NEW DELHI: With an eye on the Dalit vote in the mega battle for Uttar Pradesh early next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to launch his “Stand up India” initiative to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women by easing access to loans, from that state.
The PM’s choice of venue — Noida in Uttar Pradesh — and the presence, at the launch, of 17 Dalit lawmakers from the BJP indicate that the party is aggressively pursuing Dalit voters, who make up a crucial 20 per cent of the state’s electorate. Under Stand Up India, 1.25 lakh bank branches will provide loans up to Rs 1 crore to SC/ST and women entrepreneurs.
At a function organised to mark the birth anniversary of Dalit leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, Modi flagged off 5,100 e-rickshaws.
Stressing that it was not possible for the government to provide jobs to everyone, the Prime Minister said the scheme would convert “job-seekers into job-creators... This scheme is going to transform the lives of people from Dalit and tribal communities”.
Getting on its feet
■ Stand up India initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among SC/STs and women
■ Was announced during PM’s Independence Day address
■ Launched in UP at function marking birth anniversary of former Deputy PM Babu Jagjivan Ram, with eye on Dalit vote ahead of UP assembly polls in 2017
■ Under Stand Up India 1.25 lakh bank branches will give loans up to Rs 1 crore