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Dalit Women – Entrepreneurship

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th at Press Club, Vijayawada on the theme “Dalit Women – Entrepreneurship”.B. Udayalakshmi, IAS, Principal Secretary, Board of Intermediate Education was the chief guest and the other guests on the dais wereM Caleb, General Manager, SC Corporation, Dr Siddoji, Incharge, Help Desk, Prof Samuel John, Dr Narasimha Rao and Jhansi Geddam, National Convener, DSS. The meeting was presided over by GDV Prakash, National Program Manager, DSS.

GDV Prakash, National Program Manager, DSS:detailing about the objective of the conference he said that as the years are passing by the prominence of international women’s day is fading out and the government is restricting itself to mere drawing competitions (muggulaPotilu), cooking competitions, organizing nominal meetings and distributing prizes. He reminded that the shramik women have fought for years together and achieved the limitation of working hours, rights etc. Hence in memory of this movement international women’s day is being celebrated.Therefore, on this occasion every year DSS organizes

conferences/workshops/seminars on the revelent thematic areas. This year the conference is being organised for the Shramik dalit women on the theme “Dalit Women – Entrepreneurship”. Therefore, in order to achieve our rights, we also need to continuously fight until we achieve. He reminded Ambedkar’s quotation “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved”. Hence, we need to measure the progress achieved by the dalit women and need to fill the gap in development.

Jhansi Geddam, National Convener, DSS:She greeted the gathering and explained the importance of International Women’s Day and the way DSS has been fighting for the rights of

dalit women and girl children. Women have to struggle for their rights and equality at home and outside. Only through proper knowledge and awareness, we can march towards violence free society.Then she explained how DSS has adopted the strategy of empowering the dalit women first through economic independence and for the purpose set up the target of transforming dalit women as entrepreneurs by utilizing the funds under SCSP/TSP Act. She pointed out that due to lack of knowledge and initiative of dalit women, lot of funds under the SCSP/TSP Act are going back as unutilized. More than thousand crores of rupees remained unspent last year. This new Act should be turned as a weapon for financial independence of women. The officers from SC corporation and government have been invited to this meeting to explain and inspire the participants to come forward to benefit from the SCSP/TSP Act.

B Udayalakshmi, IAS, Principal Secretary, Board of Intermediate Education:She wished all women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.She expressed happiness that women have come forward to learn to become entrepreneurs.She explained how women from SHGs have started small businesses and advised the women to acquire skills for tapping various opportunities and achieve economic independence.She stressed the importance of education and called upon all the women gathered there to get their children educated.There are

scholarships to go for education in foreign countries also. She said, all women should study, work hard and achieve the ideals of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. If we look into the history of the international women’s day and the journey so far it reveals that still the rights of the women are being denied therefore, we are celebrating every year in order to achieve our rights. Moreover, Men’s day is not being celebrated as their rights are not being denied.

M Caleb, General Manager, SC Corporation:He appreciated DSS for its systematic work and perfect documentation.DSS puts concerted efforts to render justice to victims of violence and

it is appreciable that DSS pursues a case from beginning till the logical end. He advised to nurture girl and boy children in the same way equally without any disparity and quoted the example of his daughter. Mothers should avoid discrimination of girls at home, which will boost their confidence to achieve equality in the society. He explained that the SC corporation sanctions tractors, autos, vermi culture and other schemes in the name of women. Likewise, land purchase scheme with 75% subsidy is being implemented and the amount for the purchase of land is increased from Rs.5,00,000 to Rs.15,00,000.He also pointed out how the schemes were mutualized by corrupt persons which brought bad name. He stressed the need for prompt repayment of bank loans to get credibility.He explained that they have set up credit facilitation centres in each district to help the beneficiaries in understanding the loan facilities, and to see that middlemen do not indulge in frauds. He said, the corporation is imparting various skill trainings and called upon the youth to improve language and other skills and settled down as entrepreneurs.

DrSiddoji, Incharge, HelpDesk:Siddoji motivated the audience to transform as entrepreneurs. He said Dalits fear to start business, but to do business, it is will power that is required than education. Business involves making goods and selling them. He cited the example of Pulla Reddy sweets who without education built a business empire. One can start manufacturing even a folder and if the manufacturing costs is Rs.0.50 paisa, it can be sold for Rs.10. One should be willing to work hard and it is through hard work only one can produce money. Once you have money, money produces money, that is logicof business. Now a day, if you take a bank loan and avail subsidy it will be easy to run the business. For doing business, one should have firm commitment, energy and the attitude to take responsibility. Only those who are willing to take responsibility will have self-respect.

Prof Samuel Johnappreciated the work of DSS and said that to make the dalit women as entrepreneurs is a challenging task and it’s great that DSS has taken up such a tough task.He advised the participants to acquire the necessary knowledge through the trainings given by DSS and start their own enterprises. To question the denial of rights we need to know about our rights and often we forget about the economic rights and therefore, land in poverty. Therefore, we have very good opportunities to sustain ourselves economically, hence we need to formulate an action plan and walk towards the direction given to us by the representative of SC corporation.

The cultural team presented powerful songs on Ambedkar, Women and girl children and the conference was over with the vote of thanks by Kote Prakash Kumar.

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