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One of the defining movements of the 20 the century had been the

relentless struggle for gender equality, led mostly by women but supported

by growing number of men. When this struggle will finally succeeds, it

may mark a milestone in human progress. And along the way it will change

most of today’s premises for social, economic and political life. Human

development, if not engendered, is endangered because human

development is a process of enlarging the choices for all people and such a

process becomes unjust if most women are excluded from its benefits. The

World Development Report 2012 is exclusively for Gender Equality and

Development and observed that lives of girls and women have changed

dramatically over the past quarter of century. The pace of change has been

astonishing in some areas but in areas of gender equality, it has been

limited even in developed countries. They insisted that gender equality and

development should be the core development objective because it has a

smart economics of increased productivity, better development outcomes

for future and participatory institutions.

Since the last two or three decades women of India are coming out

of their veil and playing prominent roles in various vistas of our country.

However, among the entrepreneurs fair sex is a rare case mainly because in

India women are bounded with family duties and they have no property

rights and accessibility to institutional finance. Globalization and media

revolution have changed the status of women and their ascribed roles.

Women nowadays view entrepreneurship as a challenge to prove their

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powers, to do something meaningful in life, to become economically

independent or even as a means of better livelihood. The emergence of

women entrepreneurship and their present status are dealt in this chapter

under nine subtitles viz., (a) changing status of women, (b) the concept of

entrepreneurship, (c) gender development measures, (d) women

empowerment, (e) women entrepreneurs in the world, (f) women

entrepreneurs in India, (g) women entrepreneurs in Kerala, (h) women

entrepreneurs of 21st century, (i) manufacturing sector in India/Kerala and

(j) conclusions.


“When women move forward, the family moves, the village moves

and the nation moves” as said by Nehru are accepted without acrimony by

many today. Employment gives economic status to women. Economic

status improves social status and thereby ensures empowerment to women.

Since the turn of the century, the status of women in India has been

changing due to growing industrialization, urbanization, spatial mobility

and social legislation. Over the years, more number of women are going

for higher or technical and professional education and their proportion in

the labour force has also increased.

With the spread of education and awareness, women have shifted

their work place from kitchen premises and cottage industries to non-

traditional and techno-savvy activities. During the 1970s in the decade of

the International Women’s Year, efforts to promote self-employment

among women received greater attention from the government and private

agencies. The New Industrial Policy of the Government of India had laid

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special emphasis on the need for conducting special entrepreneurial

training programmes for women to enable them to start their own ventures.

Financial institutions and banks had also set up special cells to assist

women entrepreneurs. The result had been the emergence of a new brand

of women entrepreneurs on the economic scene, though the number of

enterprises initiated by them is still quite low. Women’s entrepreneurship

has remained a much neglected field.

Almost half of the population of our country is comprised of women

while businesses owned and operated by them constitute less than five

percent. This is a reflection on social, cultural as well as economic

distortions in the decades of development. In fact, women’s contribution

and participation in economic activity and production of goods and

services are much greater than what statistics reveal, since much of it takes

place in the informal sector and households or in other nonmonetised areas.

As education has spread and compulsions for earning have grown,

more and more women have started to go out of the homes and opt for

wage employment and self or entrepreneurial career. However, for women

there are several handicaps to enter into and manage business ownership

due to the stigma and taboos of conservative and orthodox Indian society.

Entrepreneurship happens to be one of the best ways towards self

sufficiency and poverty alleviation for women in a county where

employment is not guaranteed. The women entrepreneurs need not be

highly educated. It is enough if they possess basic knowledge,

entrepreneurial skills and the knowledge of the system. And also

entrepreneurship is a more suitable profession than regular employment in

public and private sectors, since they have to fulfill dual roles. The

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emergence of nuclear families and diversification of labour activities have

resulted in the non-availability of servants, limited baby care facilities at

home and work is pushing women towards entrepreneurial activities.

Women entrepreneurship is the process where women take lead and

organize a business or industry and provide employment opportunities to

others. Though women entrepreneurship is a recent phenomenon in India

which came into prominence in late 1970’s, now more and more are

venturing as entrepreneurs in all kinds of business and service sector.


The term ‘Entrepreneur” is rooted in the French word,

‘Entreprendre’ which means ‘to undertake’. The term was first used as a

technical economic term by the 18th

century French economist Richard

Cantillon, a French banker. He defined that an entrepreneur is the agent

who organises factors of production at certain prices for production and

exchange. He is the economic agent who mobilises all means of

production-land of one, the labour of another and the capital of yet another

and thus produces a product, selling the product in the market, pays rent of

land, wages to labour, interest on capital and what remains is his profit.

From this definition we may say that an entrepreneur is an individual or

group of individuals who creates something new, unites various factors of

production and bears risk in the operation of a business enterprise. An

entrepreneur is invariably defined as one who assumes the financial risk of

the initiation, operation and management of a business undertaking, who

assumes the risk to start a business with the idea of making a profit, an

individual who organizes and manages labour, capital and natural resources

to produce goods and services to earn a profit, but who also runs the risk of

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failure, and accepts both the risks and the opportunities involved in

creating and operating a new business venture.

Kamala Singh (1992) defined women entrepreneur as a confident,

innovative and creative women capable of achieving economic

independence individually or in collaboration, who generates employment

opportunities for others through imitating, establishing and running an

enterprise by keeping pace with her personal, family and social life.

According to David Ricardo the prime motive of the entrepreneur is to

accumulate and without that motive there should be no accumulation to

facilitate capital formation and economic development. To Rostow,

entrepreneur is a bearer of borrower’s risk. F.H. Knight views that

entrepreneur is an uncertainty bearer. According to John E. Tropman and

Gersh Morning Star, the entrepreneur is a combination of thinker and doer.

Peter Drucker defines an entrepreneur as one who always searches for

change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity. Entrepreneurs

innovate. Innovation is a specific instrument of entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur is undertaking all the functions of organiser –

organising, mobilising, implementing, monitoring, follow-up and benefit

taking of an enterprise. Basically she is innovative and energetic with risk

taking and leadership skills. In a small scale enterprise an entrepreneur

bears all these functions. But for large corporate entities, employees,

management and owners are altogether different. Innovative entrepreneurs

inside an enterprise is intrapreneur. Firms promote such intrapreneurs who

take the firms ahead of others with original ideas and insights. Original

entrepreneurs can be the founders and kingpin of a firm who may

profitably rely on intrapreneurs for their innovativeness.

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2.2.1 Concept of Women Entrepreneur

Women entrepreneur can be a woman or a group of women who

initiate, organise and operate a business enterprise. According to the

Schumpeterian concept of innovative entrepreneurs, women who innovate,

imitate or adopt a business activity are called women entrepreneurs.

The Government of India notes women entrepreneur as an

enterprise owned and controlled buy a woman having a minimum financial

interest of 51 per cent of the capital and giving at least 51 per cent of the

employment generated in the enterprise to women. With effect from the 6th

February 1992 the definition of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Enterprises is

small scale industrial units\industry related service or business enterprise

managed by one or more women entrepreneurs in proprietary concerns, or

in which she\they individually or jointly have a share capital of not less

than 51 per cent as partners\shareholders\Directors of private limited

company\members of Co-operative Society.

Thus an entrepreneur is one who detects and evaluates the new

situation to her environment and directs the making of such adjustment in

economic system, as it views necessary. A good entrepreneur possesses

innovative thinking and thus she discovers new methods and utilizes them

in order to make new contributions. In other words, an entrepreneur is one

who co-ordinates the factors of production and conducts business activities

by taking all responsibilities.

2.2.2 Types of Women Entrepreneurs

Dr.V.G. Patel, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Development

Institute of India, Ahmedabad opined that a major stratification of women

entrepreneurs could be made as following.

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a) Chance Entrepreneurs: These entrepreneurs start business without any

preparation, clear goals or plans. They happen to grab the

opportunities which they come across.

b) Forced Entrepreneurs: These entrepreneurs start business due to some

mishaps in their families like death of father or husband, divorce etc.

c) Created Entrepreneurs: These entrepreneurs are properly identified,

motivated, encouraged and developed through Entrepreneurship

Development Programme as a part of a strategy to develop women as

competent entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs in general can be classified on the basis of traits,

forms of business organisation, nature of work etc. Nine personality types

of entrepreneurs are the (a) improver, (b) adviser, (c) superstar, (d) artist or

creative, (e) visionary, (f) analysts, (g) fireball, (h) hero and (i) healer.

Based on the business type, entrepreneurs are trading entrepreneur,

industrial entrepreneur, corporate entrepreneur and agricultural

entrepreneur. Technical and professional entrepreneurs have technical

skill. On the basis of motivation, entrepreneurs are induced, motivated,

pure and spontaneous. First generation entrepreneurs are innovators and

risk bearers while modern entrepreneurs are capturing opportunities in a

dynamic world and classic entrepreneurs are satisfied with consistent

returns than growth. Based on gender, there are man and woman

entrepreneurs like small and large scale entrepreneurs based on scale of


Starting a company is a self expression for an entrepreneur. Her

ideas, insight, urge, operation and character are cutting across different

classes of entrepreneurs. In fact some entrepreneur may have the

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characteristics of different classes according to the nature of work and scale

of operation demand. It makes pure compartmentalisation and

classification of entrepreneurship tedious.

2.2.3 Changing Scenario of Women Entrepreneurship

Gone are the days, when a man could boast of being capable of

feeding the whole family. Now the scenario is changing fast with

modernization, urbanization and development of education and business.

Women are now seeking gainful employment in several fields in increasing

numbers. Some of the women have distinguished themselves in many

unconventional fields as Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Space

Scientists, Pilots, Vice Chancellors and Administrators.

With the spread of education and new awareness, women

entrepreneurs are spreading their wings to higher levels. Entrepreneurship

for women can be planned and developed and the need for providing

appropriate awareness and environment to promote entrepreneurship has

vital importance.

Entrepreneurial spirit is not gender specific. Research on

entrepreneurship has unequivocally established that entrepreneurial spirit is

evenly spread across the population irrespective of caste, creed, gender and

religion. It is a different matter if people belonging to some castes and

regions have achieved sterling successes than others. The variances in the

achievements may largely be due to the variances in the socio cultural

context, political support and economic climate.

Indian society is a developing society. It is passing through

transitional stages. The attitude of women is not as rigidly unfavorable as

it was in the society. Women are trying hard to establish themselves as

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Entrepreneurs. Before independence, women were engaged mostly in

agriculture, household duties or at the most in family’s trade activities.

The social constraints and attitudes inhibit the development of women

entrepreneurs. The atmosphere in which they have to work and attitude of

the society altogether were keeping them away from the active work of

entrepreneurship. Even if they were holding any position, they were

secondary. Management was in the hands of men. The year 1975 was

declared International year for Women. During the decade, several

governmental and voluntary agencies had carried out symposia,

conferences and workshops to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship

for women. These conferences and workshops gave impetus to

development of women entrepreneurs. The main topics discussed were

status of women entrepreneurs, woman and non governmental efforts,

governmental measures to promote industries, development of appropriate

technology, role of consultancy and training and role of financial

institutions. At the end of women’s decade, efforts with regard to the

development of women entrepreneurship had considerably improved.


