Gujarat: At Rs 20,132 crore, fresh loans to women entrepreneurs up 32%

Gujarat: At Rs 20,132 crore, fresh loans to women entrepreneurs up 32%

AHMEDABAD: Even as businesses battled revenue shortfalls and faced working capital issues, fresh loan disbursals to women entrepreneurs surged 32% in the pandemic year of 2020-21. This growth rate was much lower at 8.2% in 2019-20, shows the latest data compiled by the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC)-Gujarat.

Fresh loans worth Rs 20,132 crore were extended to women entrepreneurs in 2020-21 as compared to Rs 15,252 crore in 2019-20. The disbursals grew noticeably but the number of beneficiaries declined to 7.87 lakh from 8.57 lakh during the period under review.

However, the growth in loan disbursals may not indicate an increase in the number of women entrepreneurs in the state, said bankers.

“In most cases, the business is registered in the name of the woman who has more than 50% stake in the firm. Based on this, the loan is also extended in the name of the women,” explained M M Bansal, convener, SLBC – Gujarat.

“In the pandemic year, a lot of businesses have sought loans for working capital as well as other purposes and therefore, the surge is seen in loans disbursed to women entrepreneurs as well,” he added.

“The pandemic caused a major disruption across businesses in most sectors. As a consequence, the requirement for working capital went up. People who had registered businesses in the name of their wives availed these loans. At the same time, many were compelled to diversify their business and they did so in the name of the women in their family for easy credit availability,” said a well-placed source in a public-sector bank.

In fact, the interest rates on loans to women entrepreneurs are lower as compared to normal business loans. Therefore, such loans are preferred, especially in the time of crisis.

Many register biz in name of their wive

Bankers said loans extended under emergency credit line guarantee scheme to women entrepreneurs fall under this category, which could be one of the reasons for the increase.

Experts said that many startups and smaller firms were registered in the name of women in pandemic year. “Credit could also have been availed by many women entrepreneurs who registered their businesses. Women-led businesses have come up in services sector too,” said Pathik Patwari, general secretary, GCCI. The total outstanding amount of loans provided to women entrepreneurs stood at Rs 60,965 crore in 2020-21, up 35.9% over Rs 44,851 crore in 2019-20.

News Source: TOI

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