Lucknow, Nov 21 : Mastercard and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched 'Project Kirana' in Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi. The programme will enable women entrepreneurs to grow, launch and thrive.
Under Project Kirana, a two-year programme is to be rolled out in selected cities of Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, Lucknow and Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh. The project will work to increase revenue, digital payments and expand financial inclusion. The project aims to build digital literacy and financial literacy of the women in the state. It will improve business management skills of women.
USAID is United States Agency for International Development. It is an independent agency that is responsible to administer foreign aid and development assistance.
In July 2020, Mastercard announced that it will commit Rs 250 crores to reboot SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in India. In line to the commitment, Master card had launched a host of initiatives, Project Kirana is one among these.
Uttar Pradesh was specifically selected for the initiative considering the significant of the state in the country's economy. Since Uttar Pradesh is among the most populous states of India, a large number of people are engaged in informal sector. Also, more than 10.3% of women population in the state are employed in MSME. Also, the state has the largest number of MSME in India. Around 14% of MSME of the country is located in the country.
It is estimated that the GDP of the country will grow between 12% and 25% in the next five years by bringing in more women, under Project Kirana. The women owned business in India have tremendous untapped potential that is capable of transforming the economies. India is one of the countries with highest gender gap in the world.
As Project Kirana is designed to support women and increase their financial access in the country, it is also expected to help solve gender parity issues.