Rajasthan Supports Women Entrepreneurs

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Asha Art and Crafts has been named after and runs on my mother’s name who inspired us to get into this business and is showing us the direction, says her son Kamal Sankhla…reports Archana Sharma

Call it a coincidence or luck that a department being run under a woman industries minister Shakuntala Rawat and woman IAS officer Archana Singh is presently busy with a unique campaign called Mission Niryatak which is boosting exports by building a team of women entrepreneurs.

In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that the Rajasthan government’s ‘Mission Niryatak’ campaign has been turning women into exporters who are creating jobs for another set of women while scripting a success story during pandemic times when businesses across the world are facing problems.

Sitting in their homes, women are now getting jobs and are being trained by the state government to ensure they come out with flying colours.

Says Asha Sankhla from Asha Art and Crafts, “We make all types of leather bags, canvas bags, leather sofa, chair, tools, butterfly chairs, wall decor products etc. Connecting with Mission Niryatak is sure to help us boost our orders due to which we shall be able to give more work to women artisans associated with us.”

Asha Art and Crafts has been named after and runs on my mother’s name who inspired us to get into this business and is showing us the direction, says her son Kamal Sankhla.

In fact, we are creating a new set of women entrepreneurs who are setting up their own team of women and completing the orders given to them, he adds.

PR Sharma, CEO, REPC says, “The project is quite ambitious and simple in its form. Those women who have been yearning to do something different are now being connected with us. They are registering with us and are starting their own export business, scripting empowerment and a self dependency story.”

“It has created jobs for women who are housewives. Many women have joined hands with this initiative which is going a long way to empower women,” he added.

The best part of the campaign is that it has been decentralised and is reaching out to each district to cater to different needs of people settled in these districts.

“We are reaching out to each district. In fact, around 5405 IECs have been issued amongst which the highest response has come from Alwar and Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Chittorgarh and some others,” he adds.

The campaign, he says, comes with six steps, “The first step is identification and mobilization of the candidates/firm to become an exporter and their registration is done on the department’s web site after they are provided with basic guidance about exports and export documentation. The second step is to fulfil document requirements. We provide them support in applications for PAN, Aadhar Card, Registration of Firm and opening of Bank Account. Step three is the issuance of the Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) number, step 4 is issuance of GST number and step 5 is granting REPC membership. Then comes the sixth step which is providing assistance for exports through E-portal.”

In fact, the project has already started showing results. Around 500+ new exporters are linked with the online portal for export (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Wallmart, etc.) and many of them have started exporting.

The signing of a MoU with Walmart for training and export linkages is in the process.

As per the statistics, “In 2015-16, exports from Rajasthan were Rs 36,047 crore which rose to Rs 52,764 crore in 2020-21 for commodity exports. However, Rajasthan’s share in India’s total merchandise exports is about 2.3% and it stands 12th among the states in country in terms of value of commodity exports. Exporting units and allied services provides employment to 31 lakh individuals in the state (EXIM Bank Report 2019).”

Rajasthan achieved first rank in the Export Preparedness Index-2020 under the landlock stage category which indicated there is a huge potential for exports from the state, says Sharma.

Under the Mission Niryatak project, we are expecting exports worth Rs 50 crore from 22 selected first time exporters in December 2021, said officials.

The fortunes of many women will be turned around with this project as many of them have already joined hands with it while many have shown interest in it through word of mouth publicity, says Sankhla.

Union minister Piyush Goyal had words of praise for the campaign in Jaipur recently. He said that the Rajasthan team should be congratulated for the efforts made in this direction.

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