Since its launch seven years ago, the Stand-Up India scheme has proved to be a crucial initiative that has encouraged entrepreneurship among women, SCs and STs who are in turn, contributing to the growth of economy by becoming wealth and job creators

With an aim to promote entrepreneurship at the grassroot level, Stand-Up India scheme was launched on April 5, 2016. In the past seven years, more than 1.8 lakh women and SC/ST entrepreneurs were sanctioned over Rs 40,710 crore loans to set up their own businesses in India, the Union Finance Ministry said last month.

More than 80% of beneficiaries of the scheme were women, the Ministry added. Under the scheme, loans are provided between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore to SC/ST and women borrowers for greenfield enterprises in manufacturing, services or the trading sector and activities allied to agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, from the launch of the scheme in April 2016 to March 21, 2023, Rs 40,710 crore were sanctioned to 180,636 accounts. While 26,889 entrepreneurs under SC category were sanctioned Rs 5,625.50 crore loans, businesspersons under ST category were sanctioned Rs 1,932.50 crore loans since its launch in April 2016. And, most of these loans were sanctioned to women entrepreneurs---Rs 33,152.43 crore to 1,44,787 women.

Purpose behind launch of scheme

To encourage entrepreneurship among SCs, STs and women, the Stand-Up India scheme was launched. The scheme wants entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in greenfield areas

“The scheme has created an ecosystem which facilitates and continues to provide a supportive environment for setting up green field enterprises through access to loans from bank branches of all Scheduled Commercial Banks," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on the 7th anniversary of Stand-Up India scheme. She added, “Stand-Up India Scheme has proved to be an important milestone in promoting entrepreneurship among SC, ST, and women."

The Minister claimed that the scheme has touched numerous lives by ensuring access to hassle-free affordable credit to unserved and underserved segments of entrepreneurs. The scheme encourages entrepreneurs to showcase their entrepreneurial skills while at the same time motivating them to create a strong ecosystem by being job creators and contributors of economic growth in the country.

Why Stand-Up India?

To ensure that women, SCs and STs do not face problems in obtaining loans or seeking other support from time to time in setting up enterprises, businesses or start up companies, the Stand-Up India was launched.

In that way, the scheme aims at creating an ecosystem which facilitates and continues to provide a supportive environment to the people at the grassroot level in doing business in a hassle-free manner.

To make the availability of funding for ventures undertaken by women, SCs and STs effective and non-cumbersome, the scheme encourages all scheduled commercial banks to extend loans to the people from the targeted segment of the society. However, there are conditions. Entrepreneurs will have to set up their businesses in greenfield projects---that means first time venture in manufacturing, services or the trading sector or the activities allied to agriculture.


The Stand-Up India scheme is in high demand. Loans under the scheme are given at the interest rate which is the lowest applicable rate compared to other loans, giving entrepreneurs much needed encouragement to start their own ventures. Moreover, as per the Ministry, it has played an instrumental role in improving the living standards of entrepreneurs, their employees and family members in the country.

*** The writer is Bachelor in Science (Economics) from IIT Bombay ; views expressed here are his own