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Grooming ‘BHARAT’ IT-Village ‘SYMBIOTICS’ Bettering ‘HALVES’

Through CSR, corporates seek to address business strategies as well as their social obligations


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Editor’s Note Integrating urban with rural markets

Vol. 1

Issue. 6

December 2012

Editor Praveen K Singh Associate Editor Akhilesh Sourav Jha Assistant Editor Madhvendra Singh Chauhan Correspondent Mohd Mustaquim Advisor Dr. Sanjiv Sethi Finance Director Vijay Adlakha Creative Directors Avijit Sen Amitava Sen Graphic Design Abdul Rehman Digital Department Nitin Saxena Marketing Director Tarun Adlakha Marketing Manager Arijeet Palit H R Department Satyendra Mallik Production Department M Babumathew Picture source: www.shutterstock.com

Publisher : Ajay Adlakha ajay.adlakha@i9media.org Editorial Office

D-4/2, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase – I, New Delhi-110020, Tel.: +91-11-30888707 Fax: +91-11-30888750 For Advertising and Sales: Tel.: +91-11-30888751 Fax: +91-11-30888750 jitin.vimal@i9media.org, vineet.malik@i9media.org For Circulations and Subscriptions: Manager, Circulation Tel.: +91-11-30888709 Fax: +91-11-30888750 nitesh.kumar@i9media.org, circulation@i9media.org subscription@i9media.org © Rural & Marketing, All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction of the material in any manner is strictly prohibited. Printed, Published and Owned by Ajay Adlakha, D-4/2, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase – I, New Delhi-110020, Tel.: +91-11-30888707 Fax: +91-11-30888750. Printed at Infinity Advertising Services Pvt. Ltd. Press, Plot no.-171-172, Sector- 58, Faridabad, Haryana Rural & Marketing does not take responsibility for returning unsolicited publication material. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Delhi/New Delhi only.

Reaching the masses The ‘rising rural India’ story has transpired a ray of hope in country’s otherwise murky economic landscape. The affordability in rural masses has enormously amplified. Findings by a research body, Crisil, proclaim that for the first time since economic reforms began two decades ago, consumption in rural India is growing faster than in urban areas. Some optimists have already started saying that rural India is not only shining, but also is the new driver of growth for the Indian economy. This resilient upsurge is due to rising rural incomes, non-farm employment opportunities and the government’s rural focus through employment generation schemes. On the other hand, corporate houses have deliberated that apart from rising rural incomes, boosting rural infrastructure will certainly help to unlock the true demand potential for consumer durables. In a political move to pull off the ‘aam aadmi’ agenda, the Congress party is pushing the government to go for radical direct cash transfer programme that seeks to use the Aaadhar number, and a network of banks across the country to transfer subsidies and other benefits directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries—thereby increasing the efficiency of and reducing leakages in government schemes. The move looks like an endeavour by the party to create a positive environment similar to what it did with MGNREGS in the previous election. It certainly creates a favourable milieu provided they execute it well along with linking and sensitising stakeholders at the ground level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government also plans to bring the National Food Security Bill soon. This legislation will also act as a populist one, fitting in with the Congress party’s objective of reaching out to the aam aadmi. Talking to R&M, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that providing food and nutritional security to a large population is the most important social issue. The population of India is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2025. Food production has to be doubled. He said conventional technologies are inadequate to meet the formidable challenges of feeding the burgeoning population with limited land and water resources. So the stress is more on upgrading the agri-technology. The cover is discussing about how corporate houses are reaching out to rural masses in order to make them stronger and self-reliant. Most of these companies through their social responsibility are not only educating rural inhabitants, but also financially empowering them by creating self help groups (SHGs). With this issue, we have started two new sections covering rural and agriculture sectors through facts and figures. Praveen K Singh editor@i9media.org

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Editor e h t o t Letters I liked the cover story (‘Shaping the rural retail’, October). The article aptly covered the various aspects of rural retail that included opportunities, challenges and way forward. It is heartening to know that so many international companies are now investing in India. The rural population will certainly benefit form the increasing penetration of retail chains in the hinterlands. I am sure that we will get more such stories to read in magazine’s future editions.

Tourism, I feel is the key for development for North Eastern states. ‘Assam- Gateway to the North East’ was a delight to read and I am looking forward that tourism cluster development scheme that has been started by North Eastern Council should result into influx of Indian and foreign tourist to these states.

Dr. Umakant Singh Lucknow

India’s increased focus on sanition facilities is a welcome move. Open defecation is a blot on India’s image and should be socially discouraged. However, as the writer rightly observed, people in many Indian villages do not want to use toilets, rather they use them as store houses to keep fodder and grains. Lot more challenging for the government is to change the attitudes of rural masses, who do not feel open defecation bad.

