Venture capital funds, especially for Dalit entrepreneurs, were crucial for their businesses to expand from small holdings to large enterprises, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, said here on Friday.

He was participating in a panel discussion on how to mainstream Dalits, tribals and other marginalised communities at a five-day national conference organised by National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR).

Launching a job portal for marginalised youth, www.fairjobs.com, Ahluwalia said a major focus of the 12{+t}{+h} Plan was education and skill development, which would pay dividends in the future for Dalit communities.

“While formal schooling is a must, skill development is crucial for employability. Prosperity will come only when Dalits, whether farmers or businessmen, participate in the mainstream economy by building human skills and entrepreneurship.”

Caste & Capital

Milind Kamble, Founder Chairman of Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), said society must rethink the way in which it looks at Dalits.

He said, “3,000 members of DICCI together are worth Rs 30,000 crore. We are not dependent only on Government largesse. We are entrepreneurs and we pay taxes, we employ people, we have a rightful share in the economy… We must become a part of this mainstream economy, and fight caste with capital”.

Invest in youth

Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission and National Advisory Council, said that by 2020, India’s average age will be 29, while in the US it will be 37, and 49 in Japan. Therefore, India must invest in youth.

NACDOR recently signed an agreement with the Confederation of Indian Industry to support the affirmative action agenda of the industry by creating the job portal and creating a data bank of the skilled youth belonging to Dalit and tribal communities, a NACDOR release said.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 7, 2012)
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