The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) will take the Centre’s ambitious ‘Stand Up India’ scheme to the Maoist belt across Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to promote self-entrepreneurship and development in the
The DICCI, which played a significant role in drafting the Stand Up India project four years ago, believes hand-holding talented rural youths in the Maoist belt would encourage new entrepreneurs and boost development in the backward region.
“From Bastar to Gadchiroli, we are focusing on the entire Naxal corridor. DICCI is working in coordination with the local administration in every state. Pilot projects in Gadchiroli, Bastar, and Kalahandi are being executed on a small scale,” DICCI chairman Milind Kamble told The Indian Express.
The chamber of commerce, he said, has also sent a proposal to the Centre about its ambitious plan to work full-fledged on the Stand Up India project in the Maoist belt.
Under the central government’s scheme, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates can avail loan between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore for business initiatives in diverse fields.
Claiming that over dependence of educated Dalit and tribal youths on government jobs through reservation has its own limitations, Kamble said, “Dalits and tribals have to explore new employment opportunities outside government jobs. Politically, aware SC/ST youths, who are equipped with higher education and talent, have to break the comfort zone and venture into self entrepreneurship.”
The national literacy level is 73 per cent. The average literacy level of SCs and STs stand at 66 and 59 per cent, respectively.
Asserting that the only way to beat all socio-political evils was through economic empowerment, the DICCI chairman said, “Under Stand Up India scheme, 45,000 SC/STs have been enrolled. Of which 20,000 youths have already started their projects after receiving financial loans from banks. The proposal of 25,000 youths, who are eligible, are in process. The average loans individually is to the tune of Rs 16 lakh.”
In Maharashtra, proposals of 12,000 youth are under process, Kamble said. Kamble said the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide 15 per cent short margin money would boost self-entrepreneurship amongst SC/STs in the state. Under the Stand UP India project, individuals have to raise 25 per cent funds, while 75 per cent are provided as loans.
The state subsidies of 15 per cent means an individual will have to raise only 10 per cent fund. The DICCI is also exploring the newly opened defence manufacturing sector which provides Rs 5000 crore market for talented SC/ST entrepreneurs.