The It was really sad to know that families in rural India are neglecting elderly more than often. The value erosion is a result of faulted aspirations. The increasing number of nuclear families in rural is a worrisome trend and we as society should do our bit to stop it. The elderly, as was righty pointed out by Mr. Cherian, are the value system of any family and they are the one who routinely inculcate good habits in the children. Vishal Saxena Indore

Tharu Lapung Itanagar

Pratyush Majhi Odisha

I really liked the main feature (Rural ‘Calling’) of October issue that covered growing trend in BPO industry to shift their base to village India. I came all the way from my native village in Jhansi to Delhi for a job. I am happy that these centres are spreading to rural as cost of living here in metros is quite high and I, myself would like to work in any such set up near my village. But, as the reporter mentioned, problems like electricity, talent etc are there and governments of concerned states should ensure that these units are smoothly run.

The cover story I enjoyed thoroughly and find it well timed and placed. Business fraternity is keen to ride on rural brand-wagon and I feel that this increased presence of retail chains in rural will multiply job opportunities for both urban and rural youth. I appreciate that these companies are taking several initiatives under their CSR activities to train farmers and unemployed rural youth in various vocational courses. This will not only provide them talent for their own but also give options to others. This way not only ‘talent cruch’ in rural will be addressed but also provide rural masses an opportunity to earn more.

Shalini Srivastava Delhi

Sailesh Dubey Farrukhabad

We solicit your comments/suggestions. Send us your feedback at letters@i9media.org

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s t n e t n Co

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Cover Story

Fostering

LIVES

Corporate houses pay their dues back to society under the auspices of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the story delves in to the legislative framework in India

Editor’s Note

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Letters to the Editor

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News Digest 8 rural Facts and figures

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Agriculture Facts and figures

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event

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Photo Feature 90 spin out 92 LEAD STORY

Bettering ‘Halves’

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Women and girls in rural landscape are pushing hard to match up with their urban counterparts in education and achievements

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interview

Sharad Pawar talks about the urgent need for technology upgradation in agriculture sector


contents Innovation

Lamping Villages

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demeanour

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Rural youths with their rising aspiration and motivational spirit are pouncing on the opportunities for getting groomed. Our hinterlands are abuzz with such initiatives service

IT-Village ‘Symbiotics’

fmcg

Lowering cost

Noble innovation like supplying power to rural household through solar micro grid lighting villages

Grooming Bharat

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Raising FeatureS Customised mobile sets for rural India are picking up and so are the sale volumes for the companies. Now handsets have assumed the status of FMCG in terms of economics

Technology intervention in villages is empowering the residents in true letter and spirit Agri Watch

Winning the Trust

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The concept of heritage tourism in Rajasthan sets an example for others to follow.

Retail chain majors are helping farmers in generating income and doing way with the middlemen in the farm trade and it adds value to the agri-produce spreading out

‘Freezing’ Opportunity

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With the surge in demand, cold change management India is allset to boom Spot Light

Seeding Livelihood

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Based on NRLM, government of Bihar has created a model for generating employment opportunities for women in particular and for every rural poor household in general column

Rural - A Jobs Paradise The writer believes in right training and education to make workforce employable

rural tourism

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Exploring

the unexplored

66 FAIR Trading FAIR

The Bikaner festival has many colours, besides being a colourful event it has rural sports, camel dance and lot many acrobatic events to list a few

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POLICY

Centre mulls revising wage structure of MGNREGS

>> The centre is actively considering amending the wage structure of the flagship rural employment guarantee scheme following complaints from states like Kerala where the minimum wage is much more than what is being given under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has said, “Six states are facing this peculiar problem where the minimum daily wage is around Rs 200 but under MGNREGA the daily wage is Rs 164.” He added that Centre is now planning to amend section 6(1) of the MGNREGA so that wages can be linked to the market.

Odissi danseuse Vani Madhav performs during the festival

Nritya Dhara an Odissi Dance Institution, Organised Odissi Dance Festival Nritya Vilasa at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Assam to start rural administrative service Assam government is planning to start a rural administrative service for serving in the rural areas of the state. According to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, the new service will recruit candidates for serving in the rural areas to carry forward government schemes and plans specially for the rural areas. He said that 30 per cent of the jobs will be reserved for rural based candidates who will have to serve in the backward areas for a time-bound period.

