The newly launched Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) has been able to give Rs 50,000 crore worth of loans to 80,000 small entrepreneurs so far, most of them from backward castes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday. The government, he said, estimates that the number of Dalit entrepreneurs will double in the next two years.
“These are people who were once wary of even entering banks. This (scheme) enables a Dalit to stand tall in society, not as a job seeker but as a job giver,” Modi told a conference of the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the capital.
“A Dalit entrepreneur knows what it is like to go through the rigours in the world, unlike those who got businesses and fortunes as inheritance,” he said, adding that being from the backward class himself, he knows how it feels to be empowered against all odds.
“A Dalit goes through humiliation… ask me, I know how it feels to be humiliated. From my personal experience I can tell you, the elite still can’t stand it when they see a Dalit wearing nice clothes,” he said.
Under PMMY, loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs to fund their business.
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“Financial inclusion is at the core of the government’s focus. I want you (Dalit entrepreneurs) to know that I am your man in Delhi. Whatever assistance you may need, this government will provide,” he said. “The strength of a pyramid depends on the strength of its base. This government is working towards making the base strong.”
Talking about B R Ambedkar, who he invoked multiple times in the speech, Modi said Babasaheb had rightly understood that the only way for Dalit empowerment was through entrepreneurship. “A Dalit does not own land to till. So Babasaheb had rightly said that it was through industrialisation and entrepreneurship that the Dalits can come up. We are trying to provide that,” he said.