Even after Independence and the constitutional guarantee of gender

equality, in 1950, the condition of women in India continued to remain

marginalized in all the socio economic, educational and political fields.

This was brought out very sharply by the Report of the Committee on the

Status of Women in India in the early 70’s which revealed that in some

domains, for instance employment, the situation had deteriorated. Gender

disparity and\discrimination shown to women emerged as a major issue.

While initially the approach at redressal was more ‘welfare oriented’, in the

succeeding decades, it shifted to the development of women and in 1980's

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and onwards, the shift took place from development to the empowerment

and autonomy of women. Empowerment is a continuous process of

realizing the goals of equality, human liberation and freedom. Women's

empowerment implies equality of opportunity and equity between the

genders, ethnic groups, social classes and age groups, collective

participation in different spheres of life etc. The major landmark in the

field of women empowerment was brought about by 73rd

and 74th

amendments in the first half of the 90's in which 33% reservation to the

women in the Panchayats and Municipalities was made mandatory.

The two most commonly used gender related indices are the Gender

Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Index (GEM) of

the United Nations Development Programme. The GDI is concerned with

basic capabilities and living standards. It uses the same variables as the

HDI, but focuses on the inequality between men and women as well as on

the average achievement of all people taken together. The GEM is

concerned with economic, political and professional participation. It uses

the percentage of seats held in parliament by women, the percentage of

women administrators and managers, and the percentage of women

professional and technical workers and the earned income share of women,

as indicators. As per the UNDP's Human Development Report (HDR)

2011, India ranks 134 out of 187 countries ranked on the basis of their HDI

and 129 for the Gender Inequality Index. Attempts made to construct

Human Development Index’s within the country show that among the

major states in India, Kerala ranked at the top in the GDI. The lowest rank

was accorded to Bihar, followed by Uttar Pradesh. There had been a

substantial improvement in the GDI in Kerala in tandem with the HDI.

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Kerala is the land of women in India with the highest sex ratio of

1084 females for 1000 males among the states. In 2001 it was only 1059.

In Kerala women are treated equally with men and improving their status.

Among the districts of Kerala, Alappuzha ranked first with respect to GDI

even though it has been in the fourth position with respect to HDI.

Eranakulam and Thrissur came second and third respectively. Malappuram

is in the lowest position with respect to GDI and HDI as well. Kozhikode

District, which is in the eighth position in HDI, ranked thirteenth with

respect to GDI. The district-wise GDI and HDI, 2001 for Kerala is given

in the Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 District-wise GDI and HDI – 2001

Sl. No. District GDI GDI Rank HDI HDI


1 Thiruvananthapuram 0.743 9 0.773 9

2 Kollam 0.764 6 0.787 6

3 Pathanamthitta 0.765 5 0.795 4

4 Alappuzha 0.777 1 0.794 4

5 Kottayam 0.765 4 0.796 2

6 Idukki 0.742 11 0.754 12

7 Ernakulam 0.775 2 0.801 1

8 Thrissur 0.766 3 0.794 5

9 Palakkad 0.743 10 0.761 10

10 Malappuram 0.689 14 0.749 14

11 Kozhikode 0.730 13 0.781 8

12 Wynad 0.736 12 0.753 13

13 Kannur 0.755 7 0.783 7

14 Kasaragod 0.744 8 0.760 11

15 Kerala 0.746 N.A 0.773 N.A

Source: Human Development Report 2005, Kerala

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Even though the gender in terms of basic capabilities is much lower

in Kerala than in other States in India, indicators of well-being in non-

conventional terms such as mental health, crime against women, political

participation or property rights have shown opposite trends. High rates of

literacy and impressive levels of female education did not translate into

rapid growth of paid employment for women or into upward occupational


The Global Gender Gap Index 2011 (World Economic Forum)

examines the gap between women and men in four fundamental categories:

economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political

empowerment and health and survival. India is placed in the bottom half

of the global rankings, holding the 113th

position out of the 135 economies

covered in the Global Gender Gap Index 2011. India holds near to the last

position (131th

) in the health and survival sub index. Ranks for educational

attainment, health and survival and political empowerment are 121, 134

and 19 respectively.

In the economic participation and opportunity sub index, India holds


rank with 60% of the gender gap in this category. Women’s labour

force participation (35%) is half of the labour force participation rate of

men (85%). Women’s estimated earned annual income is less than a third

of men’s income. Though women hold 11 percent of the positions in

parliament and 10 percent of ministerial level positions, they placed India

in 19th

position on political empowerment in the world. An important

determinant of a country’s competitiveness is its human talent-the skills,

education and productivity of its workforce. And women account for one

half of the potential talent base throughout the world. Therefore a nation’s

competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and

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utilizes its female talent. To maximize its competitiveness and

development potential, each country should strive for gender equality-that

is, to give women the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as



Empowerment is a process to increase individual’s intrinsic task

motivation. In the context of women entrepreneurs, empowerment will

mean enhancing intrinsic motivation to involve in entrepreneurial ventures.

Change agents, family members and policymakers can make integrated

efforts to influence entrepreneurs' work role, competence, self

determination, and choice. UNO in Beijing Declaration of Women (1995)

held that women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of

equality in all spheres of society including participation in the decision

making process and access to power are fundamental for the achievement

of equality, development and peace. Gender equality and empowerment of

women are among the Millennium Development Goals declared by UNDP.

Empowerment of women is a process, a continuum of several inter

related and mutually reinforcing components. UNDP’s Gender in

Development Policy (GIDP) has interpreted empowerment of women in a

comprehensive manner. The policy aims at, among other things, providing

women with access to empowering facilities like education and training.

Equally important is the provision of good health because good health is an

essential prerequisite not only for women’s participation in economic

activities but also for their better control. Global Employment Trends 2012

of ILO found though 29 million jobs were lost in the world by 2011, in

India rate of growth showed 0.1 per cent increase in number of

employment and 34% in labour productivity. But female labour

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participation declined from 49.4% in 2004 to 37.8% in 2009 in rural and

24.4% to 19.4% in urban areas.

The position of women and their status in any society is an index of

its civilization. Women are to be considered as equal partners in the

process of development. However by centuries of exploitation and

subjugation, Indian women have remained at the receiving end. They have

not been actively involved in the mainstream of development even though

they represented equal proportion of the population and labour force.

Women as an independent target group, account for 495.74 million and

represent 48.3% of the country's population, as per the 2001 census. No

country can achieve its potential without adequately investing and

developing the capabilities of women. In the interest of long-term

development, it is necessary to facilitate their empowerment. In many

developing countries, including India, women have much less access to

education, jobs, income and power than men.

Women's empowerment can be understood as a process whereby

women, individually and collectively, become aware of how power

structures, processes and relationships operate in their lives and gain the

self confidence and strength to challenge the resulting gender inequalities.

Linked to this was the recognition that provision of resources and services

could not tackle the root causes of gender inequality. Women need to be

able to assert their own agency to break out of gender discrimination.

Even in a country like Nigeria, there is increasing realization of the

critical role of women in agriculture and food production and of the fact

that the empowerment of women is necessary for bringing about

sustainable development at a faster pace. Various studies have shown that

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women produced 60 to 80 per cent of the food in most of the developing

countries and are responsible for half of the world's food production.

A large number of programmes in the areas of self-employment,

welfare and security and even empowerment of women have been designed

and implemented in the country. The programmes encouraging

entrepreneurship among women will require more change in societal

attitudes than a mere creation of additional employment opportunities for

women. These programmes should go beyond subsidies and credit

allocation to change in attitude, group and association formation, training

in both managerial skills and technical skills and other support services.

Scheme\programmes pioneered by the Government and NGOs are playing

considerable role in providing employment to women and making them

independent and self-reliant. In short, if this trend is maintained the

women participation is likely to increase in total small scale units by the

turn of the century.


There is no internationally recognized definition for

entrepreneurship and as a result, women entrepreneurs can refer equally to

someone who has started a one-woman business, to someone who is

principal in a family business or partnership, or to someone who is a

shareholder in a publicly held company which she runs. Definitions used

by countries to collect and/or disseminate data on women and men’s

entrepreneurship include concepts such as owners, managers, self-

employed, and employees but different approaches are often used when

these concepts are defined and put into the context of entrepreneurship.

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Every country tries to achieve maximum economic development.

The entrepreneur is the central figure in the process of development. Many

developing countries have realized the importance of entrepreneurs and

earnest attempts are now made to motivate industrial entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs are making a significant impact in all

segments of the economy of Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Austria and

U.S. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, hotels,

cleaning, education, insurance etc. With improving supporting conditions,

the share of women owned enterprise in the United States has risen from

7.1 percent in 1977 to 32 percent in 1990. It is likely to reach to 50 percent

by the turn of the 20th century.

2.5.1 Women Population and Density

The World Population in 2011 is 646 crores and the population of

India is 121 crores. India is the second most populous country in the world,

sustaining 17.5 per cent of the world’s population.

The World Population Density in 2004 was 49 persons per sq.km

and it was 363 persons per sq.km in India (World Development Report

2006). The density of population in low, middle and high-income

countries are 80, 44 and 30 respectively. Higher population density puts

greater pressure on infrastructure and environment but reduces the per

capita costs of supply of public goods and services

Table 2.2 shows data on percentage share of women in self-

employment in selected countries under United Nations Economic

Commission for Europe (2001) as reported by the respective national

statistical offices. In almost all the countries, the share of women among

the self-employed is higher than employers and own-account workers. The

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share of women compared to men is below 50% in all countries and

categories (except Moldova and Georgia).

Table 2.2 Women as a Percentage of Men in Self Employment,

Employers and Own Account Workers, 2001








and own










and own



1 Republic of

Moldova 52.1 48.0 19 Netherlands 34.4 n.a.

2 Georgia 50.0 33.0 20 Greece 34.3 25.6

3 Romania 48.9 31.9 21 Belarus 34.0 32.9

4 Russian

Federation 43.9 44.9

22 Canada 33.9 33.4

5 Kyrgyzstan 43.8 41.7 23 Turkey 33.9 12.0

6 Latvia 42.0 37.8 24 Hungary 33.0 30.9

7 Portugal 41.0 39.8 25 Finland 32.6 32.3

8 The FYR of

Macedonia 40.7 21.9

26 Estonia 32.6 30.2

9 Poland 40.7 36.4 27 Norway 30.9 n.a.

10 Austria 40.5 34.0 28 Israel 29.7 23.9

11 Lithuania 40.5 n.a.

29 Czech

Republic 29.6 27.4

12 Croatia 38.5 30.4 30 Italy 29.0 24.1

13 Serbia and

Montenegro 38.4 n.a.

31 Cyprus 28.1 19.9

14 United States 38.4 n.a. 32 Slovakia 27.8 26.3

15 Slovenia 37.2 26.9 33 Iceland 26.9 26.6

16 Bulgaria 37.0 34.3 34 Armenia 26.9 26.9

17 Belgium 35.2 28.7

35 United

Kingdom 26.0 26.0

18 Luxembourg 34.6 n.a. 36 Ireland 18.1 15.7

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Gender Statistics

Database, 2001

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In Sweden four out of five women entrepreneurs are married and

over half have children. With flexible working hours, it is easier to manage

family commitment. Independence and control were by far the main

reason women choose to work for themselves, followed closely by work-

family balance, flexible hours and satisfaction. Need for more money was

rated as the least preferred.