MoRD for real-time evaluation of rural schemes >> Fund-intensive rural develop-

ment schemes may be evaluated during their implementation to identify failings in structure and execution, and enable the government to insert mid-course correctives. The philosophy of ‘concurrent evaluation’ may come to fruition if the rural development ministry’s proposal for an autonomous body called ‘concurrent evaluation office’ (CEO) finds favour with the government. The RD ministry is seeking an independent office headed by a noted economist who would identify the assessment study to be undertaken and the

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areas to be focused and give feedback to government on what ails a scheme. The study would identify the drawbacks in terms of pilferage, finances, structural problem, red tape or implementation issues. It would give a set of recommendations to the government on what needs to be done to overcome problems faced by a scheme.

December 2012

Govt may expand its pension net >> It is expected that the government may expand its pension scheme, widening the net for widows, single and divorced women, disabled people, Dalits and tribal senior citizens, as well as increasing the amount paid to older people. The Rural Development Ministry, which is proposing the expansion, estimates the additional cost at more than Rs. 18,000 crore per year. The Ministry has just accepted the recommendations made by a panel, set up in June, to study the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), which consists of pension schemes for various disadvantaged groups.


INFRA

Mahindra Finance eyes Rs 1000 Cr Biz from rural Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services is betting big on its rural housing finance subsidiary to achieve the target of Rs 1000 Crore business by the end of this fiscal. Incorporated in 2007, Mahindra Rural Housing Finance (MRHF) offers loans for buying, renovating, extending and improving homes in rural and semi-urban markets. “We have been doubling the book almost every year now and this year we hope to be faster. We are at around Rs 700 crore right now and it will grow to Rs 9001,000 crore by end of the fiscal,” company Managing Director Ramesh Iyer told R&M. It was Rs 535.2 Crore last fiscal.

Punjab clears Rs. 13,000 Crore for 12,775 villages >>

Punjab government has cleared a Rs 13,000-Crore rural development plan and the money would be spent on all 12,775 villages of the state in a phased manner over three years. The fund will ensure concrete streets and peripheries (phirnis), besides underground piped sewerage, would be the focus of the plan. In the wake of recent scams involving funds earmarked for villages, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has asked the panchayats department to tone up its ‘lax’ audit system. He has also asked the department to ensure complete audit of the entire spending, and directed the principal secretary (finance) to work out a ‘special audit system’. He said that the rural development department would now transfer funds to panchayats through a central banking system and also seek the utilisation certificates within one week of withdrawal of funds.

Assam spruces up road network >>

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. Take the example of Betbari, a small hamlet in Assam’s Baksa District, and mostly inhabited by Bodos. This village is now accessible thanks to a network of good roads and highways. Travel time and travel cost to Guwahati, the principle city of the state, has reduced considerably.

With improved administrative conditions and decline in militancy in Assam, the road network in the state has been spruced up. Today, various government-sponsored schemes are being implemented, and the people of the region are accepting the fact that they have benefitted. The roads are built under

MP to get abundant power in rural areas from year 2013 >> Energy and Mineral Resources Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Rajendra Shukla has announced that abundant power will be available in rural areas of the state from year 2013 following the feeder separation. He said that electricity billing and ATP machines will be installed in Amarpatan subdivision. He also said that the state

has taken up the ambitious feeder separation scheme with a view to fulfil its commitment to supply 24-hour power in the rural areas. Informing about replacing transformer through SMS, the Energy Minister said that it has been made mandatory to replace defunct transformer on the fourth day of receiving information.

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ADVERTISING & MARKETING

NRHM’s 20-min film for rural awareness >> In order to reach out to masses,

the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has made a 20-minute film titled ‘Fact of Life’ to educate the rural masses about various health issues. The programme will start in seven districts of Jharkhand which include Ranchi, Simdega, Chaibasa,

Sahebganj, Palamu, Giridih and Pakur. “If the programme is successful in these districts, it will be carried in other districts as well. People easily get attracted to the visual media and so we thought of educating and bringing about behavioral changes amongst people through this medium,” said

Aboobacker Siddiqui P, director of Jharkhand Rural Health Mission.

AUTOMOBILE

Automakers target new markets >>

Tier II and III cities have emerged as car makers’ favourite destination to sell cars. While Maruti Suzuki has already started targeting Tier II cities to lure buyers for their recently launched Alto 800, similar strategy is being adopted by BMW India. Mercedes Benz, too came up with their first dealership in Lucknow way back in August 2012 and recently BMW announced the opening of its

Hero Moto’s Splendor regains top position Hero MotoCorp’s flagship bike has regained its top position as the largest selling bike in the world. According to the officials, Splendor gained the top slot that it lost to Bajaj’s Discover few months ago. The strong rural buying and the onset of festive cheer in the month of October, Hero MotoCorp retailed over 5 lakh units domestically, with Splendor accounting for over 1.8 lakh of those. No 2 player Bajaj Auto sold some 2.62 lakh bikes in October, of which over 1.52 lakh were Discover. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) at No 3 sold 2.36 lakh two-wheelers last month in the domestic market.

