Monday, December 19, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Dalit bizmen are India Inc’s poster boys

Dalit bizmen are India Inc's poster boys
TNN | Dec 18, 2011, 04.47AM IST
MUMBAI: Neglected for years, Dalit entrepreneurs are now gaining
momentum and getting ready to expand their horizons and do business
with industrial houses.

The Dalit India Chamber of Commerce and Industries ( DICCI),
inaugurated by industrialist Adi Godrej on Saturday, held its first
expo in the city to showcase products of member-entrepreneurs. The
association has also decided to create a venture capital fund with a
corpus of Rs 500 crore.

Cottage industries like handicraft, T-shirts and leather products were
showcased at the event. Firms engaged in construction and
manufacturing industrial products also featured prominently. Many
Dalits beat the odds to become successful entrepreneurs in their own
right. Yashodhan Ramteke, an electronics engineer, set up a private
institute to train engineers in maintaining thermal power plants in
Nagpur. Dr Nanda Kishore runs a 100-bed hospital in Hyderabad are
success stories from the community.

"I was lucky to get good education and a job with the Union ministry
of agriculture. However, I would back reservation since it would
provide the impetus to my community," said Natha Ram, the director of
Steel Mont Private Ltd-a Rs 600-crore company set up by Rajesh Saraiya
(Natha's son).

Saraiya is India's first Dalit billionaire. Born in a middle class
family in Dehradun, Rajesh studied aeronautical engineering in Russia
and is now based in Ukraine. Kalpana Saroj has done what no Dalit
woman in the corporate world could. A school dropout, Saroj is the
chairperson of Kamani Tubes Limited. The company, which makes
non-ferrous tubes, had a troubled existence over the past two decades,
requiring constant assistance by the Board for Industrial and
Financial Reconstruction, following internecine feuds in the Kamani

"Supporters and investors turn up if you are focused on what you
want," said Saroj. J Nandakumar has craved a niche for himself in the
art world. Having completed his Master's in fine arts from Aurangabad
university, Nandakumar held many exhibitions of his paintings at J J
art gallery. Many corporates have purchased his art works.


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