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Markets and Social Institutions: Dalit Entrepreneurship

DICCI (photo credit)

The second set of activities is a research project that seeks to understand the salient characteristics of Dalit entrepreneurship and the principal factors that facilitate and impede Dalit entrepreneurship that are distinct from those faced by entrepreneurs from other communities. A key goal of this research project is to examine the role of markets and the private sector’s abilities to deliver economic and social empowerment. The project has four components:

  • Identifying large-scale revenue generating Dalit entrepreneurs (with sales above $0.5 million) and then doing a detailed survey. We are identifying a thousand such entrepreneurs and the survey has been launched.
  • Biographical Sketches of about twenty entrepreneurs. 
  • A survey of small-scale revenue generating Dalit entrepreneurs, focusing on the recycling industry in six towns across India
  • Dalit social entrepreneurship, using case studies of several prominent Dalit social entrepreneurs. 


Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs, Chandra Bhan Prasad, D. Shyam Babu, Devesh Kapur

Recycling Sector, CASI Working Paper (coming soon)

Promoting Economic Development: Dalit Social Entrepreneurship, CASI Working Paper (coming soon)


Research Affiliates

Chandra Bhan Prasad

CASI Fall 2007 Visiting Scholar




D. Shyam Babu

CASI Spring 2009 Visiting Scholar

Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research



Bharati Chaturvedi

Founder and Director, Chintan

Environmental Research and

Action Group


Kaushiki Rao

Independent researcher




Project Funding

Templeton Foundation

Press Release

Related Publications

"Capitalism’s Assault on the Indian Caste System: How Economic Liberalization Spawned Low-Caste Dalit Millionaires," Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. CATO Institute, Policy Analysis, No. 776. July 21, 2015

Media Coverage

Chandra Bhan Prasad & Milind Kamble interviewed by Shekhar Gupta on "Chalte Chalte." NDTV, April 18, 2015

Dalit entrepreneurs fight prejudices to build business, Shilpa Phadnis, The Times of India, July 21, 2013

In capitalism, you can buy a Merc and hire a Brahmin driver, Arati R. Jerath, The Times of India, July 21, 2013

Capitalism is Changing Caste Much Faster than Any Human Being. Dalits Should Look at Capitalism as a Crusader Against Caste, Shekhar Gupta, The Indian Express, June 11, 2013

Walk The Talk with Founders of Dalit Indian Chamber Of Commerce & Industry [video], NDTV, June 8, 2013 (see above article for video transcript)

Let every bank branch hand hold a Dalit entrepreneur, Chidambaram, Ministry of Finance, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, June 6, 2013

Capitalism Versus Caste: A New Order Based on the Market Can Sweep Away Centuries of Caste Discrimination, Chandra Bhan Prasad & Milind Kamble, The Times of India, April 17, 2013

Nothing Can Contest Caste Inequality More Than Free Markets and Economic Growth, The Times of India, February 6, 2013

Manifesto to End Caste: Push Capitalism and Industrialisation to Eradicate this Pernicious System, Chandra Bhan Prasad & Milind Kamble, The Times of India, January 23, 2013

To Empower Dalits, Do Away with India's Antiquated Retail Trading System, Chandra Bhan Prasad & Milind Kamble, The Times of India, December 5, 2012

Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI) convention Concluded, Nagpur Today, October 24, 2012

Dalit entrepreneurs repose faith in capital over quota, Priyanka Singh,The Times of India, October 15, 2012

VC Fund to Promote Dalit Biz Launched, The Economic Times Bangalore, October 5, 2012

Dalits get their own VC fund, Aditi Phadnis, Business Standard, April 14, 2012

Indian Outcast Millionaire Mulls Caste, Riches, Tim Sullivan, AP, Yahoo News, December 26, 2011

Scaling Caste Walls With Capitalism's Ladders in India, Lydia Polgreen, The New York Times, December 21, 2011