Ratan Tata to attend first dalit trade fair

New Delhi, Sept., 26 : In a first, the three-day trade fair to be organized by dalit entrepreneurs and businessmen in December will be attended by Ratan Tata. "We had sent an invitation to Ratan Tata and he has confirmed that he will attend our conclave and exhibition," said Milind Kamble, chairman of Dalit India Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The event, beginning December 16, will be held at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. DICCI, whose mission statement calls for "fighting caste with capital", will showcase about half-a-dozen dalits who started as small entrepreneurs but now are running companies with multinational operations.

"The presence of Ratan Tata has great symbolic value as it will signify the change happening in India, and it will give great hope to dalits that the country's top business houses are now ready to make them partners in trade. It will also encourage other industrialists to engage with companies owned by dalits," said Kamble, the Pune-based businessman who was one of the brains behind the formation of DICCI in 2005. "The event will be a milestone. It will turn out to be a new narrative on changing India."

The event will host more than 200 dalit companies involved in hardcore manufacturing, construction, trading, health, hospitality and the knowledge industry.

"Our friends in the US are also trying to get Robert Johnson, the first black billionaire, to visit the fair as the guest of honour," Kamble said.



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