BENGALURU: Former Minister for Social Welfare, IT and Tourism Department, Priyank Kharge, has questioned the State Government’s commitment to encouraging Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs in the state.“Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment says the government will encourage SC entrepreneurs, but the State Government has almost stopped India’s biggest SC/ST entrepreneurship programme, SAMRUDDHI,” Kharge stated. He was responding to Union Minister of State A Narayanaswamy’s remarks in a recent interview to TNIE.
Kharge said 33,675 people had applied when the programme was started and 2,2140 were found to be eligible. After two-and-half years, the government has not given grants to even 5,000 of them, he said and added that Rs 225 crore was allocated in 2018-19, Rs 30 crore in 2019-20 and no allocation was made in 2020-21. Under the programme, Rs 10 lakh is given to each beneficiary to start a business.
“There is no point in talking about entrepreneurship without allocating funds. The government has to either create jobs or create opportunities for people who want to create jobs. Entrepreneurs have to be seen as job creators. Instead of giving them loans, give them grants,” said Kharge.
An officer of the Social Welfare Department said the target was to give the grants to 630 applicants selected under the scheme and it had already funded 360 of them, while another 108 are about to open their businesses.