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RBI Keeps Benchmark Interest Rate Unchanged At 5.15%

It also revised GDP growth downwards to 5 per cent for 2019-20 from 6.1 per cent projected in its October policy.



MUMBAI (Maharashtra): The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday kept the key policy rate unchanged at 5.15 per cent and decided to continue with its accommodative stance to support the economy.

The central bank also revised GDP growth downwards to 5 per cent for 2019-20 from 6.1 per cent projected in its October policy.

The Monetary Policy Committee recognises that there is monetary policy space for future action. However, given the evolving growth-inflation dynamics, the MPC felt it appropriate to take a pause at this juncture,” the RBI said in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy for this fiscal.

The panel decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target. All the six members of the MPC voted in favour of a rate pause.

The CPI inflation projection is revised upwards to 5.1-4.7 per cent for H2 FY20 and 4-3.8 per cent for H1 FY21. Between February and October 2019, the RBI has reduced repo rate by 135 basis points.

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Women Entrepreneurs Critical To ‘Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat’

Women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.



(This article belongs to League of India’s ‘Readers’ Opinions‘ Initiative)

For entrepreneurs to thrive in an economy, a stable and supportive political system has to prevail. A liberalized economic environment offers the space and confidence for people to take up commercial activities. Though pre-colonial Indian society possessed classy village and town economies that supported indigenous artisans, handicrafts, and commerce by trade guilds and business communities, the British occupation subverted the Indian economy to serve the interests of the rulers. After independence, there was a capital crunch that prevented proper growth of individual small and medium scale businesses.

The liberalization of the economy in 1991 opened up space for small and personal commercial activities to grow well. Indian women entrepreneurs have also been part of this development process.

The growth of women entrepreneurs has not only reduced the gender gap in socio-economic participation but has also been instrumental in ensuring balanced and equitable development an economic upliftment at women, benefits her family surrounding and community.

Nevertheless, women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.

Indian women entrepreneurs are significantly less aware of govt schemes policies available for them. According to the 2011 Census, around 34% of Indian women are illiterate, which prevents them from accessing information and training opportunities. Most women do not inherit their ancestral properties; It goes only to the male children.

So it is very tough for them to arrange initial capital, finance, and working capital since angel investors show gender bias in their evaluation and investment decisions. Inequitable access to the labour market and lack of networking-cum-market understanding discourage them for a start-up.

Women entrepreneurs choose to keep their businesses small since they have to juggle family responsibilities too. They are expected to balance and manage family work and everything else; even they contribute equally to family’s finance.

According to the Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14 per cent of the total entrepreneur base in India, i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.

While some are accidental entrepreneurs due to the lack of other work opportunities, many others are driven by a specific mission or goal. Of the total 20%, women-owned MSMEs, 20.44% are micro-enterprises, 5.26% are small and 2.67% medium enterprises.

States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Kerala have a higher number of women entrepreneurs, while Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Diu, and Daman have a low number of women entrepreneurs.

Significant obstacles to women in MSMEs are gender bias exhibited by investors, lack of credit access and unsupportive family.

Census 2011 data shows that 32.8 per cent of women are engaged in the agriculture sector. 33 per cent cultivators and 47 per cent of agricultural labourers are women. In rural India, 84 per cent of women depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

According to Economic Survey 2017-18, the number of women engaged in agriculture as cultivators, agri-entrepreneurs, and labourers is increasing. This feminization of agriculture can enable women to play a decisive role in ensuring food security and preserving local eco-biodiversity. It necessitates access to resources such as water, farm credit, land, technology, and information to women.

However, only 12% of the land is owned by women.

Women employed in the agriculture sector face gender wage disparity, mostly work in low skilled jobs, and many of them work as unpaid subsistence labourers.

Intels Women and Web Study (2013) found that women’s access to the Internet helps them acquire new knowledge, learning. However, there is a 34 per cent gender gap in online access in India. Indian women mainly use it for banking and financial activities. Over 30 per cent of girls drop out before completing secondary education in India.

Further, due to the lack of access to technical knowledge, women mostly occupy low and medium-skilled jobs. It makes them vulnerable to the effects of automation, which may force job layoffs shortly, resulting in further marginalization of women.

Loss of employment can restrict their economic independence and development.

The concept of ‘Vocal for Local’ is possible only when women, whose population is almost half of the total, are made to be the part of the program and participate equally in terms of economic activities.

The government ought to organize a survey on the post-COVID impact on women’s livelihood across sectors. There must be a special allocation of funds to women start-ups and proper incubation process.

MSME ministry, in collaboration with NGOs, should also provide research support and technical inductions to rural women entrepreneurs.

Most importantly, We (govt., administration, society and you) have to ensure an inclusive, no favouritism, and sexual harassment-free workplace.

What is needed are gender-neutral policies, as well as pro-women budgets that promote women entrepreneurship. Strong legislation and public awareness of these laws are required to enable easy conduct of business. Non-discriminatory access to credit facilities and banking is another pre-requisite to encourage female entrepreneurs.

