India File

Not business as usual for a Dalit entrepreneur

Tina Edwin | Updated on August 14, 2018 Published on August 14, 2018

Nand Kishore Chandan

When Nand Kishore Chandan’s family shifted from Amroha in Moradabad district to Delhi in 1982 where his father was employed as draughtsman with the Central Water Commission, adjusting to city life was his biggest challenge.

He joined in the ninth standard in a Delhi school, having studied up to eighth standard in the village. It was not so easy in school — he failed to clear examinations for two years in a row. It was only when one of his teachers decided to tutor him gratis after classes that he managed to clear the exams. That turned out to be a turning point. Not only did he clear tenth standard Board with good marks, but he also stood third in the science Olympiad all-India.

Chandan is now a successful entrepreneur with a factory in an industrial park in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district and a supplier of items such as electricity meter boxes, junction boxes and bus bar boxes to Tata Power-Delhi Distribution Ltd. He is also manufacturing other plastic items such as closed-circuit camera cases and has plans to scale up to assembling closed-circuit cameras and distribution boxes for solar panels.

He helps the Dalit community turn entrepreneurs by outsourcing manufacture of smaller plastic and metallic parts such as screws and plates that he needs in his factory and helping them get finance. He intends to transform his factory into an assembly unit for various products which would be run with components sourced from ventures of mostly Dalit entrepreneurs. “I want to be like Maruti,” says Chandan.

Diwali gift was catalyst

One could call him an accidental entrepreneur. Like most graduates, he too had taken up employment. His first job was in the factory being run by a son of the head of department of his college. The factory was not doing well but his HoD saw potential in Chandan to engineer a turnaround. But he did not stay there for too long.

His reason for leaving was disappointment with the Diwali gift from his employer — ₹101 and a box of sweets.

His friends from college, in comparison, got one month’s salary as bonus, a watch, a silver coin and a box of sweets from their employer in Delhi’s Darya Ganj area.

So, he set out to find employment with that company, only to be turned away thrice. On his fourth attempt, the owners of the business decided to employ him, but offered him only ₹800 per month, a third of what he and his friends were already earning. Chandan was so determined to work for that business — which was engaged in refurbishing and selling used imported photocopiers — that he took that offer.

Chandan impressed his employers with his hard work. He was invited to join the partnership in 1996 as they could not afford to continue increasing his pay. Chandan decided to start his own business instead — again refurbishing imported copiers and computers in addition to manufacturing some spare parts.

By 1999-2000, Chandan was doing business with his former employers. The company, Recon India Spare Parts Pvt Ltd, was set up in 2001 with Chandan holding 25 per cent of the shares and one of his former employers, Anoop Gupta, holding majority. But new e-waste regulations issued by the Centre put a spanner in the works — there was a blanket ban on importing used copiers, computers and parts. Chandan bought out Gupta, invested in new machinery to make plastic parts for the power sector. His company made a turnover of almost ₹10 crore last year and has set a target of ₹20 crore for this year and ₹60 crore by 2020-21.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on August 14, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor