1.What are the Problems faced by women Entrepreneurs in India, suggest a best way forward 250 words.


  1. Introduction.
  2. Mention the problems faced by women entrepreneurs in India.
  3. Highlight majorly the financial access problem to women entrepreneurs.
  4. Mention gender-gap in financing – an important dimension.
  5. Conclusion with few schemes that seek to address this issue.

In India, where women face barriers to formal economy, entrepreneurship is the practicable way to create employment opportunities for women. To promote women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities is essential, especially with the sharp decline in female employment since the pandemic – female labor force participation rate has fallen to 7% in 2021-22.

Problems of women entrepreneurs : Indian women have been severely hampered by the lack of supportive conditions for entrepreneurship. According to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2021, India ranked 57th amongst 65 countries. The socio-cultural barriers faced by women entrepreneurs are compounded by the burden of unpaid care work – highest in the world at 91.8% – in domestic household according to NSSO Survey 2019.

Women-owned MSMEs faced a severe financing gap of 70.37% according to IFC. The lack of financing remains the chief concern for 90% of women entrepreneurs. This is despite the striking improvements in women’s access to bank accounts, driven by Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

The financing woes continues : About 58% of female entrepreneurs who start business rely on self-financing, largely their savings or physical property that can be mortgaged. This is due to social biases of the financial institutions on the credit-worthiness of women-owned & women-led enterprises. The lack of collateral further hinders women. This leads to self-perpetuating cycle as women as women are inhibited from applying for loans.

To address this gap, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was launched in 2015 to provide collateral free loans up to Rs. 1 million for small & micro enterprises. The scheme has yielded mixed results – about 68% of the loans had been disbursed to women entrepreneurs in 2021, yet 88% were under the ‘Shishu’ category (loans up to Rs. 50,000). So it has been limited to small-ticket loans.

Gender gap in Financing: So, even though the number of women bank-holders has steadily increased, it has not translated into access to institutional credit. Financial inclusion in India has emphasized deposits over access to credit. Credit received by women is only 27% of the deposits they contribute, while credit received by men is 52% of their deposits. For individual women, it is more difficult to access credit from banks – most women access credit through MFIs, SHGs, and joint liability groups. Women accounted for only 7% total bank credit, compared to 30% men. Historically, women’s finance has been equated with microfinance with social & economic outcomes of empowerment, which has limited scope of women’s finance because of the assumption that credit needs of women remain small.

Contrary to popular perceptions, women’s business have greater profit margins than those of men. The task of financial inclusion will remain incomplete until there is equitable access to bank credit for women. For this to happen, financial institutions need to overcome their gender biases and bring in gender sensitive approach to credit so that every women entrepreneur can look beyond self-financing. ‘Stand Up India’ was launched in 2016, to offer 1 million to 10 million Rupee for underserved sections like women & socially backward groups. More than 81% loans under Stand up India has been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs. The NITI Aayog too set up the Women Entrepreneurship Platform in 2018 to support new & existing women entrepreneurs through free credit ratings, mentorship, apprenticeship, and corporate partnerships.

2.What measures can be taken to address the manpower shortages in recently introduced Agnipath Scheme? 250 Words


  1. Introduction.
  2. Mention the context of the protest.
  3. Point out the measures you suggest that may improve the scheme.
  4. Conclusion.

The Agnipath scheme has been forced into ‘Agnipariksha’ for its out of the box nature of proposals, raising many questions about negatively impacting the ethos of the armed forces.

Backgrounder: It is important to understand why the current protests against the Agnipath model has gained steam. The appeal to the armed forces as a profession lies in the fact that armed forces is open to all Indians purely on a merit-based entry. Joining the service is seen as honorable & patriotic. Membership of the armed forces is an identity to escape the anonymity of the rural socio-economic strata. Lastly, it has a lifetime social security in terms of pension & medical cover. Therefore, the current demonstration is largely fuelled by concerns that these aspirations of the youth may not be fulfilled.

Measures ought to be taken: Against this backdrop, it is challenging to set right the narrative that the recruitment policy is against the interests of the youth, despite few recent amendments.

  • Changing the method of recruitment to a national-level examination instead of focusing on regional recruitment can make it more trustworthy & appealing.
  • the qualifying candidates then need to be subjected to intelligence and aptitude test to ensure merit, along with allocations for physical fitness.
  • There are apprehensions that biases may set in identifying soldiers to be retained after 4 years. This can be reversed by increasing the retention to 33-50% and extending the initial term to 5 years. Furthermore, the retained soldiers need to be on an all-India merit list considering their achievements & progress.
  • Given the interest in post-military employment of soldiers, lateral entry in other services has to be streamlined and Agniveers can be enrolled in the NPS.
  • It needs to be highlighted that government is looking for a talent pool that is not just qualified, but capable of being absorbed into the needs of a futuristic army – a fact that Agnipath is not a short-term contract needs to be emphasized.

The scheme provides an opportunity for the armed forces to transition to the next generation of warfare with a manpower that can embrace technological challenges. The government should launch public outreach programs showcasing the advantages. Instances of youth preventing mob rampages need to be put up that goes with the ethos of soldiering, which is that a true soldier will give his life than destroy what his country stands for.


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