While two-thirds of self-employed women start their own business,

the rest buy existing firms, and over half of all self-employed women work

from home as against to 32.3 percent of men. Existing researches tell us

that Canada is a global leader when it comes to women entrepreneurship

and that women-owned companies make a significant contribution to their

economy. In 2000, women majority-owned companies represented

17percent of SMES and generated $ 72 billion in revenues and employed

57,0000 people. In the United States, women-owned firms represented

38% of all firms and internationally, women owned firms represented

between 25 percent to 33 percent of the total business organisations.

2.5.2 Tanzanian Women Entrepreneurs

The integrated training programme for women entrepreneurs in the

food processing industry was designed by SIDO and UNIDO, and has been

jointly implemented by the two organizations under the sponsorship of the

Austrian Government since 1993 (UNIDO, 2001). The programme

contributed to the empowerment of Tanzanian women and new products

are on the market with increase in average investment per enterprise by

fivefold. TAFOPA, Tanzanian Food Processors Association created

through the programme, had 220 paying members, a central office and six

regional Offices. Since 1995 the number of micro enterprises had been

growing at the rate of 2.4 percent per year but with low performance

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records. Between 1994 to 1998, 66 percent of the 2140 women trained in

technical and managerial courses had started new businesses and 34

percent expanded existing businesses. Three hundred and twenty new jobs

had been created. The programme was able to create a cadre of self-

sustaining micro entrepreneurs that did not exist five years ago. The

manufacturing sector contributed 11 percent to GDP. The food industries

accounted for 30 percent of the sector activities.

Most of the growth in manufacturing comes from small and medium

sized enterprises and small and medium entrepreneurs produced 50 percent

of the country’s industrial output. This sector also provided employment

for 12 percent of the rural and 34 percent of the urban labour force.

Informal micro-enterprises were increasing by 2.4 percent per year,

particularly in urban areas. Constraints affecting the development of Small

and Medium Entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises included complex

regulations for certification, inadequate financial system and a fragmented

business community.

2.5.3 Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia

In Nepal, it is estimated that women entrepreneurs were less than

one percent of the economically active population. In Sri Lanka, at

informal enterprises it was estimated that 49 percent of the total workforce

was in the informal sector in 1998. In 1987, the formal sector in Pakistan

employed 16 percent of the female labour force while the informal

accounted for 84 percent. However, the participation of women in the

formal sector is increasing in most South Asian Countries, especially as

paid employees in unskilled and low paid work.

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One indicator which is indicative of the minuscule number of

women entrepreneurs is the total percentage of women who are employers.

In Sri Lanka, 0.8 percent of women workers are employers and in the

Maldives that is 1.1 percent. The same figure for Nepal is 0.4 percent,

Pakistan 0.3 percent and Bangladesh 0.1 percent. However, the number of

male employers is also very low in these countries, though they are double

or triple of the number of female employers.


In India, women entry into business is a new phenomenon. Women

entrepreneurship is traced out as an extension of their kitchen activities

mainly to 3 Ps, viz., Pickles, Powder and Pappad. With growing awareness

about business and spread of education among women over the period,

women have started shifting from, 3 PS to engross to 3 modern Es, viz.,

Engineering, Electronics, and Energy and other industries under Integrated

Rural Development Programmes (IRDP). They have excelled in these

activities. Women entrepreneurs are manufacturing solar cookers in

Gujarat, small foundries in Maharashtra and T.V. capacitors in Orissa and

proved beyond doubt that given the opportunities, they can excel their male

counterparts. Women have traditionally played an important role in the

small business development as owners, managers, and workers. They

dominate three important sub-sectors, constituting over 80 per cent of the

employees in textile, clothing and leather production; 75 per cent in food,

beverages and tobacco production and over 60 per cent in wood and wood

processing. Besides, they also act as micro-entrepreneurs and traders in


As per 1981 census, there were only 1,50,000 self-employed women

accounting for 5.2 per cent of the total self-employed persons of the

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country. Majority of them were engaged in the unorganized sector like

agriculture, handicrafts, handlooms and other cottage industries.

Participation of women as industrial entrepreneurs was comparatively a

recent phenomenon, commencing from 1990s onwards. There were more

than 1,53,260 women as industrial entrepreneurs claiming 9.01 per cent of

the total entrepreneurs in India during 1988-89. There were more than

295800 women entrepreneurs claiming 11.2 percent of the total 2.64

million entrepreneurs in India during 1995-96. This was almost double the

percentage of women (5.2 percent) among the total population of self

employed during 1981. Of this, a majority was concentrated in low-paid,

low-skilled, low-technology and low-productivity jobs in the rural and

unorganized sector. During the 11th

Five Year Plan (2007-2012), the total

number of women participation in the total SSI sector was estimated as 10,

63,721 (10.11%). The estimated number of enterprises actually managed

by women was 995141 (9.46 %) in 2007. In the States of Mizoram, Orissa,

Karnataka, Goa, Lakeshadeep, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry, the

share of women employment was significantly higher (more than 20%).

Among the MSME industrial units owned by women entrepreneurs in

India, Kerala tops the list with 1.39 lakh units, followed by Tamil Nadu

with 1.30 lakh units. Lakshadeep had the lowest small scale units owned

by women entrepreneurs.

The new industrial policy (NIP) had stressed the importance of

entrepreneurship among women. The NIP conceded that merely making

larger resource allocation for women within the prevailing pattern and

structure of development would not yield the desired results. The policy

had a strategy for the holistic development of women. This would help to

develop their personality and at the same time improve their economic and

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social conditions. This policy had redefined women’s units as units in

which they had the majority shareholding and management control.

The Department of Small Scale Industry under the Ministry of

Industry, Government of India, had taken the initiative to train one lakh

women entrepreneurs to take up trade-related activities. In the first phase,

it was proposed to undertake the pilot training of 30,000 women

entrepreneurs in six selected centers. Six project lines, including processed

foods, forest produce collection, leather, readymade garments and coir had

been selected, which focus on women entrepreneurs. The experience

gained from the first phase would be used to extend the programme to

other centers.

The Indian woman entrepreneurs thus have the ideal climate for

exhibiting their talents. The government do have the responsibility to

improve the lot of women in economic life and prepare them to participate

in industrial estates as entrepreneurs. On their own part, Indian women

have to overcome their own limitations. It is essential that Indian women

must by ready to reach out for new jobs, new responsibilities and new


2.6.1 Successful Women Entrepreneurs in India

In the emerging era of entrepreneurship, the 1990 became the

decade of women entrepreneurs. They had also demonstrated that

wherever opportunity was found, the enterprising personality engaged the

world around. All of them were reminders that entrepreneurs can happen

anywhere and their ideas pop up everywhere - in traffic jam, on a park

bench or in the kitchen.

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Women entrepreneurs in India had made significant contribution in

all segments of the economy. Rita Singh, founder of the Mescos Group, is

one of the first women entrepreneurs to make it big in the business world.

Although the list of successful women entrepreneurs is quite long, few of

them like Smt. Vimala Pitre in surgical instruments, Smt. Manik Vandrekar

of Leather Crafts, etc are prominent. Even Roman Malkani was listed by

respected Women living in U.S. Ever since the inception of National

awards of Small Entrepreneurs in 1983, 10 women had received special

recognition awards

One of the successful Indian women entrepreneurs Shahnaz Husain is

India’s pioneer in herbal cosmetics. Credited with single-handedly placing

Indian herbals on the world cosmetic map, her success story is that of a

young girl from a conservative Muslim family who rose to become an

international trailblazer in the field of herbals and is by now a legend.

The Shahnaz Husain group of companies has acquired a global

presence, with exports to 132 countries including those in the Middle East,

South-East Asia, Australia and all over Europe. Recently, the company has

been approached by a Fortune 500 investment company to explore business

opportunities. The strategy was one she applied with great success

internationally as well as in India. Interestingly, Shahnaz never advertised

her product, a fact that prompted Harvard in the U.S to probe her marketing

system as a case study. In retrospect, Shahnaz attributes her success to her

sheer grit and determination. Having completed 25 years in the business,

the self-taught marketing miracle reveals her formula for success. In life,

you get what you negotiate. Any woman has the capacity to do what I did-

it does want, what matters is how badly you want it.

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By analyzing the cases of top 10 women entrepreneurs in India, one

can see that whether they owned company by virtue of inheritance or by

daring confidence or even by fate, they led their companies to growth and

glory. The top ten women entrepreneurs in order of their asset are (1)

Savitri Jindal, Chairperson of O.P. Jindal group with $ 12 billion asset and

the richest women in India, (2) Indu Jain, Chairperson of Bennett Coleman

and Company Ltd., the largest media group in India which owns Times of

India and other publications, (3) Anu Aga, Chairperson of engineering

giant Thermax Ltd. who always overcome the continuous tragedies in her

life by the death of her father, husband and fatal accident of son, (4) Kiran

Mazumdar Shaw, Indian biotech queen who started her business in her

garage, shifted to a rented home and banks refused to finance being not

creditworthy, (5) Shobhana Bhartia, daughter of renowned industrialist

K.K. Birla and Vice Chairperson of Hindustan Times group of

publications, (6) Vidya Murkumbi of Shree Renuka Sugars (7) Ekta

Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms Ltd, who heralded vast changes in

entertainment industry, (8) Shahanaz Hussain, the herbal beauty queen who

developed her cosmetic industry virtually from her kitchen to across the

borders, (9) Priya Paul who became President of Park Hotels and Director

of Apeejay Surrendra Group at the age of 24 when her father was

assassinated and (10) Simone Tata, wife of late Naval Tata and

Chairperson of Trent Ltd. of Tata group and founder of Lakme till it

merged with Hindustan Lever.


Women entrepreneurs are rare species in Kerala, but the few have

exploded traditional myths, like gender discrimination, inclusion and

habitual inferiority complex vis-à-vis men. They have braved social taboos

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against female entrepreneurship, erased the gender divide in a challenging

sector like entrepreneurship and proved that women can stand on their own

nail polished feet to carve out Business Empire.

Even though the overall condition and status of women in Kerala by

any social yardstick is considerably better than in other States, the severe

economic crisis confronting the States had a profound influence on the

status of women. The agricultural and traditional sectors, which for many

years have been the predominant employment generating areas for women,

are in the State of definite stagnation. Besides, there has been a dramatic

shift in the cropping pattern that has led to a lower demand for female

labour. Against this backdrop, the concept of entrepreneurship among

women in Kerala assumes vital significance as a potential economic

instrument to generate additional income and employment in the State.

In Alappuzha, 350 women SHGs called Neighbourhood Groups

(NHGs) have been promoted under the Community Development society

(CDS). More than 10,000 very poor women have organized themselves

and initiated thrift and lending operations. Although they started saving

with very low sums, within a year and a half they could muster more than

Rs.20 lakh. With the help of bank loan they have taken up varied income

generating activities, and the repayment rate is 100 percent. "We the

People Award”, instituted to commemorate the 50th year of the formation

of the UNO, was secured by them.

