New Delhi, Aug 15: Invoking dalit icon BR Ambedkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked banks to provide financial assistance to dalits and tribals for start-ups to encourage entrepreneurship among the communities.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, the Prime Minister, who is under constant attack from the Opposition for pursuing alleged "pro-corporate policies", chose the occasion to reach out to dalits tribals and the poor.
Hailing the banks for giving a push financial inclusion of the poor through zero balance account under Jan Dhan Yojana, Modi said that they can play a bigger role.
"There are 1.25 lakh bank branches. This year is the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar. Will each of 1.25 lakh bank branches make a commitment to provide loans to at least one tribal or Dalit?," he said, adding if every bank branch funds at least one start-up, this will result in 1.25 lakh start ups by Dalits and tribals who will give employment to many others.
Modi said they should also encourage at least one woman entrepreneur. "There is a need to encourage them to be entrepreneurs. There should be a start up in every village," Modi said.
Referring to youths, he said that they have a special role in taking the nation forward and there is a need to provide financial help to develop entrepreneurship.
The Prime Minister's statement comes in the backdrop of the Government observing the 125th birth anniversary of the architect of the Indian Constitution in a big way months before Assembly elections are scheduled in Bihar in which the BJP is wooing the Dalits and Mahadalits.
The Prime Minister insisted that the schemes of the government are aimed at benefiting the poor and the downtrodden. He listed measures like Jan Dhan Yojana, schemes to provide insurance cover and Swachh Bharat campaign.
"All our systems or schemes should be of help to the poor. We want to empower the poor in their fight against poverty. The main thrust of governance is that how our schemes benefit the poor," he said.
Making a pitch for dignity of labour, the Prime Minister said that the way the poor are looked at in our country needs to be changed.
"If somebody comes wearing coat, pant and tie, we stand in respect," he said contrasting with the treatment people meted out to the poor. "Our attitude towards the poor is not correct," he said.