People from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will perform as well as others if they are given the opportunity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
"Our tribal brethren and those belonging to Scheduled Castes will perform equally well as us if they are provided with the opportunities. How long will they wait for jobs and to which extent government can give them jobs. God has given equal power and strength to Dalits as to us, " he said.
"We got the opportunity but they were denied it. If we can perform on getting an opportunity, they can also perform, " Modi said, advocating equal opportunities for people belonging to Scheduled Castes.
Referring to Dalits, the prime minister said "they should not depend on someones' mercy".
"Dalit youths should aspire to become entrepreneurs and businessmen. They can easily avail loans from the branches Mudra Bank now, " he said, counting his government's schemes for the welfare of SC/STs.
"Our poor have rich hearts. We asked them to open their bank accounts with zero balance but they said they will contribute something or the other. Poor deposited Rs. 50, Rs. 100 in these accounts and government got 35, 000 crore rupees through Jan Dhan Yojana, " Modi said.
Also, paying tributes to former deputy prime minister and defence minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, Modi said the government is launching Stand Up India campaign on his birthday.
"Babu Jagjivan Ram was the defence minister of our country at the time of the 1971 war. He was the agriculture minister at the time of green revolution but his contributions were forgotten over the period of time, " Modi said.
"He (Jagjivan Ram) has always been an inspirational and respected leader for us, " the prime minister said, adding that Stand Up India Campaign announced by him in his Independence Day address will strengthen the Dalit households.