The DICCI SME Fund, a venture capital fund initiated by the Dalit Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (DICCI) to aid entrepreneurial ventures by people from disadvantaged sections of society, is likely to be operational soon.
The Rs. 500 crore-fund expects to raise money from banks and high networth individuals, said Prasad Dahapute, MD of Varhad Capital, which manages the fund. Varhad Capital has applied for registration under the new alternative investment fund of the Securities and Exchange Board of India and awaits approval.
This fund for Dalit entrepreneurs follows the new public procurement policy of the government which mandates that 4% of all procurement by public sector undertakings and government departments must be from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned by scheduled caste and scheduled tribe entrepreneurs.
According to Dahapute, the procurement by 40 central government departments is about Rs. 100,000 crore.
"Procurement by the five maharatna PSUs alone is several thousands of crores. There are 15 navaratna and 68 miniratna PSUs. The 4% mandatory procurement from Dalit and Adivasi entrepreneurs will be around Rs. 7,000-8,000 crore."