector by providing self-employment opportunities.
Important Questions Related to Exams
1. How much grant is provided to each applicant in the first year of the MMUA scheme?
2. Which communities are exempt from the three-child limit in MMUA eligibility?
3. How much total amount is earmarked for the MMUA scheme in the state’s annual budget?
Kindly share your responses in the comment section.