However, the new approach in poverty eradication, Kudumbasree,

is merely an extension of this (SHG) to be implemented by the local

bodies. Micro plans prepared by community Organizers for NHGs

(Comprising of 15-20 families) are consolidated at ward, block and district

levels considering the area-specific problems and needs. Group effort,

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involvement and participation of women at various stages of project

preparation, and implementation can improve many development

programmes. Earlier, when departments and government organizations

had several schemes for women’s welfare and development, the main

problem encountered was the identification and selection of the right

beneficiary. In the present set up, governmental agencies may find it easier

to route their funds through local bodies, and thus only the deserving

persons gets the benefits of the programme.



This is the century of telecom, ITBT and financial institutions.

Women’s expertises in all these industries are emerging and developing as

a force to be reckon with. Many of these new industries are headed and

guided by women who are seen as pioneers and mavericks. The loci of

power have been shifted away from traditional venues of men such as Old

boys Clubs, Golf courses and Cigar smoking rooms to power centers now

being vested with energetic new women upstarts working out off their

homes or on their computer terminals from homes. This new cauldron of

opportunity can become the proverbial melting pot for professionally

trained and enterprising women. There are fewer barriers to overcome, less

pre-conceived notions, fewer well-entrenched assumptions and rules and

lesser gender agenda in the secondary environment.

The transition to the next millennium is where the women will

create new paradigms of being a daughter who takes the responsibility of

her parents, a wife who wishes to create a home and a family, a mother

who takes charge of the children to make them the children of the new

millennium. She is also the entrepreneur who builds an enterprise and

discovers her relevance and meaning of her life in herself. She accepts the

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uniqueness of her identity and is willing to share the space.

Simultaneously with all the dreams of togetherness she searches for

mutuality, dignity and respect. She is also open to a life without marriage

and a parenting without a father. Women entrepreneurs are spreading their

wings to higher altitudes.

Women of today have a new avatar in the free rolling 90’s. She is

the Jill of all trades and her children are tickled by their supermom. In fact,

many sons unhesitatingly describe themselves as ‘Mamma’s boys’, which

in the 90-‘s is no longer considered to be ‘Sissy’ but ‘Savvy’. The

children, especially their sons have decided to break the age old tradition of

following the father’s shoes. Instead, the children of 90’s opt to follow in

their mother’s shoes. For example, Sharmila Tagore inspired her son Saif

to follow her to Bollywood rather than husband Pataudi to Lords.

Similarly, the queen of the chef world, Tarla Dalal’s son Sanjay Dalal, an

MBA degree holder, decides to make his mom’s cooking as a career rather

than to join his father’s industrial equipment business. These mother-son

combination shows that women have been successful in inspiring their son

to follow in their path, where earlier the son were prescribed to ride in their

father’s way.

However, the next millennium offers a space beyond the present

horizon where, instead of hope there is active engagement with the world,

instead of dreams there are commitments, instead of aspirations there are

choices, instead of ideals there are convictions and instead of searching for

bestowal’s and affirmation there is the acknowledgement of one’s own

uniqueness of identity. It is in this discovery that she can create and build

an industrial empire from the first steps that she would have taken.

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In the next millennium, Indian women would have to cross a major

threshold and enter an unknown land. They will have to walk a path where

none existed with a sense to discover. They will have to encounter and live

with excitement and enthusiasm as well as threat, fears, anxieties and

terror. It is the trust in the self, of the resource to be generated, of the

courage to journey forth in a new land; to live through the terrains of

uncharted land that the women of today will shape the new identity. They

will discover the voice, which has been silenced for centuries to sing the

songs of life and living and to discover the joys of experiencing the beauty



Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labour to produce

goods for sale of use. The term may refer to a range of product from

handicraft to hightech, but is most commonly applied to industrial

production. Manufacturing has various categories like chemical,

pharmaceutical, electronics/semiconductor, engineering, food and

beverage, metal working, plastics, textiles, paper, etc.

Manufacturing is a subsector of industrial or secondary sector which

undertakes refining and construction also. Manufacturing sector comprises

of all establishments engaged in mechanical, physical or chemical

transformation of materials, substances or components into new products

by plants, factories or mills by power driven or hand driven equipments.

Modern manufacturing sector consists of power driven industrial

production at large scale by machines and tools. It is basically a wealth

producing sector and provides key material support to build national

infrastructure. In India, contributions of industrial sector to GDP is 29

percent, while that of manufacturing sector is 9.1 percent in 2010-11.

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The overall national industrial sector achieved a growth rate of 8.5

per cent in spite of a slowdown in the first half of 2007-08. But in 2008-09

there was a sharp slowdown as a consequence of successive shocks, the

most important being the knock-on effects of global financial crisis. The

pace of slowdown accelerated in the second half of 2008-09 pushing down

the overall growth of the sector to 2.4 per cent as per the Index of Industrial

Production. 2009-10 data show that the industrial production growth was at

10.4 percent as against 2.8 during the period 2008-09. As against this

national scenario, the experience of Kerala was not bad. During the period

2000-01 to 2008-09, the industrial growth in Kerala recorded a positive

trend except in 2001-02 when it registered a negative growth of 2.88 per

cent at current price (State Planning Board, 2009).

2.9.1 Manufacturing Sector in India

After a decade of reforms, the manufacturing sector is now gearing

up to meet the challenges of the new millennium. Investment in Indian

companies reached at record levels by 1994 and many multinationals

decided to set up industries in India to take advantage of the improved

financial climate. In an effort to provide a further boost to the industrial

manufacturing sector, foreign direct Investment (FDI) has been permitted

through the automatic route for almost all the industries with certain

restrictions. Structural reforms have been undertaken in the excise duty

regime with a view to introduce a single rate and simplify the procedures

and rule. Indian subsidiaries of multinationals have been permitted to pay

royalty to the parent company for license of international brands, etc. Over

the period 1992-93 to 1999-2000, the manufacturing sector has recorded an

average annual growth rate of 6.3 percent and in 2001-02, it recorded a

growth of 2.8 percent. Manufacturing growth was placed at 2.3 percent in

2008-09 compared to nine per cent in 2007-08. But in the year 2009-10

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the manufacturing sector, particularly contributed to the overall strong

performance with a comprehensive growth of 10.9 percent. The revival of

Indian manufacturing has become prominent once we look back to the low

growth of 2.8 per cent registered during the previous fiscal year. It is also

worthwhile to understand the contribution of manufacturing sector in the

state of Kerala in general and Thrissur District in particular.

2.9.2 Manufacturing Sector in Kerala

Industries such as coir, cashew, wood and edible oil continue to

occupy an important place in the industrial economy of Kerala especially

as major employment providers (SPB, 2010). A small segment of large

modern industries based on minerals, chemicals and engineering have also

come up, along with an increasing segment of small and medium

industries, some based on modern technology and management. Kerala

economy has a special feature of agrarian economy transformed directly to

service economy with low level of industrialisation. The state of the

economy reveals more about it. Economy of State

Kerala rejects all stereotypes of "socially backward" Indian states

with swathes of people living in abject poverty, men outnumbering women

because of female foeticide, internecine caste politics etc. Many of its

social indicators are on par with the developed world and it has the highest

Human Development Index in India. It also has the highest literacy rate

(more than 90%) and life expectancy in India, lowest infant mortality,

lowest school drop-out rate, and a fairly prosperous countryside. In

contrast to India's more prosperous states, like Punjab and Haryana, Kerala

can boast a very healthy gender ratio - women outnumbering men. Life

expectancy for women is also higher than for men, as in most developed

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countries. Thanks to a matrilineal society, women, by and large, are more

empowered than in most places in India.

According to the Global Hunger Index 2008, the severity of hunger

situation in Kerala is “serious”, which is worse than the grade “alarming”

received by many Indian States. Kerala’s low GDP and productivity

figures juxtaposed with higher development figures is often dubbed the

Kerala Phenomenon or the Kerala Model of development by economists,

political scientists and sociologists. Some describe Kerala’s economy as a

'democratic socialist welfare State' but some others use the term 'Money

Order Economy'. Kerala’s economic progress is above the national

average. But relatively a few Corporations and manufacturing plants are

headquartered in Kerala. Work participation rate and degree of

industrialisation are low in Kerala in the midst of high literary and health


Kerala has certain unique demographic characteristics. As per 2011

Census, the density of population for India as a whole is 382 persons per

sq.km whereas in Kerala it is 859 persons per esq. Among the Indian

States, Kerala is in third position with respect to density, the first being

west Bengal (904) and the second Bihar. Kerala has the highest literacy

rate (94per cent) and sex ratio (1084 women per 1000 men) with lowest

infant mortality rate at 9 deaths per 1000 births against the national average

of 42 deaths per 1000 births, and lowest population growth rate of 9.4 per

cent against the national average of 21.3 per cent.

Around 30 lakh Keralities are working abroad mainly in Gulf

countries or middle east countries, making Kerala Economy largely

depended on remittances. Remittances from global capitalism are carrying

the whole Kerala economy. Unemployment recently dropped from 19.1

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per cent in 2003 to 9.4 per cent in 2007. Underemployment, low

employability of youths, and low (13.5 per cent) female participation rate

are chronic issues. One more concern is that Kerala government is running

one of the highest deficit States in India.

Kerala’s growth rate in the year 2008-09 was 6.98 per cent, slightly

above the National growth rate of 6.7 per cent at constant price. Growth

rate of GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) during 2008-09 was

Rs.1,89,840.82 crore. As much as 60.94% of Kerala's GSDP was

contributed by tertiary sector. Secondary sector accounted for 24.5% and

primary sector just 14.47% of GSDP during 2008-09.

During the period 2000-01 to 2008-09, the industrial growth in

Kerala was positive except in 2001.02 with a negative growth of 2.88 per

cent at current prices. The average growth rate for the period 2000-01 to

2007-08 was 4.64 per cent and 9.02 per cent at constant and current prices

respectively. The manufacturing growth was placed at 2.3 per cent in

2008-09 as against 5.1 per cent in 2007-08. The contribution of

manufacturing sector to GSDP at current prices was eight per cent during


The State has the third highest number of Small Scale Industries in

India, employing over a million people. Majority of the small scale

industries are agro-based and are engaged in rubber, food, coir and cashew

processing. The State policy is keen to nurture its manufacturing sector

and has proposed measures for technology upgradation and process

improvements. The total number of working SSI units registered in

Kerala as on 31st March 2009 is 204381, of which 7068 are promoted by

Scheduled Castes, 1433 by scheduled Tribes, 44116 by women and 151764

by others. The total investment is Rs.656849.48 lakh and the number of

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employment generated is 770971 and value of goods and services

purchased during the period is Rs.1390054 lakh.

The work participation rate of a state indicates to a greater extent the

economic empowerment of women in the society. The status of women is

intimately connected with their economic position, which in turn depends

on opportunities for participation in economic activities. Kerala, which

ranks first among the Indian States in terms of Human Development Index

(HDI) and Gender Development Index (GDI) presents however, a poor

picture in terms of female work participation. Though, Kerala had

acclaimed to have more exalted status for women in the areas of education,

life expectancy and health, it remained almost secluded from the economic

sphere due to poor or low work participation rate. The work participation

rate of women in Kerala is lower than the national average as well as those

of other Southern States. The total workforce in Kerala, according to the

2001 Census estimates is around 10.3 millions out of which 7.8 millions

are males and only 2.5 millions are females showed in the Table 2.3.