Hopefully, we will see a new dawn of women empowerment in the nation in the coming decades as more and more women are coming into the centre stream of the economy across various sectors like IT, financial, e-commerce, biotechnology etc. which will also increase the productivity of women.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this reader-submitted article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

This reader-submitted article has NOT BEEN EDITED by League of India and is published as received.

Omm Priyadarshi

Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Studies scholar from NIT Rourkela. He typically writes on socio-cultural, environmental and gender-related issues.

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Maoist-Affected Gadchiroli Will Be Transformed In Two Years: Nitin Gadkari

Extremism is coming down with infra projects coming up in these areas: MoS RTH Gen. V K Singh



NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari today inaugurated through video link, three important bridges and two road improvement projects in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.

The Minister also laid foundation stones for four other major bridge projects across the rivers Wainganga, Bandiya, Perikota and Perimili.

These projects are considered crucial for improving mobility for socio-economic development of the Gadchiroli district.

The projects inaugurated today were:

  • 855-metre major bridge across Pranahita river on Nizamabad – Jagdalpur Road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 168 crores,
  • 630-metre high-level bridge across the Indravati River near Patagudam on Nizamabad – Jagdalpur Road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 248 crores.
  • 30-metre high-level bridge near Lankachen on Bejurpalli – Aheri Road,
  • Improvement of Bejurpalli-Aheri Road (SH 275) between Watra and Moyabinpeta
  • Improvement of Garanji – Pustola Road

Speaking on the occasion, Nitin Gadkari said with the construction of these key bridges, the National Highway connectivity in Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh –Telangana is complete now.

“This is a dream which has come true after nearly 25 years, when it was conceived when I was a Minister in Maharashtra”.

Gadkari said the total length of National Highway in Gadchiroli district has increased from 54 km to 647 km during his tenure.

Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has approved 44 road projects of 541 km length with an outlay of Rs 1,740 crores for Gadchiroli district.

“The all-weather road network in far-flung areas of Naxal affected districts like Gadchiroli will improve the socio-economic development in the region and in upcoming two years or so the Gadchiroli district will see an all-round transformation,” the  Minister remarked.

Gadkari wholeheartedly complimented the engineers and contractors who completed the construction of bridges in Gadchiroli, despite the fear of Naxals. He informed that the bridge across River Indravati was completed under very trying and warlike conditions. A police station had to be set up in order to help construct the bridge.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also laid the foundation stones for 4 Major Bridges on Perimilli, Bandiya, Pearikota and Waingagana River in the district.  The existing bridges across these rivers are narrow and often get submerged during monsoons.

The bridge across the Wainganga River of approximately 825 meters will improve the connectivity between Gadchiroli and Chandrapur District. The Minister also asked NHAI officials to utilize the saved amount of Rs.50 cr during the works of Major bridges to construct 14 Minor Bridges and ensure seamless transportation in otherwise inaccessible areas of Gadchiroli districts.

Gadkari also promised to approve the 35 km road development between Alapalli – Bamragarh this year and the remaining 65 km in the next financial year.

The Minister also sought the state Government’s nod to connecting Desaiganj – Brahmapuri with Nagpur under the Broad Gauge Metro connectivity plan, which would reduce the travel time to 75 minutes from the current 2 and a half hours.

Speaking about his vision for the development of backward areas in the capacity of an MSME Minister, Gadkari said with bamboo available in plenty, Gadchiroli can become the hub of Agarbatti manufacturing, whose import has now been stopped.

He said there is a scope to set up 100 units, which would give employment to local people. The Minister also said that he is initiating a project for the conversion of rice to ethanol in Gadchiroli as part of the biofuel development programme. “This will provide greater value for rice growers and also create jobs” he added.

Gadkari requested the State Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde to explore various avenues for job creation in Gadchiroli with a target of providing employment to 10,000 youth.

MoS RTH Gen V K Singh complimented the completion of developmental Road projects in the area, and said, this will go a long way in mainstreaming of people living in LWE areas. He said that an area progressed only when infrastructure is developed there. He said that with more and more infra projects coming up in these areas, the extremism is coming down gradually.

Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said road development in Gadchiroli would help industrial development, job creation and uplift of living standards of people, besides helping in the maintenance of law and order.

MP Gadchiroli-Chimur Lok Sabha constituency Ashok Nete, other public representatives and officials of Central and State Government were present.

Wainganga Bridge Project:

Wainganga river, which divides Gadchiroli & Chandrapur Districts is one of the important rivers in the State of Maharashtra. Due to the current condition of the bridge situated on Wainganga, commuters are facing many difficulties. People living in the tribal-dominated areas of Ballarpur, Kothari, Gondpimpri & Ashti are facing challenges regarding employment opportunities, Import & Export of agricultural products, market access, medical amenities and transportation. To eliminate hardships of the people, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari proposed construction of an ambitious project to construct a bridge on Wainganga river, along National Highway 353 B, at a total cost of Rs. 99 Crore, to be completed by NHAI and PWD.

