National SC & ST Hub – Empowerment of SC & ST Entrepreneurs
The National SC/ST Hub has been set up to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurs with view to help them to avail the facilities and programmes of the government and become equal stakeholders in the economy of the country as an affirmative and empowering initiative for the advantage of the socially and economically weaker sections of the society. The National SC/ST Hub (NSSH) would provide professional support to the SC/ST enterprises thereby enabling them to effectively participate in public procurement process. The Hub would also work towards the development of new entrepreneurs to participate in procurement process leveraging on the ‘Stand up India’ programme. NSIC is the nodal agency of the NSSH under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME. Government has earmarked Rupees 490 crores for the NSSH for the period 2016-20. A special website has been launched to apprise the concerned and interested of the activities and functions of the Hub: www.scsthub.in
There are three major prongs of the Hub to implement the policies for the benefit of SC entrepreneurs:
· Public procurement policy for SC & ST suppliers.
· MSME Data Bank – to provide the requisite data for the business facilitation of SC and ST stakeholder,
· Finance facilities – to provide for loan and venture funds through banks and other financial institutions.
The North India Chapter of the National SC & ST Hub was ceremonially inaugurated on March 14 in Ludhiana, an industrial centre of Punjab at a solemn function led by Chairman and MD of NSIC Ravinder Nath. Representatives of various SC business organizations and prominent businessmen of the community participated in the function. Chairman Ravinder Nath held an interactive session with the media and other participants and said that the sole purpose of the Hub was to help and assist the SC entrepreneurs to join the mainstream of business as stipulated in the recent policies and programmes of the Government like Start upand Stand up initiatives. He further said that NSIC being the nodal agency, under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME, will do its best to engage the weaker sections of the society as equal stake holders with regard to financial backup as well as participation in the Public procurement. I, in my capacity as the Chief Patron of SC Entrepreneurs Empowerment Forum, represented the Forum at the function accompanied by Former Chairman of Punjab SC Commission Rajesh Bagha. In my brief intervention at the interactive session, I thanked the government and the NSIC for their well meaning initiatives in inviting and motivating SC entrepreneurs to take advantage of the government schemes to establish and better their businesses. I also appreciated the affirmative and empowering provisions of these endeavors to realize the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar to transform our political democracy into an economic and social democracy. I took the opportunity to advice and alert my SC brethren to come forward and take full advantage of the government schemes so that these schemes did not remain on paper. Resident-In-Charge of the Hub at Ludhiana Ravi Kant and Deputy GM of NSIC at Jalandhar A.K. Verma assured us all due facilitation and assistance to the young and infant enterprises of SC businessmen as envisaged in the various schemes.
It may not be out of place to mention that SC Entrepreneurs Empowerment Forum under the spirited leadership of Shri Rajesh Bagha and his team of young activists like Shammi Kapoor, Jiwan Singh, Bhupender Kumar, Prem Domeli, Gurdev Mahey, Vijay Sehjal among others is fully geared up and committed to motivateand generate awareness among the concerned SC business circles to stand up and avail of the government schemes to establish their economic identity with a view to join the main stream of the society. The recently held Begumpura Business Conclave in Jalandhar was one such activity which was a great success. A delegation of the Forum led by Rajesh Bagha and Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal also met Hon’ble Minister of MSME Giriraj Singh and the Secretary MSME to solicit their help and direction in this regard.
Let me conclude by adding that we should try to engage ourselves with the concerned agencies like the NSIC and MSME with an open mind, not as complainants but as positive stakeholders to mutual benefit. We have nothing to lose but everything to gain.