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Promoting employment and entrepreneurship of women in industrial areas through planning measures and interventions

The Indian labour market displays several striking features: very low rates of female labour force participation; considerable variance in rates of female labour force participation across Indian states; and a large share of both women and men working in the informal sector. The female labour force participation (FLFP) rate in India has fallen from 36 percent in 2005-06 to 24 percent in 2015-16, as per the Economic Survey of India 2017-18. Female workers are highly disadvantaged in the labour market–they are in large part low-skilled informal workers, engaged in low-productivity, low-paying work. India’s gender gap in median earnings of full-time employees is larger than in South Africa, Brazil and Chile, meaning most women earn far less than men in India than in these countries. Enhancing women’s participation in economic activities is very critical not only for achieving poverty reduction and economic development but it is also crucial for the overall social development. Reducing the gender gap in the participation in economic activities contributes towards many benefits of economic prosperity such as for example improvements in child survival, overall family health or reduction in fertility.

Because of increasing urbanization, liberalisation of the economy and rising awareness among the population concerning citizens’ rights, Indians society is transforming. Women, however, play a significant role in economic development as it is the case in most emerging nations like India (Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, 1997). Though their contribution is hidden from the limelight of corporate and business works, their brisk understanding and participation in commerce cannot be undermined, despite of the limitations they face. As the urban population continues to increase due to rural-urban migration, the informal sector continues to be the most important income-earning area, particularly for women.

The manufacturing sector in India is one of the highest employers of women, enabling them to contribute to the economic development of the country. But it is a challenge to retain women employees who work in the industrial sector, with the main factor being the lack of provisions specific for women in such industrial areas. In order to improve the workforce participation and entrepreneurship of women in the coming years, it would be crucial to improve the working conditions in the industrial estates. Changes in industrial site planning and production technologies would give women great opportunities for poverty alleviation, self-sufficiency through income generation, and productive businesses that create local employment. Proper planning of the industrial areas would result in increased overall competitiveness and profitability of the residing businesses, lower emissions and pollution levels, resource and energy efficiency and offers an overall healthier working environment that helps in meeting the targeted investment and employment goals.

As part of the SEIP Project, GIZ had provided technical support to Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP) in planning and developing the industrial estate at Nandigama near Hyderabad. Continuing this engagement, as part of SEIP’s on-going activities, technical support to ALEAP in coming up with a conceptual plan of a new industrial estate at Visakhapatnam district as the model sustainable industrial park has been done. Greeninfra Creations was engaged to develop the conceptual site master plan that is envisioned to be a model green and sustainable industrial park that provides a conducive environment for women employees and entrepreneurs and incorporates state-of-art technologies and sustainability aspects, including green building concepts, renewable energy technologies, environmental resource management, and cost-effective common infrastructure.

As part of GIZ’s advisory support to Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited (TSIIC), inputs were also provided to the planning of Pharma City project coming up on 19,000 acres in Mucherla in Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad. Surbana Jurong Consultants Pvt. Ltd. had been given the assignment by TSIIC to formulate the Master Plan for a dedicated industrial area for the pharmaceutical sector with well-integrated physical, environmental, social and technical infrastructure that helps realize the economies of scale in such an infrastructure intensive industry. GIZ provided inputs to the consulting agency regarding incorporating measures related to women’s employment in the proposed Pharma City and also for integrating the sustainability measures in the planning of the industrial estate. After the consultations, Surbana Jurong made provisions for promoting women’s employment in the Pharma City Master Plan.

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