Banks told to hand-hold Dalit entrepreneurs
Mumbai (PTI): Every bank branch should hand-hold a Dalit enterprise, as such a step can have a ripple effect...
Mumbai (PTI): Every bank branch should hand-hold a Dalit enterprise, as such a step can have a ripple effect not only on the economy but also on the society in general, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. Launching the first-ever Dalit industries-focused social impact fund, -DICCI SME Fund- here, the minister rued that even after 66 years of Independence, the country still reeks of casteism and social segregation. The government is committed to improve the lot of the MSME sector in general and those promoted by the Dalit community in particular, he said, adding the MSMEs contribute to 8 per cent of the GDP, 45 per cent of manufacturing, and 36 per cent of exports of the country. "If all the bank branches, running into a little over one lakh, and each one of them support a Dalit enterprise, it can have large impact on the economy and the society in general. And I want each bank branch to handhold a Dalit entrepreneur each, and then we will have 1 lakh flowers blooming in the country," Chidambaram told the meeting. Calling for more affirmative action to rid the society of the caste evil, he said socially and financially affirmative and inclusive actions like reservations for the under-privileged are the way forward. The venture capital fund, initiated by the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI), aims to raise Rs 500 crore which would be deployed over the next 10 years to finance Dalit entrepreneurs. The fund, approved by Sebi, was launched with an initial contribution of `10 crore by the Small Industries Development Bank of India.