Women’s colleges have been awarded a record number of grants under the Women’s Entrepreneurship Grant Scheme (WES) after the Government’s new Women’s College Grants Act came into force on October 15.
This has prompted the government to give out over 695,000 women’s college grants since January 1, 2017.
According to the government, the WES programme has already seen more than 100 grants awarded to over 250 colleges and universities across the country.
This includes over 80,000 grants awarded in the first three months of this year alone.
It is the first time that a government programme has seen over 10 million grant awards for all sectors under one scheme, and is expected to be the largest such programme in the country over the next five years.
As of October 1, the total amount awarded to all sectors was over Rs 1.15 lakh crore.
While women are still required to get the help of a male guardian, the government has made it easier for women to get a scholarship through the WET scheme.
The scheme also has support for those who are already working as teachers, counsellors and counselors.
It provides funding to support women’s colleges to build up their facilities and hire additional staff, and to train new staff.
The Women’s Enterprise Grants (WE) programme has been launched to help boost the growth of the sector, said an official statement.
“The WE programme will help women-led, socially responsible and gender-sensitive enterprises to reach their full potential,” said the official.
The first phase of the programme is aimed at providing grants of up to Rs 5 lakh to up to 50 colleges and Universities in rural areas, and up to 5,000 scholarships to 5 lakh students from rural and urban areas, in the three states of Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
According the WESA website, the programme provides funding for a period of six months, which includes the first six months of the grant period.
The remaining four months of grant period are for five years of support to be utilised by the colleges and institutions, including training and other resources.
The grant will also cover the cost of operating the colleges, including salaries, building and staff salaries, and administration and operational costs.
The government has also promised to set up new scholarships for women entrepreneurs in the next phase of its programme.
“Women-led and socially responsible enterprises will get a new incentive and opportunity to start their businesses in the 21st century,” said Dr Nagesh Kumar, director general of WESA.