Table 2.3 Workforces in Kerala, 1991-2001 – Gender-wise


No. Year Area Male


share Female



1 1991 Rural

5033254 73.2 1838853 26.8

2 2001 5750087 74.9 1925009 25.1

3 1991 Urban

1765596 77.6 508415 22.4

4 2001 2040435 78.0 575727 22.0

5 1991 Total

6798850 74.3 2347268 25.7

6 2001 7790522 75.7 2500736 24.3

Source: Census of India 2001, Government of India.

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As per Table 2.3 the workforce share of male increased during

1991-2001 at both rural and urban areas. But female share in workforce

had consistently declined in both regional classifications. Kerala occupied

only the 19th

position with regard to women’s work participation rate in

India as low as 24.3 percent. The total work participation has increased in

the last decade (Census 2001) in both urban and rural areas of the state, but

in the case of women a reverse trend has set in. The female work

participation rate has decreased from 25.7 per cent in 1991 to 24.3 per cent

in 2001. This indeed is one of the unpleasant realities that force the

womenfolk to raise voice for the higher social development of the state for


Kerala remains an industrially backward State as compared to other

states of India, even after the completion of the 10th five-year plan. The

State had laid greater emphasis on the traditional and small-scale industries

in the early years of five year plans, in view of the special features and

problems of the State and also by the possibility of providing greater

employment opportunities to the masses. But the traditional sector is

struggling hard even for its existence, in spite of the concerted efforts for

its development through various programmes. Alongside, due attention

was bestowed on medium and large scale industries also. The

establishment of a large number of Public Sector Undertakings also could

not achieve the desired level of development on the industrial front. To

overcome the slackness in the industrial sector, a major shift in emphasis

was made especially from the Ninth plan onwards. The role of government

has been changed from a provider to a facilitator for industrial investment.

Since then a number of schemes have been evolved and implemented with

a view to attracting more and more private investment to the State. These

include providing infrastructure facilities and creating a conducive

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atmosphere for industrial investment. At the same time efforts at

maintaining the tempo of investment in the traditional sector have

continued with the aim of bringing about its technology upgradation,

diversification and modernization.

The growth of manufacturing sector in Kerala during 2004-05 to

2009-2010 is given in Table 2.4. As per the Table 2.4 the average growth

rate for the period 2004-05 to 2009-10 was 10.56 per cent and 16.15 per

cent at constant and current prices respectively. The contribution of

manufacturing sector to GSDP at current price is 9.32 percent during 2009-


Table 2.4 Growth of Manufacturing Sector in Kerala (GSDP), 2004-



No. Year


(Rs. crores)


Sector (Rs.




Manufacturing Sector

Growth Rate (%)

At constant


At current


1 2004-05 119264 10220 8.56 NA NA

2 2005-06 136842 10920 7.98 02.08 6.85

3 2006-07 153785 12294 7.99 07.12 12.58

4 2007-08 175141 15082 8.61 17.76 22.67

5 2008-09 201020 (P) 17865 (P) 8.88 11.21 18.46

6 2009-10 230316 (Q) 21477 (Q) 9.32 14.65 20.21

Source: Department of Economics and Statistics, Economic Review 2010

Q = Quick Estimates, P = Provisional Estimates

The total number of Industrial Co-operative Societies registered as

on March 2010 is 768. Of these, seven new societies were registered

during 2009 and seven were registered in 2010-11. Out of 768 co-

operatives, 149 societies were promoted by SC entrepreneurs, 39 by ST

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entrepreneurs, 252 by women and 328 by others. Out of the 252 women

industrial Co-operative societies in Kerala, 20 units were in Thrissur

District. The number of Industrial Co-operative Societies in Kerala as on

31-03-2010 are given in the Table 2.5.

Table 2.5 Working Industrial Co-operative Societies in Kerala, 2010

Sl. No. Districts SC ST Women Others Total

1 Thiruvananthapuram 15 7 20 46 88

2 Kollam 19 0 18 27 64

3 Pathanamthitta 6 1 6 7 20

4 Alappuzha 14 1 11 10 36

5 Kottayam 7 1 17 17 42

6 Idukki 2 0 4 3 9

7 Ernakulam 1 4 22 18 45

8 Thrissur 8 0 20 27 55

9 Palakkad 31 1 25 21 78

10 Malappuram 15 0 23 15 53

11 Kozhikode 3 0 5 16 24

12 Wayanad 3 11 4 10 28

13 Kannur 24 12 64 98 198

14 Kasaragod 1 1 13 13 28

15 State 149 39 252 328 768

Source: Economic Review 2010 Role of Women in Kerala's Development

Historically Kerala has been quite different from the rest of the

country in terms of the indicators of women’s development. They are

unique in several respects when compared to their counterparts in other

States. Women constitute more than half (51 per cent) of the total

population of Kerala. It is the only State where women dominate men in

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number with a favorable sex ratio of 1084 in 2001 census. This should be

compared to the all India figures, which stood at 940 in 2001. The 2001

census reflects that Kerala is the only Indian State where the sex ratio is

high and it is worth mentioning that Kerala had never a female-male ratio

below unity at any time in the century. Similarly in terms of literacy, and

mean age at marriage, women in Kerala score higher than any other State

in the country. In 1950 when India became a democratic republic, the

female literacy rate at the national level was merely 7.9 per cent and

Kerala’s female literacy at that time was four times higher (32 per cent).

Similarly in 1950, the female life expectancy at the national level was only

31.7 years, while it was 42.3 years in Kerala. Thus historically favorable

ground was set for Kerala women while most of the Indian States were

deplorably poor in this regard. Perhaps this paved the way for the

outstanding achievement of Kerala in terms of women’s development, and

as a result, the increase in the human development. Today Kerala’s female

literacy is 92 percent (65 per cent at the national level) and life expectancy

is 72.4 years (60.4 years at the national level). Kerala has the highest

mean age at marriage for women. Early marriage is often interpreted as a

negation of women’s autonomy and independence. In many states, the

mean age at marriage is less than the stipulated minimum of 18 years.

Similarly Kerala has the lowest total fertility rate and lowest percentage of

women with anemia. Kerala’s maternal mortality rate is also much lower

than the all India average even though a few States have still lower rates.

Kerala’s female infant mortality is significantly lower than all other States.

All these clearly indicate the better health status of Kerala women.

Kerala’s achievement in human development is in fact the outcome

of the better status of women in terms of education and health. States such

as Haryana and Punjab which have very high levels of economic

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development and per capita income have greater gender disparity and

lower overall levels of human development compared to Kerala. Also the

degree of gender empowerment as measured by GEM is much lower in

these States compared to Kerala.

The National Human Development Report 2001 defines gender

Development in terms of Gender Equality Index (GEI). It gives the

attainments of women as a proportion of men for the same set of variables

used in the construction of HDI. Thus the average attainments of women

were the highest in Kerala (83 per cent of the attainments of men), while at

the national level it was only 68 per cent.

Thus in terms of female literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality,

health conditions and social and political awareness, the women of Kerala

are far superior compared to their counterparts in other States. Even in the

higher education and professional education sectors women out number

men in the State. These peculiar characteristics, have contributed

favourably to the consciousness of Kerala women of their existence and

rights at work site. On the entrepreneurial front, the number of women

entrepreneur has been increased. Female work participation Rate

According to the 2001 census Malappuram continued to be the

district with the lowest female workforce participation rate (6.6%) in the

state, in rural as well as in urban areas, while, work participation among

females is highest in Kozhikode. It is worth noting that most of the districts

have witnessed a fall in the work participation rate, which is more

pronounced in the rural areas. It appears that conditions determining female

activity vary considerably among rural and urban areas, as well as among

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the districts. The work participation rate in the districts of Kerala is

showed in the Table 2.6.

Table 2.6 Work Participation Rates in Kerala - District wise, 2001 (in %)

Sl. No. Districts Male Female

1 Kasaragod 49.3 20.8

2 Kannur 50.0 15.2

3 Wayanad 55.7 22.8

4 Kozhikode 48.8 8.1

5 Malappuram 42.8 6.6

6 Palakkad 52.2 21.1

7 Thrissur 50.8 15.1

8 Ernakulam 55.4 17.1

9 Idukki 58.4 28.1

10 Kottayam 52.4 13.9

11 Alappuzha 49.7 20.2

12 Pathanamthitta 47.6 13.2

13 Kollam 48.5 16.7

14 Thiruvananthapuram 51.5 14.4

15 KERALA 50.4 15.3

Source: Census of India, 2001

The female participation rate in workforce is miserably low at 15.3

percent in the state while male has 50.4 percent, which is also lower at

national average but higher than the females of Kerala. The highest

participation rates for both males and females are at Idukki district and

lowest at Malappuram.

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There exists gross mismatch between women’s capabilities gained

in terms of education and the opportunities that they have in terms of

employment or social involvement in Kerala. This is a paradox with

regard to women development in Kerala. On the one hand, one witnesses

commendable growth in different indicators of women, but on the other

hand, presence of women decline sharply in the work force in the state.

Studies have pointed out that, gender discrimination of labour market in

terms of occupational sex-segregation contributed to the lower levels of

economic participation among the women in Kerala. Economic conditions

in the state have been particularly detrimental to opportunities for female

employment. Moreover, the extent of unemployment among female work

seekers has been relatively much higher. All these are indicative of the fact

that there has been significant economic marginalization of women in the

development process of Kerala. This anomaly between positive social

indicators and negative economic indicators of women's role deserves

special investigation. Women Industrial Units in Kerala

Women industries programme was launched in 1975. However, for

various reasons the scheme could not attract number of women to the

industrial arena. Only five units were registered in 1978-79, 201 units in

1980-81 and units in 1985 increased to 1166 and it also increased in 2000

to 12854 units. The Table 2.7 in the year 1990-91 to 99 there is a

continuous increasing the number of industrial units in the State.

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Table 2.7 Progress of Registered Women Industrial Units, 1990-2000

Sl. No. District 90-91 91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 96-97 97-98 98-99 99-00

1 TVM 62 121 87 115 131 174 138 145 106 147

2 KLM 23 52 77 80 95 102 105 110 110 110

3 PTA 46 76 40 42 30 53 77 85 91 89

4 ALP 60 73 77 42 38 91 102 110 112 137

5 KTM 42 65 73 82 101 100 111 120 122 137

6 IDK 52 21 36 44 41 51 60 60 34 51

7 EKM 105 129 76 148 128 162 211 175 128 119

8 TSR 42 69 75 101 98 100 101 125 135 134

9 PKD 43 45 62 73 80 65 59 90 90 69

10 MPM 26 33 35 40 33 84 70 75 59 61

11 KKD 41 38 40 42 60 34 70 80 73 75

12 WYD 7 16 20 29 35 48 44 45 45 40

13 KNR 31 35 30 32 38 50 51 60 61 60

14 KSD 6 7 18 23 23 31 37 45 45 40

15 State 586 780 746 893 931 1145 1236 1325 1211 1269

Source: Industries, Directorate of Industries, Government of Kerala, 2001

Participation of women in the labour force has increased worldwide

during the past few decades. Since most women are actually employed in

some kind of productive work, the issues relating to female employment

are different from those of male employment. Participation of woman in

economic activities outside home has an important bearing on gender

relations within the household. Women’s economic power in relation to

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that of men is considered as the most important dependent variable

affecting gender relations at the household level.

The social influences of women’s work are also quite extensive.

Work opportunities outside home reduce the economic dependence of

women on men and in turn, increase her economic command within the

family. Women’s work outside the household would alter the concept of

male bread winner and would reduce considerably the societal bias

regarding the roles of women that are primarily responsible for

underestimation of women’s work. A woman’s earning gives her access

and control over an independent income, which would make their

economic contribution visible and high.

In the context of female labour force participation, it has been

generally hypothesized that economic growth and education increase

female labour force participation. In Kerala, where economic growth has

been higher than all-India and women are relatively more educated, women

experience one of the lowest female work participation and higher

unemployment compared to the major states in India, especially among the

educated. This is contradictory for a State, which ranks first in Human

Development Index and Gender Empowerment Index among all Indian


Work participation among women in Kerala is 22.9 per cent (NSS

1999-2000), which is one of the lowest in India. This low labour force is

accompanied by high rates of unemployment. Kerala has the highest

incidence of unemployment both for males and females and in rural as well

as urban areas. The overall unemployment rate in Kerala is 12 per cent for

women and 6.5 per cent for men.

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Table 2.8 shows the work participation rate of males and females at

all India and Kerala levels. Comparing the work participation rate (WPR)

of Kerala with the All India pattern, we find that while male work

participation rate in Kerala is higher than India in the last two Rounds of

NSSO both in rural and urban areas whereas the picture is reversed in the

case of rural women. Work participation rate of urban women is higher

than the all-India level showing that education has at least enabled a larger

proportion of women to find employment vis-à-vis women elsewhere. Data

from the 61st NSSO Round (2004-05) also bring out the much lower (than

male) work participation rates of females in Kerala, even among the

educated as shown in Table 2.8.

Table 2.8 Work Participation Rates in Kerala and India, 1993-2005

(in %)


No. Region\Sex

Kerala All-India

1993-94 1999-00 2004-05 1993-94 1999-00 2004-05

1 Rural Male 53.7 55.3 55.9 55.3 53.1 54.6

2 Rural Female 23.8 23.8 25.6 32.8 29.9 32.7

3 Urban Male 55.9 55.8 54.7 52.1 51.8 54.9

4 Urban Female 20.3 20.3 20.0 15.5 13.9 16.6

Source: Various Rounds of the NSSO

Female educated unemployment is a crucial problem in Kerala

particularly among those with secondary school level education. The most

significant aspect of female employment in Kerala is the low proportion of

women employed in the primary sector. In 1999-2000, primary sector

accounted for 46.3 per cent of female employment in rural areas in Kerala

as against 84.5 per cent at the all-India level. The proportion of women

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employed in the secondary sector in Kerala is much higher than the

corresponding all-India figures for women.

In 1999-00, the tertiary sector accounted for almost 25 per cent of

total women employment in rural and urban sectors in Kerala, while at all

India level it declined for rural women from 12 per cent to 6.7 per cent and

increased for urban women to 56.2 per cent. The structural transformation

of women’s economic activity has taken place in the States with primary

sector losing its importance and tertiary sector taking its place. However, a

deeper probing of the non-agricultural activities reveal a large

concentration of women in traditional industries like coir, cashew, beedi,

handloom, khadi, mat and basket weaving in which earnings are low and

conditions of work poor, thus, dampening the extent of transformational


2.9.3 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME)

The enterprises engaged in the manufacture or production of goods

pertaining to any industry specified in the first schedule of the Industries

(Development of and Regulation) Act, 1951 are classified into Micro,

Small, and Medium on the basis of scale of operation or the investment in

fixed assets like plant and machinery. With the enactment of the MSMED

Act, 2006 which came into force on the 2nd

October 2006, the system of

SSI registration has been done away with and the new system of filing of

Entrepreneurs Memorandum (EM) has been introduced. Also the earlier

concept of “Industries “has been changed to enterprises under MSMED

Act 2006.

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108 Micro, Small, Medium Sector in India

The MSME sector is a significant contributor to the Indian

economy. Based on official figures from the Ministry of MSME on

November 2008, this sector contributed eight percent of national GDP,

comprise 50 percent of India’s total manufactured exports, 45 percent of

India’s total industrial employment and 95 percent of all industrial units

(SPB, 2010). The small manufacturing enterprises sector in India,

however, has been changing over time, mostly through change in

government policy. The commencing section will highlight the definition,

profile, size, composition and performance of this sector. Entrepreneurs

are broadly classified into two categories as (a) manufacturing and (b)

those engaged in providing\rendering services. Both categories of

entrepreneurs have been further classified into micro, small and large

enterprises based on their investment in plant and machinery for

manufacturing enterprises or on equipments in case of enterprises

providing or rendering services. Investment ceiling for plant, machinery or

equipment of MSME are (a) micro upto $60000, (b) small to $60000 to

$1.25 million and (c) medium $1.25 million to $2.5 million.

The Small Scale industrial units are functioning in all States in

India. According to third All India Census of Small Scale Industries

(2003), there were 10.52 million units functioning in India. The total

employment contribution of the sector was 24.93 million with a per unit

contribution of 2.37 employment. The State of Uttarpradesh tops the list

with more than 17 lakh SSI units followed by Andrapradesh, Maharastra,

Madyapradesh and Taiml Nadu. Sikkim has the lowest number of Small

scale units (368 units).

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The quick results of 4th All India Census of MSMEs (2006-07)

revealed that there were 2.61 crore MSMEs in 2006-07 (as against the

projected figure of 1.3 crore). This includes 0.15 crore registered units and

2.46 crore un-registered units. Of the total, 28 percent are in manufacturing

and 72 percent in services. These units are largely in Apparel (14.03 %)

followed by Food Products and Beverages (13.53%) and Maintenance of

Personal and Household goods (9.25%). The MSME sector accounts for

employment of 5.97 crore persons, of which, 0.95 crore are in registered

units and 5.03 crore in the un-registered units.

The Data on registered units reveal that closure among MSMEs has

decreased from the 39% in 2001-02 to 21.64% in 2006-07. Sickness in

MSMEs has increased marginally from 13.98% in 2001-02 to 14.47% in

2006-07. Sickness is found to be largely on account of lack of demand and

shortage of working capital. The data also reveal that the per unit

employment has increased from 4.48 to 6.24, fixed investment from

Rs.6.68 lakh to Rs.33.78 lakh and gross output from Rs.14.78 lakh to

Rs.46.13 lakh during 2001-2007. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Kerala

MSME sector contributes a lot towards the needs of domestic and

export market of our State. Government of India has initiated new policy

measures to increase the domestic growth, export marketing, technology

upgradation, training etc by simplifying the MSME Act. Necessary

directions were also issued to financial Institutions. Credit Guarantee limit

is increased to Rs.50 lakh by increasing the corpus fund for Credit

Guarantee Fund Trust for Small Scale Industries.

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The 4th

All India Census of MSME is launched during the year

2008 with reference year 2006-07, covering all the registered enterprises as

on 31-03-2007. Units registered with Khadi and Village Industries

Board\Khadi and Village Industries Commission and Coir Board are also

included in the survey. The total number of working SSI units registered in

Kerala as on 31st March 2010 is 213740. Of which 7334 are promoted by

Scheduled Castes, 1449 by Scheduled Tribes, 46621 by women and

158336 by others. Further the total investment is Rs. 7312123.13 lakh with

an employment of 831847 and value of goods and services purchased as Rs

1545949 lakh. Details of the District wise position of SSI are given in the

Table 2.9.

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Table 2.9

District wise details of working SSI\MSME units Registered in Kerala as on 31st March 2009-10



Districts SSI Units Total


(Rs. lakhs)

Goods and


(Rs. lakhs)


(Nos.) SC ST Women Others Total

1 Thiruvananthapuram 846 161 5774 16975 23756 61010.48 127044.5 98193

2 Kollam 996 56 4913 11543 17508 49789.87 110673.5 87935

3 Pathanamthitta 505 37 2794 6403 9739 19582.34 26390.28 26575

4 Alappuzha 392 79 4409 13835 18715 53622.59 15494.63 74037

5 Kottayam 401 174 5566 14632 20773 69285.26 137132.5 62860

6 Idukki 346 158 1887 3528 5919 26394.56 56973.7 21918

7 Ernakulam 439 171 5385 21978 27973 145318.15 516915.7 129284

8 Thrissur 1095 88 4931 19150 25264 83232.05 154489.6 95383

9 Palakkad 1189 108 2886 11349 15532 60796.74 97004.66 52203

10 Malappuram 366 76 1569 8893 10904 40214.00 79747.29 38640

11 Kozhikode 450 76 2452 14030 17008 60501.98 110641.9 62936

12 Wayanad 51 115 1012 2062 3240 9481.28 12378.97 12012

13 Kannur 139 62 1893 9188 11282 35814.33 73491.88 41941

14 Kasargod 119 88 1150 4770 6127 16168.50 27570.08 27930

15 State 7334 1449 46621 158336 213740 731212.13 1545949.19 831847

Source: Economic Review, 2009

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From the Table 2.9, it is clear that Eranakulam district stood at the

highest position in terms of number of units, employment, investment and

value of production and Waynad district at the lowest. Eranakulam is the most

potential district for small-scale units by producing goods worth more than

three times of the investment. Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Alapuzha,

are in the succeeding positions. In the case of total number of units registered,

Thrissur stands in the second. In Waynad, Idukki and Palakkad, the SSI units

are not found much profitable. Further the Table 2.9 shows that majority of

the women units are registered in Kottayam district. Thiruvananthapuram,

Eranakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Thrissur are in the succeeding


The working status of SSI units in Kerala is given in Table 2.10. Of the

195960 units registered in the State, the number of units identified as sick as

on March 2008 is only 7737 (3.9%). Among the sick units, 2399 units are

registered for revival and 1287 units are revived. The District Industries

Centers revived six sick units at Kollam and one unit in Kozhikode during

2007-08. The total number of mini Industrial Estates under DIC as on

31.3.2008 is 87 and the total number of SSI units established in these estates is

799. The total number of employees under these units is 2865. Of the 925

sheds in these estates, the number of sheds allotted to working SSI units is


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Table 2.10 Working Status of Small Scale Units in Kerala as on 31st

March 2009 – District wise

Sl. No. Districts No. of




Sick units

for revival



1 Thiruvananthapuram 21786 643 279 125

2 Kollam 16128 543 300 151

3 Pathanamthitta 9170 278 66 62

4 Alappuzha 18153 532 240 199

5 Kottayam 19880 671 328 261

6 Idukki 5082 254 60 30

7 Ernakulam 24716 2182 297 125

8 Thrissur 22468 691 157 70

9 Palakkad 14608 555 132 70

10 Malappuram 10119 350 71 11

11 Kozhikode 16000 512 259 110

12 Wayanad 2872 105 59 24

13 Kannur 9959 29 145 44

14 Kasargod 5019 792 6 5

15 State 195960 7737 2399 1287

Source: Directorate of Industries & Commerce, Government of Kerala, 2009

Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) was established in

the state for strengthening the SSI sector in the State. SIDCO is essentially for

a healthy SSI sector, consultancy services, and import and export services,

technology up-gradation, training programme and business information. The

total number of Mini-Industrial Estates under SIDCO as on 31st March 2008

is 314. Out of this, 63 are closed and the remaining 251 are working. The total

number of sheds under these estates is 421 with 712 employees. The total area

acquired for major Industrial Estates by SIDCO as on 31st March 2008 is

241.45 acres and total number of units is 780. Out of this, 80 units are closed.

