Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Dalit capitalism and Dalit entrepreneurship

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Stand Up India

Mains level : Paper 2- Encouraging Dalit entrepreneurship

Context

In a departure from the fixation on traditional parameters for the study of Dalit rights and empowerment, there is now a focus on how market forces can be expanded to address social exclusion.

How Dalit entrepreneurship can help in Dalit entrepreneurship

  • While entrepreneurship alone isn’t the panacea to caste-based exclusion or marginalisation, Dalit entrepreneurship is the new narrative changing the discourse of Dalit empowerment.
  • Entrepreneurship can shape access to rights and push against entrenched social hierarchies.
  • The circulation of material benefits and the relative autonomy that comes with entrepreneurship are added advantages.
  • As per the reports by the MSME ministry, Dalit-owned ventures are still minimal in terms of numbers as well as revenue.
  • To overcome hindrances to the establishment of networks across various social groups, Dalit entrepreneurs take recourse to their internal ties and use them to sustain their economic gains.
  • It is increasingly becoming clear that supporting Dalits entrepreneurs is integral to the nation’s inclusive development and this is why institutional aid is required in this regard.

Steps taken so far

  • The District Industries Centre (DIC) stipulates that to nurture entrepreneurs, the government must increase the share of goods produced by Dalits in its procurement.
  • State financial corporations have also been instructed to increase financial support to Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs.
  • The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has allocated 16.2 per cent of plots to SC entrepreneurs, while the Small Industries Development Bank of India offers an additional subsidy to them.
  • One of the focussed financial interventions for SC/ST entrepreneurs is the Stand Up India initiative, guaranteeing credit up to Rs 1 crore.

Challenges

  • Stand Up India initiative failed to deliver the expected results due to the unavailability of so-called eligible SC/ST entrepreneurship, with most of the fund lying unutilised.
  • This was primarily due to the apathy of loaning branches and officials towards proposals by Dalit entrepreneurs.
  • It is evident that despite the existence of government schemes and policies to support such initiatives, the actual benefit could never reach the beneficiaries due to the artificial inaccessibility created by inherent social and caste biases.

Way forward

  • There is a need for Dalit-focussed alternate investment finance (AIF) and private equity (PE) funds to create a vibrant and inclusive MSME ecosystem.
  • It is evident that despite the existence of government schemes and policies to support such initiatives, the actual benefit could never reach the beneficiaries due to the artificial inaccessibility created by inherent social and caste biases.
  • There is a need to formulate multiple credit guarantee trusts by raising contributions from MNCs, FDIs, portfolio investors, corporates, etc.
  • A social vulnerability index also needs to be introduced, addressed and assessed.

Conclusion

Dalit entrepreneurship today holds the promise of an exciting and uncharted future for social transformation.

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