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Govt sets up funds to promote Dalit, innovative MSMEs

With the Lok Sabha polls only months away, the government Monday announced a Rs.200 crore venture capital fund to promote Dalit entrepreneurs and has proposed an initial contribution of Rs 100 crore to the 'India Inclusive Innovation Fund' to promote grass-root innovations in micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

The Industrial Finance Corp of India will set up the fund that will provide concessional finance to entrepreneurs from the community, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.

"I propose to provide an initial capital of Rs.200 crore, which can be supplemented," said the minister, while presenting the interim budget for fiscal 2014-15.

He said Rs.48,638 crore had been allocated for the Scheduled Castes sub-plan and Rs.30,726 crore for the tribal sub-plan, and any shortfall could be addressed when the regular budget was presented.

The finance ministry also announced adding Rs.100 crore to the India Inclusive Innovation Fund to help small and medium entrepreneurs.

The fund is being set up by the National Innovation Council and the ministry of small and medium enterprises and has a corpus of Rs.500 crore.

Chidambatram stated that Ministry of MSME will create the 'India Inclusive Innovation Fund' to promote grassroot innovations with social returns to support enterprises in the MSME sector. "I propose to make an initial contribution of Rs 100 crore to the corpus of the Fund," he said.

In his budget speech, while mentioning about state of the economy, the Finance Minister mentioned, inter-alia, that several measures have been taken to promote MSMEs including notifying a public procurement policy, establishing technology centres and common facility centres, and launching the Khadi mark.

The Finance Minister also mentioned about the major achievements of the Government in the current financial year, while discussing Report Card of 2013-14.