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Assured market makes this best time for Dalit entrepreneurs, says DICCI founder Milind Kamble

Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry founder says the policies of the BJP-led NDA government offer complete market support to youth from the communities who are aspiring to create jobs.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2018 10:10 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Milind Kamble,Dalit protests,Dalit entrepreneurs
Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry founder MIlind Kamble. In the wake of Dalit protests, Kamble, who trained as a civil engineer and is an entrepreneur, said schemes such as Mudra and Stand up India have benefited the marginalised communities.(HT File )

This is the best time for Dalit youngsters to turn entrepreneurs as the government has created conditions for meeting their aspirations, believes Milind Kamble, founder of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI).

In an interview with Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Kamble, who set up DICCI in 2005 as a one-stop resource centre for existing and aspiring Dalit entrepreneurs, says the policies of the BJP-led NDA government offer complete market support to youth from the communities who are aspiring to create jobs.

In the wake of protests that the Union government faces from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities, Kamble, who trained as a civil engineer and is an entrepreneur, said schemes such as Mudra and Stand up India have benefited the marginalised communities. Excerpts:

What do you make of the anger that the government is facing from Dalits and Scheduled Tribes?

I can’t comment on why these perceptions are being created (that the government is anti-SC and STs); if it is political it is not good. We must ask why the protests that happened during the (April 2) Bharat Bandh occurred in BJP ruled states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — and not in West Bengal or the southern states. The reason for the protest is not a government decision, but the Supreme Court’s decision to ban automatic arrest under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and the government has filed a review petition against it.

As the chairperson of DICCI, what has been the impact of government’s economic policies and have they benefitted the SC/STs communities at all?

As someone who had worked with the previous (UPA) government as well, I can this supportive towards the SCs and STs. Schemes such as Standup India, setting up of SC/ST hubs (Under ministry of small and medium enterprises), Mudra have all benefited the communities. So far Mudra has benefitted 12 crore people, of this 18% are SC entrepreneurs and nearly 5% are STs.

The government is offering venture capital funds of up to Rs 15 crore. The provisions of the public procurement policy 2012, which says 4% of procurement done by ministries, departments and central public sector enterprises will have to be from enterprises owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs, was not being implemented properly before; the last I checked, the procurement figures were at Rs 23 crore. This government is working to address the aspirations of the Dalit youth. This is the best time for Dalit entrepreneurs because there is complete support and an assured market.

What is your opinion on the demand for implementation of caste-based reservation in the private sector?

There should be reservation in the private sector, but we must ask why has it not been done so far. If political parties are serious about it, why did the previous governments not raise the issue in Parliament? This should not be raised as a political issue, but there should be debate in Parliament. The industry has already said that while they are open to affirmative action and encouraging diversity, they are against reservation.

The opposition accuses the government of not creating jobs and not meeting its promises on ending unemployment.

No party that comes to power can provide jobs for all. There are 19 crore SC/ST youths in the 18-35 age band; can they all get jobs? We need to handhold nano entrepreneurs. Take for example the work that the DICCI is doing; we have been helping people from SC/ST communities to bid for projects under the Sagar Mala (initiative of setting up and modernisation of mega ports), highways and road construction and for projects floated by the petroleum ministry. We are helping people with sharpening innovative ideas that can be pitched with the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) for the incubation centres.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 08:12 IST