Ladakh was always considered a rich land; it has been described as “India’s Himalayan crucible of many cultures”. Going back in history, Ladakh served as a major junction of Central Asia and South Asia on the Silk Road.
The Union Territory of Ladakh, the highest plateau in India, was formed in 2019. The enterprising Ladakh Innovation and Startup Policy places great emphasis on promoting sustainable energy (specially with the average daily global solar radiation in Ladakh as high as 2022 kWh/m2/annum), which opens up huge opportunities for startups and investors to innovate. And Ladakh has begun the journey towards strengthening its startup ecosystem by participating in the Startup Ranking Framework 2020.
Incidentally, amongst the most prized items of trade, the Pashmina shawls from Ladakh’s Changthang Valley still remains ‘most prized’ as it’s the rarest in the world.
Here are some government schemes & incentives provided by Ladakh to women entrepreneurs.
> Special cell – National Commission for Women (NCW)
In March 2021, it was announced that the newly formed Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir Union Territories will have a separate cell in National Commission for Women (NCW). And a few days before International Women’s Day 2021, Ladakh became the launching pad for the first-ever online training programme – Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship. This was in collaboration with IIM, Bangalore and India SME Forum, and the Commission was providing online training to 5000 women entrepreneurs across the country. The Chairperson Rekha Sharma pointed out that NCW chose Ladakh for the occasion – to involve the women in the progressive development journey.
> Highlights of Ladakh Startup Ecosystem
The Startups in Ladakh can avail a wide range of benefits from the Government which include financial and non-financial incentives. Through the policy, the UT aims to provide quite prominently a number of facilitiess like – financial incentives, incentives for capacity development, academic connection, and infrastructure support. To eaborate, the provisions encompass a wide range of Financial Incentives like – provision of Startup Monthly Allowance up to INR 15,000 per month for a year to DPIIT recognized startups; Monthly Allowance of INR 20,000 per month for a year to startups with Founder/CoFounder as Women/Transgender or SC/ST/SEBC/PH; provision of up to INR 3 Lakh for DPIIT recognized startups operating in Ladakh at Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage; provision of Marketing Expenses up to a limit of INR 3 Lakh; provision of free incubation or co-working support of up to INR 1 Lakh per year; provision of 50% patent cost reimbursement for startups up to INR 5 Lakh; 100% subsidy on purchase and installation of Green Energy Solutions such as – Solar/Wind Generator, Hybrid Solar Wind System to recognized startups in Ladakh.
Thus, the very spirit of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship seeks to encourage a mood of innovation among aspiring students and rural entrepreneurs. It focuses not only on the assessment of the total number of registered startups in each State/UT, which is a direct result of the State/UT support but also on the regulatory reforms undertaken to support startups in disruptive sectors. This Reform Area actually assesses the extent to which Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs) have been engaged in providing support to student entrepreneurs.
> Entrepreneurship Awareness Program
To promote entrepreneurship awareness, Directorate of Industries and Commerce (DIC), Ladakh in September 2022, organized an Entrepreneurship Awareness programme for the students of National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) and ITI. The objective of the programme was to give the students an insight into the progressive world of entrepreneurship. Discussions were held on financial assistance schemes by GoI such as Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) and Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) made available by the DIC and other handholding programs.
The Joint Director, Handloom and Handicraft Department, Lakshay Singhal who was the Chief Guest emphasized the importance of understanding the concept of multiplication of funds for becoming a successful entrepreneur; and he advised the aspirants to make the best use of the opportunities provided by the government in terms of skill development programs and financial assistance schemes.
> Industries Dept of Ladakh to provide assistance to trainee artisans under various schemes
On December 7, 2022 it was announced that in Ladakh, the Industries Department will provide assistance to trainee artisans, under different schemes aiming to develop them into successful entrepreneurs. The Department provides training to artisans both in Ladakh and Kargil. During the event, where this was announced, the Commissioner/Secretary, Industries, Ladakh, Saugat Biswas reviewed the functioning of the Handloom and Handicraft Departments in Kargil, as he interacted with trainers and trainees of these Departments and took a detailed review of work progress and output.
He pointed out that the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of both Handloom and Handicraft Departments would tenaciously try to achieve the goals set.