The proposed bridge will bring prosperity to small villages in the districts of Gadchiroli & Chandrapur.

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Massive Boost To Regional Aviation; 78 New Routes Approved Under UDAN 4.0

The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.



NEW DELHI: 78 new routes under the 4th round of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)- UdeDesh Ka AamNagrik (UDAN) have been approved following the three successful rounds of bidding by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This will further enhance the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country.

The North Eastern Region, Hilly States and Islands have been given priority in the approval process for the new routes.

Special boost is being given to connectivity in North East with routes from Guwahati to Tezu, Rupsi, Tezpur, Passighat, Misa and Shillong. People will be able to fly from Hissar to Chandigarh, Dehradun and Dharmshala under these UDAN 4 routes. Routes from Varanasi to Chitrakoot and Shravasti have also been approved.

Agatti, Kavaratti and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep have also been connected by the new routes of UDAN 4.0.

So far, 766 routes have been sanctioned under the UDAN scheme. 29 served, 08 unserved (including 02 heliports and 01 water aerodrome), and 02 underserved airports have been included in the list for approved routes.

The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.

The airports that had already been developed by AAI are given higher priority for the award of VGF(Viability Gap Funding) under the Scheme.

Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopter and seaplanes is also been incorporated. Since its inception, MoCA has operationalized 274 UDAN routes that have connected 45 airports and 3 heliports.

The new approved RCS routes are as below:

S.No RCS Routes
1 Guwahati To Tezu
2 Tezu To Imphal
3 Imphal To Tezu
4 Tezu To Guwahati
5 Guwahati To Rupsi
6 Rupsi To Kolkata
7 Kolkata To Rupsi
8 Rupsi To Guwahati
9 Bilaspur To Bhopal
10 Bhopal To Bilaspur
11 Hissar To Dharamshala
12 Dharamshala To Hissar
13 Hissar To Chandigarh
14 Chandigarh To Hissar
15 Hissar To Dehradun
16 Dehradun To Hissar
17 Kanpur(Chakeri) To Moradabad
18 Moradabad To Kanpur(Chakeri)
19 Kanpur(Chakeri) To Aligarh
20 Aligarh To Kanpur(Chakeri)
21 Kanpur(Chakeri) To Chitrakoot
22 Chitrakoot To Prayagraj/Allahabad
23 Prayagraj/Allahabad To Chitrakoot
24 Chitrakoot To Varanasi
25 Varanasi To Chitrakoot
26 Chitrakoot To Kanpur(Chakeri)
27 Kanpur(Chakeri) To Shravasti
28 Shravasti To Varanasi
29 Varanasi To Shravasti
30 Shravasti To Prayagraj/Allahabad
31 Prayagraj/Allahabad To Shravasti
32 Shravasti To Kanpur(Chakeri)
33 Bareilly To Delhi
34 Delhi To Bareilly
35 Cochin International Airport(CIAL) To Agatti
36 Agatti To Cochin International Airport(CIAL)
37 Aizawl To Tezpur
38 Tezpur To Aizawl
39 Agartala To Dibrugarh
40 Dibrugarh To Agartala
41 Shillong To Passighat
42 Passighat To Guwahati
43 Guwahati To Passighat
44 Passighat To Shillong
45 Guwahati To Tezpur
46 Tezpur To Guwahati
47 Guwahati To Misa(Heliport)
48 Misa(Heliport) To Geleki
49 Geleki To Jorhat
50 Jorhat To Geleki
51 Geleki To Misa(Heliport)
52 Misa(Heliport) To Guwahati
53 Agatti To Minicoy
54 Minicoy To Agatti
55 Agatti To Kavaratti
56 Kavaratti To Agatti
57 Guwahati To Shillong
58 Shillong To Dimapur
59 Dimapur To Shillong
60 Imphal To Silchar
61 Silchar To Imphal
62 Shillong To Guwahati
63 Agartala To Shillong
64 Shillong To Imphal
65 Imphal To Shillong
66 Shillong To Agartala
67 Imphal To Shillong
68 Shillong To Silchar
69 Silchar To Shillong
70 Shillong To Imphal
71 Shillong To Dibrugarh
72 Dibrugarh To Shillong
73 Delhi To Shimla
74 Shimla To Delhi
75 Diu To Surat
76 Surat To Diu
77 Diu To Vadodara
78 Vadodara To Diu


List of Unserved airports:

  1. Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Rupsi, Assam
  3. Bilaspur, Chattisgarh
  4. Hisar, Haryana
  5. Misa (Heliport), Assam
  6. Geleki (Heliport), Assam
  7. Minicoy, Lakshadweep
  8. Kavaratti (Water aerodrome), Lakshadweep

List of Underserved airports:

  1. Agatti, Lakshadweep
  2. Passighat, Arunachal Pradesh
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