On International Women’s Day, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday chided lenders for being gender insensitive while dealing with female entrepreneurs’ loan proposals in small cities and towns.
“What I find missing, and that is where I think the government should also look at (is) how can it enhance the role of women in business (through) the sensitivity with which banks deal with women,” Sitharaman said, addressing an event organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai.
Sitharaman reiterated government’s commitment to ease of doing businesses and assured the gathering that similar measures will be extended to the export sector as well. For this purpose, the Minister said, she is planning to constitute of Committee, that can suggest thrust areas and key measures which can yield quick results as well as help formulate a long term export strategy. “This is a government that is fully willing to hear, fully willing to listen and fully willing to act,” she added.
The Minister asserted while a lot is being said, a lot is being done also at the government level. She said the e-biz portal launched recently by the Finance Minister was a great boon for the manufacturers and exporters. Another portal helps exporters gather information about which product is in demand where.
Ms. Sitharaman said the profile of the Indian exporters has changed over the last two decades and our products are no longer considered of inferior quality. “It is no longer the story that we would hear 20-30 years ago, that Indian products need quality enhancement, they need to be trustworthy, there are no arguments of this kind anymore. Many of the products like pharmaceuticals, automobile components, textiles, are reaching certain standards which make the nation proud,” Sitharaman added. She further said access to markets abroad is restricted not because Indian exporters are found lacking in quality or product diversification, but because of the protectionist measures of countries which want to keep Indian exporters at a distance, in order to help their own exporters or protect their smaller and upcoming industries.