The government has allocated Rs 500 crore for scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and women entrepreneurs in the annual budget under the Stand Up India scheme, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on Monday.
Two projects will be promoted per bank branch in every category of entrepreneur under the scheme, he said.
Last year, the government had announced a Mudra Bank with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore to provide credit facilities to SC/ST businesses. Women’s empowerment is also high on the government’s agenda.
The announcement comes as the government faces heat in both houses of Parliament over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad. A wave of campus protests have swept the nation following the death of the 26-year-old that was allegedly triggered after the human resource development ministry egged on the university administration to suspend him. Prominent lower-caste leaders such as BSP chief Mayawati and RJD’s Lalu Prasad have dubbed the BJP “anti lower-caste” – a perception that was said to be behind the saffron coalition’s drubbing in last year’s Bihar polls.