Strive for economic empowerment: Milind Kamble to Dalits

Dalits should think out of the box and explore the vast opportunities in commerce and industries for better careers, Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICC) chairman Milind Kamble said Sunday.

The Padma Shri said, "The general perception among Dalits is self-empowerment can be attained only through politics. The academically oriented often opt for politics or administrative services that are considered top posts for empowerment, but this is not true."

He lamented often the most bright college students spend life pursuing politics to become a district general secretary or corporator. They never think the same zeal in setting up a small-scale industry would gradually bring higher dividend.

Kamble said, "I can state with certainty there are better options for both self-empowerment and national contribution in the fields of economics and industries."

DICC has a list of 10,000 self-made Dalit entrepreneurs with an annual turnover between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 100 crore.

"The enrollment of members is not even 1 per cent of population. In Maharashtra, the number of self-made Dalit businessmen or women does not exceed 1,000. Dalits account for 16% of the state population."

On the personal front, Kamble said: "I never imagined I would be considered for Padma Shri. It will set an example for young Dalit friends who have been reluctant to pursue a career in industries."

Dismissing politics of reservation, he said, "The younger generation of Dalits should become pragmatic. It's time to accept the fact that jobs in the government sector are shrinking. Openings in private sector are more challenging and should be pursued.

"It is a myth one has to be born rich to start a small-scale industry."

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