A Dalit-Adivasi Entrepreneurs conference was held under the aegis of DICCI on 13 October 2018 at Patna. A declaration adopted at the conference demanded priority to Dalits in all fields of economic activity – ranging from contractorship to entrepreneurship. It was also demanded that the Dalit students should be given Dr Ambedkar Overseas Scholarship for studies abroad. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar assured that the demands would be considered positively.
All Dalit issues discussed
The conference was jointly organized by DICCI, CSEI (Centre for Social Equity & Inclusion) and Anugrah Narayan College, Patna. It was held at the auditorium of Anugrah Narayan College. Representatives of organizations working in the field, senior officers and social activists from all over the country attended the conference. The issues were discussed in six different sessions. The first session was on “Dalit-Adivasi Entrepreneurship and Industrial Development in Bihar”. In this session, various government initiatives for the development of entrepreneurship among the Dalits were discussed. The problems that may arise in the future were also dwelt upon. The second issue was “Education in Dalit-Adivasi communities”, while the third was “Status of Economic Rights of Dalits-Adivasis”. The fourth issue was “Social Security status of Dalits and Adivasis”. In this session, the growing role of these communities in society was discussed. The fifth session was devoted to “Potential and Initiatives taken for the empowerment of Dalit-Adivasi women and youth”. The last session discussed “Growing violence against Dalit-Adivasi communities”.
Retired IAS officer P.S. Krishnan was the main speaker
P.S. Krishnan, former secretary to the Government of India, delivered the main address at the conference. Drawing on his rich experience, he threw light on the potential and the challenges facing the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) youths. Additionally, G.K. Chaudhary, pro-VC of Patliputra University; S.P. Shahi, principal of AN College; Rajesh Paswan, assistant professor in JNU and Bihar in-charge of DICCI; R.S. Kureel, director, Agriculture, Government of India; and Satyendra Kumar, NYEEF coordinator, expressed their views and made suggestions for encouraging SC-ST youths to become entrepreneurs.
The conclusions of the deliberations were released as Patna Declaration. The declaration makes a point-wise listing of the demands so that the government agencies can take department-wise decisions on it.
A copy of the declaration was handed over to the Chief Minister at the Sankalp Se Samarthya programme on 14 October. The Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar; said that he would study the declaration and take necessary action.
Dr Ambedkar Overseas Scholarship
The Declaration emphasizes skill development of SC, ST youths. It proposes launching of Dr Ambedkar Overseas Scholarship Scheme to enable the youth of these communities to study abroad. Also, they should be given reservations and adequate financial assistance to enable them to get admitted to the top technical institutions. To improve their command over English language, special trainings and competitions should be held at the district level and they should be given priority in admissions to state-funded institutions. Under the Right to Education, 25 per cent reservation should be granted to these communities in privately run educational institutions. It was also emphasized that all cases filed under the SC, ST Atrocities Act should be disposed of as quickly as possible and special courts should be established for this purpose. Special public prosecutors should be appointed in these courts.
Build environment for encouraging industries
The speakers also emphasized the need for building an environment that encourages industries so that SC and ST students develop an interest in entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs of these communities are facing difficulties in finding a market for their products. So, the government should help in marketing and branding of their products. The government should pay 90 per cent of the fee payable for converting farmland into industrial land and 100 percent of the stamp duty and mutation charges in case of purchase of land for industries. These communities should get financial incentives under margin money scheme and for establishing MSME industries. The financial institutions should also extend incentives to them and their procedures should be simplified.
Encourage taking up government contracts
The issue of reservations and incentives for SCs and STs in government contracts was also raised. The declaration said that there is a vast potential in contracts given by different departments of the government. To encourage these communities in this field, they should be granted exemptions in turnover, security money and experience norms. This will make them confident and they will come forward to work in this field.
The declaration also demands that a special recruitment campaign should be launched to fill up the vacant posts under the SC-ST quota, these communities should be given representation in the High Courts, a special cell should also be created in the Chief Minister’s office for monitoring the schemes for the development of these communities, the funds under SC-ST sub-plan should be spent on them only and the excess amount should be carried forward and added in the next fiscal year. Also, special provisions should be made for ensuring better living standards and housing for the landless families of these communities.
The chief minister updated the attendees on the ongoing schemes meant for these communities at the ‘Sankalp Se Samarthya’ programme. He said that the suggestions made in the declaration would be considered and new schemes would also be launched for the welfare of these classes.
Translation: Amrish Herdenia, Copyediting: Ravinder Goel/Lokesh
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