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The total number of sheds under these units is 540 and the number of sheds

allotted to working units is 531. Total number of Enterprises filed

memorandum under Micro, Small, Medium, Enterprises Department during

2010-11 is 6020.

During 2009-10, there has been a pick up in the growth of MSMEs in

the State. This is evident from the statistics regarding the number of new

enterprises that filed Memorandum, employment growth, value of goods

produced and investment compared to the previous year. The number of new

enterprises that filed Memorandum during 2009-10 was 9322 where as it was

8421 in 2008-09. Similarly, growth was also reflected in employment,

production and investment in the MSME sector. During the year 2009-10,

these enterprises made an investment of 73046.34 lakh providing employment

to 60876 persons. Out of the new enterprises that filed memorandum, 266 are

promoted by SCs, 16 by STs, 2505 by women and 6535 by others. With

regard to value of goods and services produced, MSME sector registered very

modest increase during 2009-10. The value of goods and services produced

during the period was Rs.255894.60 lakh where as it was Rs.132155.38 lakh

in 2008-09.

During 2009-10 total number of employment generated, value of

goods produced and investment made through these units are 44448, Rs

189903.67 lakh and Rs.65009.79 lakh respectively. While analyzing the

enterprises filed memorandum under MSME, it reveals that Eranakulam

occupies highest position in terms of value of goods produced, investment

made and number of units and Kasargod has the lowest position in all of the

above items. The role of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium

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Enterprises (MSME) is primarily to assist the States/Union Territories in their

efforts to promote growth and development of MSMEs. The main focus of the

programmes undertaken by the organizations of the Ministry is thus to

provide/facilitate provision of a wide range of services and facilities required

for accelerating the growth of MSMEs. The schemes generally focus on

capacity building in regions, nevertheless, there are a few schemes which are

individual beneficiary oriented. While, there are no specific reservations for

women, in the latter, there are some concessions/incentives available under

these programmes for the benefit of women entrepreneurs.

In respect of entrepreneurship development training programmes,

under the National Awards for Entrepreneurial Development (Quality

Products) and Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development

(TREAD) Programme for Women, the necessary guidelines have been issued

and specific reservation provided for women. Similarly, under two

employment generation programmes being implemented by the Ministry,

namely, Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) and Prime

Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), some concessions have been provided for

women beneficiaries. Besides, the Coir Board is implementing the Mahila

Coir Yojana which is a women oriented self-employment programme. MSME Development Institute, Thrissur, Kerala

MSME-Development Institute, Thrissur, Kerala (MSME-DI, Thrissur)

is under the State Development Commissioner (MSME) under the Ministry of

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Government of India take care of the

needs of MSME sector in the State of Kerala and the Union Territory of

Lakshadweep in the area of techno-economic and managerial consultancy

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services. MSME Development Organization is headed by the Development

commissioner (MSME) under the Ministry of MSME, Government of India

which is an apex body as well as the nodal agency for formulating, co-

coordinating and monitoring the policies and programmes meant for

promotion and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

throughout the country (MSME Ministry, 2007).

MSME-D1 Thrissur, Kerala started in 1956 is one of its kinds in the

state of Kerala. Apart from offering various consultancy and support services,

the institute also offers entrepreneurial, technological and managerial training

programme for the benefit of prospective and existing entrepreneurs. A

Nucleus Cell, under the administrative control of MSME-D1, Thrissur, Kerala

is functioning at Amini Island of Lakshadweep to look after the various needs

of small scale entrepreneurs in the Lakshadweep islands.

MSME-D1, Thrissur, Kerala services are mainly focused to help the

existing entrepreneurs to increase their productivity and prospective

entrepreneurs to set up new units. It is a first stop office for those who desire

to start their own ventures and also for those who have already done so.

MSME D1, Thrissur conducts various training courses aimed to the

entrepreneurship development and employment generation.

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Table 2.11 Details of Women Entrepreneurs in Micro\Small enterprise

in Thrissur district, 2008

Sl. No. Category of



March, 2007

April, 2007 –

March, 2008

April, 2008-

October, 2008

W T % W T % W T %

1 Micro

Manufacturing 34 82 41 267 1086 24.5 188 637 29.5

2 Micro Service 1 4 25 21 108 19 45 132 34

3 Small

Manufacturing - 13 - 19 99 19 6 9 66.6

4 Small Service - - - - 7 - - 3 -

5 Total 35 99 35 307 1300 24 239 781 31

Source: MSME Annual report 2008, DIC, Thrissur

Note: W =No. of Women entrepreneurs registered; T=Total no. of Units registered;

%=% share of women entrepreneurs.

Table 2.11 indicates that women entrepreneurs are investing in the

micro enterprises rather than small enterprises. The number of women

entrepreneurs during 2006-07 in the manufacturing sector was 34 (41%). It

has declined to 24. 5 percent in 2007-08. Though the number of women

entrepreneurs has reduced their share has increased to 29.5 percent in October

2008. In the service sector, the percentage of women entrepreneurs has

increased from 25 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2008. In the small

enterprise category no women entrepreneurs have registered in 2006. In 2007-

08, the share of women entrepreneurs was 19 percent and it increased to 66

percent in 2008.

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2.9.4 Region of the Study – A Profile

Thrissur district is the study region. Thrissur is situated in the middle of

Kerala as its cultural capital. The district was formed on 1st July 1949.

Thrissur District can be divided into three well-defined zones descending from

the heights of Western Ghats in the east, the land slopes and ends at Arabian

Sea in the west, forming three distinct natural divisions the high lands, the

plains and the seaboard. The high lands are thickly forested. The district

headquarter is placed at Thrissur and the geographical area covers 3032

sq.kms. There are 14 Assembly constituencies, 92 gram Panchayats, six

municipalities, five Taluks and one Municipal Corporation in the District.

Hindus and Christian constitute the bulk of the population of this

district. Muslims are a minority. The Ezhavas and Nairs are numerically the

most dominant castes of Thrissur. There is also a large population of

Ambalavasis and Patters (Tamil Brahmins). The Scheduled Castes also form

a significant section among the Hindus of the city. Syrian Catholics and the

Chaldean Syrians are the main sections of the Christian Community in the


The total population of the district is 31,10,327 which is 9.34 percent of

the State population. Density of population is 981 per sq. Km, which is higher

than state average. The sex ratio is 1092 female for 1000 male. The literacy

rate of the district is 92.56 percent where the male literacy is 95.47 percent and

female literacy is 89.94 percent. The number of urban families is 14471 while

the rural families are 225077. The decadal growth rate is 9.82 percent.

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As per Table 2.12 Thrissur is at a comparatively better position in the

case of sex ratio (1109 females per 1000 males) and the effective literacy rate

(95.68), than India (940, 74.04,) and Kerala (1084, 93.91). The female

literacy rate in the district is also higher (94.27) when compared to India

(65,46) and Kerala (91.98), indicating that majority of women in the district

are literate, which can be a threshold for development of the district. The share

of women in the total population is higher in the district (52 percent)

compared to Kerala (51 percent) and India (48 percent), showing the

opportunity for developing women for the overall development of the district.

Table 2.12 Comparison of population details of India, Kerala & Thrissur

Sl. No. Items India Kerala Thrissur





a) Male

b) Female










3 Sex ratio

(female for 1000 males )

940 1084 1109




Literacy rate (percent )

a) Male

b) Female










Source: Census 2011

At present the district comprises of five Taluks viz, Thrissur,

Thalapilly, Chavakkad, Kodungaloor and Mukundapuram. The Corporation

of Thrissur was established on 30th

September 2000. 50 members are elected

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to the corporation council from 50 wards. Table 2.13 shows the taluk wise

population of Thrissur District.

Table 2.13 Details of Thrissur District – Taluk wise


No. Taluk

Area (in



Population Male Female

Density of


1 Chavakkad 234.26 4,26,976 2,00,219 2,26,757 1,822.66

2 Kodungallur 145.07 2,83,765 1,34,675 1,49,090 1,956.06

3 Mukundapuram 1325.98 9,38,658 4,57,541 4,81,117 707.90

4 Thalappilly 662.99 5,37,560 2,56,087 2,81,473 810.81

5 Thrissur 635.71 7,50,352 3,64,161 3,86,191 1,180.34

Source: Handbook by District Information Centre, 2001

It can be observed from Table 2.13 that the Mukundapuram Taluk

stands first in both area and population, followed by Thalappilly Taluk in area,

and Thrissur Taluk in population. The density of population is the highest in

the Kodungallur Taluk in spite of its smallest area and population, and the

lowest density of population is in the Mukundapuram Taluk despite its largest

area. Industrial Structure of Thrissur District

Thrissur district is not as industrial as its neighboring districts –

Eranakulam and Palakkad. Entrepreneurship is relatively a new phenomenon

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in the district. The agricultural sector provided employment for 32 per cent of

the total labours in the district. The share of household industry is very low by

6% of total occupation. It should be noted that major portion of the

employment is provided by the service sector (62%).

The Industrial development in the district is very low. Major industrial

sectors are Handloom, Khadi, Pottery, Tiles, Wood based units, Rubber based

units, Coconut oil extraction, Food processing units, etc. Fishing, tile works,

jewellery works, coir works etc. are the main occupations of the people. The

districts have also a cluster of tile factories, textile mills, industrial estates and

some ventures in imitation stones. The rich are mainly business flock,

middleclass employed in various departments and the poor are coolies and

labourers surviving on daily wages. The growth rate of per capita income in

the district (9.82%) compared to other districts in Kerala State, stands second

position. In the gross domestic product, district is in the third position during

2009-10. The workforce of Thrissur constituted around 9% of Kerala. The

work force participation rate of the district is 32.1% comparable to the state

average of 32.3%.

Thrissur is famous for the powerloom industry and the textile Mills like

Alagappa Textiles in Alagappanagar, Lakshmi Mills at Pullazhi, Thrissur

Cotton Mills at Nattika, Rajagopal Textiles at Athani, Sitram Spinning and

Weaving Mills, Thrissur, Vanaja Textiles at Kuriachira and Kunnath textiles

at Thrissur. Thrissur is also engaged in the manufacture of hosiery products.

The coir and the tile industry offer employment for many people in the

District. The first sawmill in the State was erected at Thrissur (1905). Most

of the Timber is brought down from the forests to Thrissur and Chalakkudy,

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which are the most important timber markets in the district. Canning industry

has sprung up in Thrissur and Darico Cannings and Caico Cannings, both

situated at Thrissur are important Units. The Thrissur Fruits and Vegetable

Marketing Society has a Canning Industrial unit at Nadathara and running

successfully. Besides all these the match stick industry, pharmaceuticals,

printing etc give Thrissur its fame as a bustling industrial Centre. The first

workers' Indian Coffee House of the State was opened in Thrissur (1957).

