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The Maharashtra government today approved an industrial policy for women entrepreneurs, that aims to boost and encourage female entrepreneurship in the state. A decision to this effect was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Industries minister Subhash Desai claimed that Maharashtra is the first state in the country to have a policy for women entrepreneurs. Desai, while addressing reporters, also said the government may make necessary changes in some of the clauses in the policy, so that a maximum number of women entrepreneurs could avail its benefits. "The department expects that the policy would lead to an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore and create about one lakh jobs in the next five years," Desai said. "The government will keep aside Rs 648 crore in the next year's budget, while this year, Rs 15 crore provision has been made, Desai added. The policy states that a woman entrepreneur would get a financial assistance from Rs 15 lakh up to Rs 1 crore in proportion of 15 per cent to 35 per cent of the capital investment of the project at a subsidised rate of interest of upto 5 per cent. At the same time, the projects will get electricity at subsidised rate of Rs 1-2 per unit instead of Rs 7-8 per unit charges for industries. The policy states that a few stalls or some areas in malls, commercial complexes or market yards will be kept reserved only for women. Also, land will be reserved for women industrialists in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area across the state. As per the policy, to make a market for women entrepreneurs, spaces will be kept reserved to display the products in various public places, malls, railway stations, bus stations, airports, movie theatres, foot over bridges, sub-way or commercial complexes. The woman and child development department will also keep aside Rs 50 crore for the policy, which will be valid for 5 years or till further directives issued by the industries department.
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