Jitan Ram Manjhi: Champion of the Marginalised, Takes Charge of MSME Ministry

How Jitan Ram Manjhi advocates for MSME growth in Bihar, promoting skill development, financial inclusion, and infrastructure to empower marginalized communities." MSME Opportunities | SMEStreet Exclusive | Policies

Faiz Askari
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Jitan Ram Manjjhi MSME Minister
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Today, we are witnessing the beginning of the new chapter of Indian MSMEs in the Modi 3.0 era. Ex- Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi is joining MSME MInistry as the Union Minister of MSME, Govt of India. We at SMEStreet welcome Shri Manjhi for taking up this great position which holds great potential to drive Vast Indian MSMEs to success globally. 

Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi is a name synonymous with resilience and advocacy for the marginalized in Bihar. From humble beginnings to becoming the Chief Minister of Bihar, Manjhi's journey is a testament to his dedication to social justice and empowerment. This article delves into his life, political career, and enduring impact on Bihar's socio-political landscape.

From the MSME's perspective, in this article, discover how Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi advocates for MSME growth in Bihar, promoting skill development, financial inclusion, and infrastructure to empower marginalized communities and drive economic development.

Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi’s political journey is a powerful narrative of resilience, advocacy, and unwavering commitment to social justice. From his early days in the Musahar community to his tenure as Chief Minister and beyond, Shri Manjhi has consistently championed the cause of the marginalized. His enduring influence continues to shape Bihar’s political landscape, inspiring future generations to fight for equality and inclusion.

Early Life and Background

Born on October 6, 1944, in Mahkar village, Gaya district, Jitan Ram Manjhi hails from the Musahar community, one of the most marginalized Dalit groups in Bihar. His early life was marked by poverty and limited opportunities, common among Musahars. Despite these challenges, Manjhi pursued education, earning a Bachelor’s degree in History from Magadh University.

Political Beginnings

Manjhi's political career began with the Janata Dal, where he worked his way up through dedication and grassroots activism. His commitment to social justice caught the attention of key political figures, leading to his election to the Bihar Legislative Assembly. Manjhi's early political journey included affiliations with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), where he served in various ministerial roles, including Labour, Welfare, Minor Irrigation, and Transport.

As the Chief Minister of Bihar

In a dramatic turn of events, Jitan Ram Manjhi became the Chief Minister of Bihar on May 20, 2014, succeeding Nitish Kumar, who resigned after the JD(U)'s poor performance in the 2014 general elections. Manjhi's tenure as Chief Minister was marked by his focus on the welfare of marginalized communities. However, his term was fraught with political challenges and controversies, primarily due to internal conflicts within his party and opposition from his predecessor, Nitish Kumar. Despite these hurdles, Manjhi’s leadership highlighted issues of social inequality and the need for inclusive development.

Formation of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)

After resigning as Chief Minister in February 2015, Manjhi founded the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) to further his vision of social justice. The party aims to represent Dalits, economically backward classes, and other marginalized groups. HAM's formation underscored Manjhi’s commitment to providing a political voice to the underrepresented and addressing their specific concerns.

Political Alliances and Electoral Performance

Manjhi's political strategy involved aligning with larger political coalitions to amplify his impact. In the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly elections, HAM allied with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Although the alliance faced setbacks, Manjhi remained undeterred. He continued to navigate Bihar’s complex political terrain, including re-aligning with the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) during the 2020 elections. In 2021, HAM rejoined the NDA, highlighting Manjhi’s pragmatic approach to achieving his political objectives.

Personal Life and Legacy

Jitan Ram Manjhi's personal life is rooted in the values of resilience and service. Married with children, his son, Santosh Suman, has followed in his footsteps, serving as a minister in the Bihar government. Manjhi's legacy is characterized by his unwavering commitment to the upliftment of marginalized communities. His efforts have brought attention to the systemic issues faced by Dalits and economically backward classes, making him a pivotal figure in Bihar’s socio-political fabric.

The Importance of MSMEs in India

MSMEs are the backbone of India's economy, characterized by their adaptability and capacity for generating employment. They contribute around 30% to India’s GDP and employ over 110 million people across the country. In Bihar, MSMEs are essential for driving economic activity, especially in rural and semi-urban areas.

Jitan Ram Manjhi's Commitment for uplifting the MSME sector

Shri Manjhi's tenure as Chief Minister of Bihar and subsequent political activities have focused on inclusive growth and social justice. Understanding the potential of MSMEs to uplift these communities, Shri Manjhi has emphasized the need for supportive policies and infrastructure to foster MSME growth in Bihar.

Initiatives for MSME Development in Bihar

1. Skill Development and Training Programs

Shri Manjhi has consistently advocated for skill development as a means to empower the workforce in Bihar. During his tenure and beyond, he emphasized the need for vocational training and skill development programs tailored to the needs of the MSME sector. These programs aim to equip individuals from marginalized communities with the skills required to start and manage small businesses, thereby enhancing their economic independence.

2. Access to Credit and Financial Support

One of the significant challenges faced by MSMEs is access to credit. Manjhi has highlighted the importance of financial inclusion and the need for easier access to credit for small entrepreneurs. He has supported initiatives aimed at providing low-interest loans and financial assistance to MSMEs, particularly those led by individuals from marginalized backgrounds. This financial support is crucial for the establishment and expansion of small enterprises in Bihar.

3. Infrastructure Development

Recognizing the importance of infrastructure in the growth of MSMEs, Manjhi has pushed for improved connectivity and infrastructure development in rural and semi-urban areas of Bihar. Better roads, electricity, and digital infrastructure are essential for MSMEs to thrive. Shri Manjhi’s advocacy for infrastructure development aims to create an enabling environment for small businesses to operate efficiently and reach wider markets.

4. Promotion of Local Industries

Shri Manjhi has been a proponent of promoting local industries and traditional crafts. By supporting initiatives that encourage the production and marketing of local products, he aims to boost the MSME sector in Bihar. This not only preserves cultural heritage but also creates sustainable livelihoods for artisans and small entrepreneurs.

Collaborations and Future Prospects

Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi’s vision for the MSME sector involves collaboration with various stakeholders, including government bodies, financial institutions, and private enterprises. By fostering partnerships and encouraging investment in the MSME sector, Manjhi aims to create a robust ecosystem that supports the growth and sustainability of small businesses in Bihar.

Jitan Ram Manjhi’s efforts to empower marginalized communities and develop the MSME sector in Bihar reflect his commitment to inclusive growth and social justice. By focusing on skill development, access to credit, infrastructure development, and the promotion of local industries, Manjhi has laid the groundwork for a thriving MSME ecosystem in Bihar. His initiatives highlight the potential of MSMEs to drive economic growth and uplift marginalized communities, making a significant impact on the state's socio-economic landscape.

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