President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said it was regrettable that women have not been given a fair share in the business arena, and urged India Inc to take strong steps towards creating gender-sensitive supply chains.
Women in India contribute to the economy at work and at home, but when it comes to business, it is “regrettable that they have not been given their due”, the president said while addressing the annual session of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) in New Delhi.
”We need to create conditions for more and more of our daughters and sisters to come into the workforce. We need to push harder to ensure appropriate, encouraging and safe conditions at home, in society and at the workplace to enhance the percentage of working women,” Kovind said.
The corporate sector should take firm steps towards creating “women-friendly and gender-sensitive supply chains” to empower women in the economy, rather than just accommodate them, he said.
”If more women become part of the workforce, both household incomes and our GDP will rise. We will become a more prosperous nation. Much greater than that, we will become a more equal society,” he said, adding, “We need to take the magic of entrepreneurship to (and facilitate the start-ups of) our sisters and daughters at the bottom of the pyramid.”
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The government has taken decisive steps to promote a culture of enterprise among ordinary citizens, especially women. The Stand-Up India initiative was launched in April 2016 to encourage entrepreneurship among women, SCs and STs. About 45,000 loans have been disbursed, mainly to sole proprietors, the president said.
”Almost 39,000 of these have gone to women. Under the MUDRA scheme, over the past three financial years, about 117 million loans have been sanctioned,” he said.
Nearly 88 million of these loans have gone to women entrepreneurs.
Kovind urged FLO members to see how they can make these businesses “largely run by women” integral to their value chains. How they can partner these start-ups as vendors, ancillaries, suppliers, distributors or in any other form.
”If our institutions and our society can be true to both the letter of the law and the spirit of justice, we can help every Indian realise her potential. And we can construct a developed India. There may be disagreement, but there must be respect for the other person’s dignity. Dignity and civility; order and rule of law; fairness and justice; entrepreneurship and aspirations. We have to achieve all of these. We cannot pick and choose,” Kovind said.
Author-entrepreneur Twinkle Khanna, producer Ekta Kapoor and scientist Tessy Thomas are among the nine extraordinary women achievers who received the FLO Icon award.
(With inputs from agencies)