Budget 2017 Rekindles Women Entrepreneurship Space

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The impact of demonetization and the shift to a cashless economy has unfolded reasonably towards the Modi government. There is more expectation this time round from the government to alleviate the problems and concerns of its citizen.

#DigitalErra Thought Corner

With the Union Budget set to be announced in February, women entrepreneurs across the country are hoping for a long list of expectations with the government to be met. Union minister Anupriya Patel vehemently favored for establishing quotas for women in BIMSTEC-SAARC Women’s Economic Forum that will help them compete in mixed gender environments.

From Swati Bhargava’s Cashkaro to Sairee Chahal’s Sheroes, women are spreading wings of business ambitions rapidly. We get here the echoing thoughts on the nearing Union Budget 2017 from some defining names of Businesswomen ecosystem.

Simpler Access To Funding

Though, the government has been supportive in promoting women entrepreneurship, but what most women need is an easy access to funds says Preeti Sinha, Senior President of Yes Institute. An initiative of Yes Bank, Yes Institute educates women and other aspiring entrepreneurs how to lead a sustainable business with the inclusion of socio-economic development and growth.

Similar thought were viewed by Dr. Monisha Borathakur of Infosys Ltd. who emphasizes on simpler access to funding for aspiring women entrepreneurs.

Tax Cuts Expectation

Lowering of Tax was on the common voices amongst Businesswomen and Sairee Chahal of SHEROES and Suchi Mukherjee of LimeRoad reflects the same.

“We look forward to more investments in healthcare and education sector. It would also be nice to see some work around lowering tax on women and making the items affordable, thereby working on gender parity. Lastly, it would be great to have support for the startup world,” says Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of SHEROES, a career destination platform for women.

Suchi Mukherjee, CEO and Founder of LimeRoad, says: “In general, tax slabs should be adjusted in a way that it does not reduce the number of people covered in the tax net, but reduces the tax liability of individuals in order to provide them more disposable income that would help to increase the consumption in the country. To push digital economy, I wish to see cashless transactions to be incentivized further. To boost MSMES, limit of presumptive taxation should be increased to 5 crore. This action will simplify the procedure and conserve resources for small scale vendors.”

Increased Participation of Women In The Labour Force

Ankita Vashistha, Co-founder of SAHA Fund, says, “A study by Mckinsey suggested that if women were to participate in the workforce at the same rate as men, India could add $2.9 trillion to the country’s annual GDP by 2025.

A greater participation of Women means in straight term improvement in GDP.

Budget Allocations Exclusively For Women

Elsa Marie D’Silva, Founder and CEO of Safecity, says “As a social entrepreneur, I would like the government to provide a distinct allocation of the budget for small female entrepreneurs for innovation, scaling up, and support (under Make in India/ StartUp India). I would also like to see budgetary allocation for female maternal healthcare to be increased. Increased allocation of money and improved implementation of ICDS and related schemes will be welcome. There is also a need for separate gender budget cells in each state.”

Concerted efforts on the Startup scene can help in the proper utilization of government funds meant for Women Empowerment.

Digital Payments

According to Swati Bhargava, Co-founder of CashKaro, in a bid to alleviate the pain caused by recent demonetization, government should provide incentives on direct tax.

Rubeena Singh, CEO of iProspect India, says, “I’m looking forward to more incentives on the digital front that will give an impetus to the cashless economy, initiatives such as cash back on transactions made by card or mobile wallets. “

Expectations From Past Budget-2016

Similar sentiments were echoed in the last budget of 2016 as well. Creation of EDCs working exclusively to promote women entrepreneurship, Ease of doing business, Special SME loans/ funds, Fiscal incentives promoting Startup environment and a Centralized tax policy were some of the main expectations Women Entrepreneurs are carrying this time from last year.

One can see a substantial amount of progress done since last year with many financial and training schemes guiding Women Entrepreneurship. However, the above mentioned factors are the ones people will look up to for boosting the Women’s work culture.

Budget 2017 can bring a promising year for women entrepreneurs with some key promised reforms about to be implemented.

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