Updated March 23rd, 2024 at 17:29 IST

India’s women-led self-help groups add colour to Holi’s festive buzz

Led by innovation and a boost from financial inclusion, indigenous Holi products made by microenterprises are gradually making a mark in local markets.

Reported by: Saqib Malik
Holi festivities | Image:Pexels
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Adding colours to commerce: In the run up to the forthcoming festival of colours Holi, businesses remain abuzz, as shoppers beeline markets and purchasing trends online too, have witnessed a surge of almost 40-50 per cent during the last few days. 

The national umbrella trade body, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has pegged shopping on Holi and related-festivities to see business turnover of Rs 50,000 crore pan-India. Besides, the CAIT report has underlined a recent sharp decrease in the normally Rs 10,000 crore worth imports India used to witness on Holi every year.

Can the festive occasions such as Holi, where business is in boom, be a perfect platform for women entrepreneurs for contributing to ‘Make in India’? Republic Business takes a deep dive.

Micro-enterprises at forefront

A section titled ‘breaking stereotypes’, in a report issued by the Niti Aayog in 2023, stated that festivals, wedding season and religious tourism are area that could help bring self-help groups in the mainstream. 

Now, with schemes such as ‘lakhpati didi’, the government is keen to make ease of access to credit for women-led self-help groups. With an objective to create three crore ‘lakhpati didis’ in the country by 2030, upskilling remains the key. 

The spirit resonating Holi, is best exemplified by the unwavering commitment of India’s micro-enterprises, to reduce country’s dependence on imported goods, especially China-made products for occasions such as Holi.

Elaborating on more localised products ruling the roost in the the Rs 5,000 crore, anticipated business volume to be witnessed in Delhi this Holi, Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT says India every year witnesses imports of Holi-related products worth Rs 10,000 crore. 

“This year though, customers have become conscious of empowering local businesses and are buying ‘Make in India’ products,” added Khandelwal. 

Khandelwal said the entrepreneurial zest of women across the country, has created many success stories. 

As per Khandelwal, micro-enterprises, mostly led by women entrepreneurs, making traditional lamps (diyas) and organic colours are catering to the demand of customers on the occasion of Holi.

“Both the rural and urban customers have a need for decorative products, organic colours to play Holi, and home decoration products. While products made by bigger companies and even those imported from China are being sold in the market, creating entrepreneur skills is slowly showing advantage of ‘Make in India,” said Khandelwal.

Empowering women creators

At present, there are over one lakh women-led micro-enterprises and SHGs, which mostly utilise additional spaces in their residential accommodations to roll out hundreds of products, especially home décor goods and other accessories, which are in demand on occasions such as Holi.

“A lack of experience is a boon for many of these local product makers as they experiment with the customer demands,” says Khandelwal, adding that the craze of buying Chinese goods is seeing a fall. 
"In today’s time, women entrepreneurs in India understand local requirements. Slowly and steadily, people are embracing these ‘Make in India’ products,” the CAIT Secretary General; further added.

Digital economy, micro lending helping SHGs

The initiative of the central government under ‘Make in India’ in tune with the ‘Viksit Bharat’ vision, is aiding thousands of self-help groups with the help of credit lending. Besides, financial inclusion to see women have personal bank accounts under the ‘jan dhan’ scheme, has been aimed for their wealth creation. 

As per the Periodic Labour Force Survey Annual Report 2022-2023, issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), there are thousands of women-driven successful stories, where flagship schemes have helped SHGs. 

As per the report, over one lakh women have been benefitted by the Start Up India Scheme and ‘rozgar mela’ initiatives. Besides, the Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) and PM-DAKSH (Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi) are schemes aimed to help SHGs. 

In their endeavor to hand-hold SHGs, these schemes are focuses to create a successful revenue models. 

Corporate India, especially FMCG companies, as per the CAIT Secretary General, also have a role to play in guiding women SHGs to find suitable markets. 

“On festivals such as Holi, there is a huge demand for sweets, dry fruits, home décor products. There is a need to provide a marketing platform for handmade and organic products crafted by women-led SHGs. Microenterprises have the power to help India reduce dependence on imports but we as conscious citizens need to help these small enterprises,” the CAIT Secretary General further added.

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Published March 23rd, 2024 at 17:03 IST