Out of the 106 candidates selected for the programme, only 11 belong to the Adivasi community.

Telangana Adivasi students unhappy after less representation in entrepreneurship scheme
news Controversy Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 18:49

106 students have been selected for the entrepreneurship programme at the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB), as part of Telangana state government’s ‘Chief Minister Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scheme.’ However, there has been some backlash from tribal students.

The Rs 55 crore project saw a number of tribal students and aspiring entrepreneurs applying across the state. The Tribal Welfare Department has selected 106 students for the 2017-18 academic year. Of these 106 students, only 11 belong to the Adivasi community. This gross underrepresentation has created a deep wedge between the Banjara Lambadas and the Adivasis.

Both the Adivasis and Lambadas have been fighting against each other in the state for quite some time now. The Adivasis have accused the Lambadas of exploiting the employment opportunities of the Adivasi community and have demanded that the government delist Lambadas from the Scheduled Tribe category.  

“Out of the 106 students, only 11 are from the Adivasi community. The majority the aspiring entrepreneurs are Lambadas, this clearly exhibits how the Lambadas are eating away our opportunities. We are supposed to be the actual beneficiaries of this scheme, but yet again they are seizing away our opportunities,” said an Adivasi aspiring entrepreneur to TNM, “Several Adivasis would have benefitted from the scheme if the Lambadas weren’t a part of it. Many of our Adivasi brothers from several sub-communities would have got opportunities and uplifted their respective communities.”

27-year-old Athram Roshan from Utnoor mandal in Adilabad, is one of the eleven students chosen for the programme. Lauding the government for introducing such a scheme, he said that he was able to set up his own food processing unit in his hometown of Utnoor.  

However, he too expressed displeasure at the composition of the candidates selected. “I don’t want to make it anything political, but the selection of nearly 99% of only Lambada candidates is too much,” he said.

Another candidate, 21-year-old Kumran Nikhil who also got selected for the programme was hesitant to comment on the issue fearing repercussions, and said that candidates were selected on the basis of merit. “The selectors looked at the candidate’s communication skills and how well they spoke English. Though many from the Adivasi community applied, most of them got rejected. This means that the Adivasis are not getting good schools which enables them to speak good English. There is a fundamental problem,” he said.

The ‘Chief Minister Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scheme’ was introduced on March 28, 2018. Two batches of 53 students were selected for the programme. Under the programme the government provides them accommodation in ISB and they have business classes for five days every month for the three-month period of the course.

After the programme the government ties up with banks and helps the entrepreneurs with start their own companies.  

Speaking to TNM, the HOD of Tribal Welfare Department, Shankar Rao said, “We are happy that the project took off, after teething troubles. This welfare programme would continue, every year and the government would provide Rs 55 crore towards it.”

 

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