Thrissur is home to many leading Malayali entrepreneurs, and is a

major financial and commercial hub of Kerala. Historians say that King

Sakthan Thampuran had invited several Syrian-Christian families and

Brahmins to settle in Thrissur city from their business centers in adjoining

areas. Soon, Thrissur city became a flourishing centre of internal trade in

Kerala. Thrissur is one of the major manufacturing centers of plain gold and

rolled gold jewelry in South India; up to 70% of Kerala's jewellery is

manufactured in Thrissur, which accounts for 5 percent of the net gold

production in India. According to the World Gold Council, Kerala sells

approximately 70 tones of gold while in the Indian market it is around 700


District Industries Centre is playing a vital role for the industrial

development of the country based at District level. District Industries Centre

is providing various type of assistances like financial and managerial for

women entrepreneurs through Women Industries Programmes.

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2.9.5 Role of District Industries Centre (DIC), Thrissur

The Government of India introduced DIC during 1978, with a view to

promote district-wise industrial development in the Nation. So DIC, Thrissur

was also established in 1978 and it is located at Ayyanthole in Thrissur

District. The activity of DIC was to survey the existing traditional and new

industries and also assess availability of raw materials and human resources

and making arrangements for training facilities in production or management

of small units of entrepreneurs. The DIC also plays the role of facilitator and

act as a promotional agency with simplified systems. DIC is functioning

under the Directorate of Industries and Commerce, Government of India

(Ministry of MSME, 2007).

DIC Thrissur is the first District Industries Centre in the country to get

the prestigious internationally accepted quality management certification ISO

9002. This is given for services provided by DIC, Thrissur to small scale

Industries (SSIs) and business enterprises in Thrissur District of Kerala. Structure of District Industries Centre

The structure of DIC is mainly consisted of

a) One General Manager

b) Four functional mangers in the areas of economic investigation, credit,

Panchayats and research/extension/training.

c) One Deputy Registrar

d) Administrative Assistant and Office staff.

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Organizational structure of District Industries Centre, Thrissur is depicted in

Chart 2.1.

Chart 2.1.


↓ ↓

General Manager





Research Extension

and Training

Manager (RET)






Manager (EI)



Additional District Industries

Officer (ADIO)

Office staff Taluk Industries Extension Officer














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125 Objectives and Functions

Objectives of DIC, Thrissur are the following.

a) Promotion of Small Scale Industries Business Enterprises in Thrissur

District as per guidelines of government and

a) Providing effective service to entrepreneurs\customers

The Activities and Schemes covered by DIC, Thrissur are as following

a) Permanent SSI Registration

b) State Investment Subsidy

c) Sale Tax Exemption

d) Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana

e) Green Channel Committee

f) Technical Feasibility Report

g) Development Plot

h) Entrepreneurs Awareness Programme/Entrepreneurs Development

Programmes/Technical Consultancy etc.

i) Women’s Industries Programme

j) Margin Money Loan

k) Earnest Money Deposit Exemption Certificate

l) Recommendation for License

m) Industrial Co-operative Societies

n) Essentiality Certificate

o) Special Component Plant\Tribal Sub Plan

p) Information Counter

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The Industrial training service of DIC provides Entrepreneurship

Development Training, employment based training etc. through industries

department. The major functions of DIC, Thrissur are as following.

a) Registration

The Industrial Schemes proposed to start will be given temporary

registration and for those, which have commenced business, will be given

permanent industrial registration through District Industries Centre.

b) Licenses

For ensuring the license and clearance for starting industrial\service

enterprise, State Level\District Level Single Window Clearance Board is


c) Industry Facilities Council

If there is any delay in payment of the products sold by the SSI units,

the Industry Facilities Council will interfere in settling the issues relating to

the non payment and delay in payment. Industries department Director is the

Chairman of the Council.

d) Industrial Venture Development Club

The industrial venture development club is for developing the industrial

culture among the youth.

e) Industrial Research Schemes

Research and knowledge are provided to SSI units on commercial basis

through research development centers, research laboratories etc.

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f) Project Cell

A project Cell is functioning in the office headed by Technical officer,

so as to enable the entrepreneur to prepare prospective project reports.

g) Seminars

In order to sensitize the prospective and potential entrepreneurs to start

industrial ventures, various workshops and seminars are conducted at district

level and block panchayat level.

h) Entrepreneur Awareness Programme

In order to attract prospective and potential Entrepreneur for starting

industrial ventures, awareness programmes are being conducted at district and

block levels.

i) Entrepreneurs’ Guidance Cell

With a view to disseminate technical knowledge and provide guidance

and services to the prospective entrepreneurs, an Entrepreneurs’ Guidance

Cell is established in the District Industries Centre. Officials who are

competent and well-versed in special areas are at service for the entrepreneurs

in this counter.

j) Prathyasa Programme

With a vision of rapid industrialization a Prathyasa Programme was

started in Thrissur. The target was to create ten thousand employment

opportunities through 2500 industrial units.

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k) Information cum Visitor Assistance Counter

A Senior Assistant District Industries Officer manages the counter.

Appropriate guidance will be given in this counter to all queries related to

industrial activities. Entrepreneurs can make use of the books, periodicals,

project profiles, magazines, pamphlets and brochures available in the library

of the counter.

l) Proficiency Interface Cell

With a view to accelerate industrial growth a Proficiency Interface Cell

has been established in the District Industries Centre. The services of the

Technical Officers are available in the Cell.

m) Women’s Industries Programme (WIP)

This scheme is intended to provide financial assistance to women

industrial units engaged in small scale and cottage Industries and to attract

more women entrepreneurs to industrial sector.

n) Women Industrial Units

These are industrial units owned\organized by women and engaged in

small scale and cottage industries. Co-operative societies, joint stock

companies, charitable institutions, proprietary and partnership concerns

registered as SSI or cottage industrial units are coming under this category. In

all the above cases 80 percent of the total workers employed should be


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o) Eligibility for Grant

Units that are registered under Women’s Industries Programme are

eligible for grant. The unit has to submit the application in the prescribed form

to the General Manager of District Industries Centre concerned to register

under WIP. Purposes of grant are to meet the cost of equipments, the cost of

construction of building directly related to production, the rent of the building,

the salary of the functionaries of the unit, namely, Managing Director,

Secretary, Technical Expert, Manager and Stipend to trainees. For

administrative convenience DIC is divided into different departments like

PMRY department, Block Panchayat department, Women Industrial Co-

operative Society department etc. Women Industries Programme is a

component coming under Block Panchayat department. All the schemes,

programmes and policies for women industries are implemented through this


p) State Investment Subsidy

New units and units undertaking expansion\ modernization\

diversification are eligible for state investment subsidy, on the basis of fixed

capital investment. For general category 10 percent maximum of outlay with a

limit of Rs.5 lakhs, and for thrust industries 15 percent maximum with a limit

of Rs.15 lakhs are granted. Additional five percent are given for SC, ST, and

Ex-Service men\women subject to a limit of Rs.1 lakh. For IT Industries

subsidy is 20 percent, subject to a maximum of Rs. 25 lakhs.

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q) Market Development Assistance

For setting up of exclusive show rooms for SSI products margin money

loan up to 15 percent of the working capital with a maximum of Rs. 5 lakhs

will be provided and investment subsidy will be 15 percent, limited to Rs. 10

lakhs on fixed capital investment.

r) Technology Development Fund

Subsidy at 12 percent of the loan amount sanctioned by financial

institutions is given under Technology Development fund scheme to upgrade

the level of technology or to use modern technology.

s) Cluster Development Programme.

Margin money loan at 20 percent of the cost of the project for term

loan and 20 percent of the total working capital requirement in case of

working capital or 50 percent of the margin\Rs.5 lakhs whichever is less will

be provided under CDP.

t) Schemes under Industrial Cooperatives

Registration of Industrial Co operative Societies, share participation,

grant assistance, rebate on sale of handloom products etc are undertaken by


v) Awards

Awards to the best industrialist and PMRY beneficiaries in various

categories will be provided.

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w) PMRY Scheme

District Industries Centres are the institutions entrusted with the task of

providing assistance and support to small entrepreneurs. The package of

services given by DIC includes provision for training of entrepreneurs. DICs

aim at providing exposure to beneficiaries of self-employment schemes for

educated unemployed youth in the area of institutional support and small

enterprise management. DIC is the implementing agency of PMRY scheme in

all districts and provides compulsory training to the beneficiaries of different


In short, the activity of DIC is to survey the existing traditional and

new industries and also make available the raw materials and human resources

and making arrangements for training facilities in production or management

of small units of entrepreneurs. The DIC plays the role of facilitator and act as

a promotional agency with simplified systems and promote women


2.10 Conclusions

As World Development Report 2012 declares gender equality has a

smart economics for development. It is the third Millennium Development

Goal also. By the spread of education, liberal economic policies and media

revolution, women are coming u in all spectrums of national life. But women

are not adequately represented in any field in any region, including developed

countries. Economic opportunity is a sterling example where gender

inequality has widened. Rise of women entrepreneurs is a welcome change to

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give economic independence to discriminated gender and economic well-

being of the society in general.

Women entrepreneurs like men also have to undertake all functions of

entrepreneurship. Women are establishing enterprises for various reasons in

traditional women oriented activities as well as in modern techno-savvy

sectors. At national and state levels, various schemes and institutions are

working to identify and promote women entrepreneurs. However the age old

belief and ascribed roles prevent women to enter into entrepreneurship

daringly as men.

The participation of women in the small scale sector in India and

Kerala shows an increasing trend over the years. Entrepreneurs play an

emerging role in terms of enterprise creation in India. Thus, women should be

encouraged and assisted in all respects to become entrepreneurs for the

prosperity of our country. If they are neglected social interest would be

stagnated as they constitute 50 percent of the society. So, an integrated

approach is necessary to make women entrepreneurship a success by the

Government and nongovernmental agencies for which women should be

properly trained, educated and facilitated to become successful entrepreneurs.

This leads to prosperity of any country which should be clear in the minds of

women in particular and the society in general. With the spread of education

and new awareness, women entrepreneurs are spreading their wings to higher

levels. Entrepreneurship for women can be planned and developed and the

need for providing appropriate awareness and environment to promote

entrepreneurship is of vital importance.

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Kerala’s economic progress is better than the national average in terms

of female literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality, health conditions and

social culture. The women of Kerala are far superior compared to the

counterparts in other States. The average attainments of women were the

highest in Kerala.

The participation of women in the SSI sector in India, Kerala and

Thrissur shows an increasing trend over the years. Thrissur occupies a

prominent place in the history and culture of Kerala and is said to be the

‘Cultural capital’ of the State. District Industries Centre is playing a vital role

for the industrial development of the country based at District level. District

Industries Centre is providing various types of assistances like financial and

managerial for women entrepreneurs through Women Industries programmes.

Financial assistance in the form of loan, subsides, grant etc. are provided by

DIC. Technical assistance includes Entrepreneurship development, training,

skill development training etc.

Women in any part of the world have innumerable hardships and

handicaps to mobilize and manage business enterprises. The formidable

factors and factors are deeply embedded in traditional mindset and orthodox

values of the society. In India, major hurdles are (a) subordinate status of

women (b) no accessibility to resources of family and financial institutions

and (c) contradictory role of women at family, society and enterprise. It can

be observed that the highly educated, technically qualified and professionally

skilled women charter unexplored areas of business opportunities. But

potential women entrepreneurs should get better inputs and institutional

support from institutions, society and family.

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