Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached out to Dalits across the country by condemning atrocities against them.
While addressing a gathering at the launch of a national SC/ST hub in Ludhiana, Punjab, the Prime Minister stressed on the need to promote entrepreneurship among the Dalit youngsters to empower them.
At a time when Dalits are voicing their anger against discrimination meted out to them by the upper castes across the country, PM Modi's words could provide "healing touch" to the aggrieved community.
The Prime Minister said his "head hangs in shame" over incidents of atrocities on Dalits that take place even after 70 years of Independence and called for more focused efforts to correct social anomalies.
Citing the example of Guru Gobind Singh in raising his voice against casteism and untouchability, Modi said: "We know that due to our societal anomalies, hearing out some incidents targeting our Dalit brothers even today, my head hangs in shame. After 70 years of Independence, we cannot wait longer".
Talking about the importance of entrepreneurship, Modi said the hub for scheduled castes and scheduled tribe would help Dalits and Adivasis become entrepreneurs so that they can provide jobs to others.
"We will have to sharpen the focus of our direction. The aspirations of a Dalit or an Adivasi exceed those of other youth in the country. If they get an opportunity they will not lag behind in changing the fortunes of India," the Prime Minister added.
This is what Modi tweeted about the importance of installing business acumen among the Dalits:
Emphasised on the need to harness a spirit of entrepreneurship among Dalit youngsters so that they become job creators & innovators.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 18, 2016
Modi also mentioned that under the Startup India, Standup India scheme, 1.25 lakh branches of nationalised banks in the country have been directed to sanction loans up to Rs 1 crore to at least one woman, and one person each belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories, adding that the move can help create 3.75 lakh such entrepreneurs.
"I have requested the state governments that 4 per cent should be procured from goods manufactured by Dalits to encourage them," Modi said.