The Platform

Photo illustration by John Lyman

In 2022, Hindu nationalists heeded a call to boycott, with the government’s blessing in some cases, Muslim and some Christian-owned businesses in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

Despite playing a vital role in India’s economy, minority-owned businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to operate. Because of systemic racism, minority-owned businesses have limited access to loans and markets. This creates a large wealth disparity between minority populations and the rest of the population, continuing the cycle of poverty and economic misery.

Discrimination against minority-owned businesses has far-reaching effects on individuals, communities, and the economy as a whole. This issue must be addressed to promote inclusion, equality, and economic success for all. To guarantee that all individuals and communities have equal opportunities, the government, corporate leaders, and all Indians regardless of religion must address this problem.

The Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a United Nations organization in charge of promoting and safeguarding human rights across the world. The OHCHR has taken an active role in combating discrimination against minority-owned businesses, raising awareness, and promoting equality in this field. Recent findings depict a bleak picture of rampant discrimination against minority-owned businesses. It was found that minority groups experience limited access to banking and markets.

This untenable situation reinforces the cycle of poverty and economic hardship, with detrimental consequences for people and communities alike. The findings emphasize the importance of taking immediate action to solve the issue and promote equality for all. Furthermore, minority-owned businesses encounter widespread market discrimination, making it harder for them to compete with other businesses.

The government has done little to provide appropriate support to minority-owned businesses. This lack of support may include a lack of financial resources as well as a lack of laws and initiatives designed to help these businesses succeed. This lack of government assistance can compound the obstacles that minority-owned businesses confront, making it even more difficult for them to expand their operations.

Discrimination against minority-owned businesses in India can have major economic ramifications for the people and communities they serve. These businesses provide crucial income and job opportunities for minority communities, and their failure to flourish and develop can lead to increasing poverty and economic hardship. It also leads to a wider wealth gap. This has the potential to worsen existing social and economic inequities, making it even more difficult for minority populations to get access to the resources and opportunities they require to succeed.

The government must play a critical role in combating prejudice against minority-owned businesses. This can be accomplished by enforcing anti-discrimination laws already on the books that protect minority groups. In addition, the government should monitor and enforce compliance with these rules to ensure that minority-owned firms are treated fairly and have access to resources and opportunities.

Another critical aspect is to provide financial and non-financial resources to minority-owned businesses. Access to financing, business training, and mentorship possibilities are examples of this. Furthermore, workplace programs that encourage diversity and tolerance can assist to transform unfavorable perceptions and preconceptions regarding minority-owned businesses.

Addressing discrimination against minority-owned businesses is vital to building a more inclusive and equitable society. Systemic impediments to accessing money and markets, prejudice and unfavorable perceptions, and a lack of government support are all sources of discrimination. Discrimination causes economic harm to minority populations, widens the wealth gap, and has a negative influence on the broader economy. The government should enforce anti-discrimination legislation, give financial and non-financial resources to minority-owned businesses, and increase awareness about the issue.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Relations at National Defense University. His interests include history, politics, and current affairs. He has been published in Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, and Modern Diplomacy.