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Speed Motorwagen, Lucknow. Philipp von Sahr, President BMW group India said, “While the metro cities still provide large chunk of the sales volume, the demand from smaller cities has grown rapidly.” Earlier in October, Ram Suresh Akella, General Manager, Commercial Business Head (South), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. had said that the company is eyeing small towns and a distinct segment.

Escorts launches new range of tractors >> The leading tractor manufacturer

Escorts announced the launch of its new ‘Diesel-Saver Plus’ tractor series – offering maximum mileage. The new range of tractors, with a 10 per cent power upgrade across its range, caters to the emerging ‘commerce-minded’ segment of the Indian farmers, who use their tractors not just for regular farm work but also as a source of generating additional income. S. Sridhar, CEO, Escorts Agri Machinery, said, “The new DS-Plus tractors from POWERTRAC stand for a combination

December 2012

of power and fuel efficiency. These tractors are designed to not only save 10-15 per cent of diesel to more than negate the impact of diesel price increases, these will also enable farmers to substantially increase their productivity and hence their incomes.”


HEALTHCARE

International conf on rural health to address key issues

>> Around 70 per cent of

doctors serve 30 per cent of the population, who are based in urban areas, and 30 per cent of the doctors serve the remaining 70 per cent of the population in rural areas. This was stated by Dr Ashok Patil, president

of international association of agricultural medicine and rural health. He said that the 18th International congress of rural health and medicine will be held on December 11-12 in Panaji. The theme of the congress is ‘Challenges of health in the global

village’. Over 300 speakers from 20 countries will be attending. Over 500 delegates and 300 speakers representing medical, public health, allied health sciences, academic and research, from 20 countries will be attending, he added.

Cellphones to aid rural health service >>

To provide better health services to poor pregnant women and children in rural areas, Manipal University in association with Philips have developed ‘Mobility Sanjivini’, a software for healthcare data collection that is compatible with mobile phones. Kasturba Medical College and Hospital (KMC) of Manipal University has been providing free healthcare services to pregnant women and children at its seven

Rural Maternity and Child Welfare Homes (RMCWH) in different villages of Udupi district. This new software will be helpful for auxiliary nurses and midwives attached to RMCWH. The software has been developed by students and teaching faculties of the Manipal Centre for Information Science (MCIS) and Manipal Institute of Technology with the support of Philips.

People from smaller towns show investment confidence: Report Investors from tier II and III have shown confidence in investing in stocks and shares, indicates a report by Market Xcel Data Matrix. As per the findings in the report, about 64 per cent of the participants are willing to invest in stocks and shares and nearly 37 per cent would like to invest in infrastructure bonds. Named as ‘SAVING & INVESTMENT PATTERN OF PEOPLE IN INDIA’ – 2012’, the survey covered 24 tier-II and tier-III towns and is based on responses of 3000 participants.

Fight against obesity gains momentum >> With obesity fast becoming a major cause of

concern among children, especially during adolescence, the NRHM has decided to expand its school health programme to include nearly 8,000 schools. According to experts, obesity is more found in the children studying in high school. A study conducted two years back among high school students of the state capital had found that 18.3 per cent of the students were either overweight (12 per cent) or obese (6.3 per cent). The study associated the phenomenon with fast food consumption, lack of physical activity and inadequate exercise. The school health programme initiated by NRHM, which began in 2009, provides health education to school students.

Govt to start 3 years rural healthcare course from 2013 >> A three-year medical course with six months of rotational internship will be introduced from 2013. Despite strong objections from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has decided to go ahead and introduce the Bachelor of Science (Community Health) keeping in mind the nation’s acute shortage of doctors and specialists. The new medical course will create mid-level health professionals with candidates eligible to apply being students who have studied physics, chemistry and biology in the high secondary (10+2) level. December 2012

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UP adopts Google Earth to monitor job scheme

IT & TELECOM

Rising rural-urban digital gap >>

The success of the telecom sector has still not fully percolated to rural India in 18 years of service liberalisation, as the latest data by the department of telecommunications (DoT) reveals a big digital divide between rural and urban India. In rural areas, only 40 per cent of the people owned phones, compared to 166 connections for every 100 urban residents, by the end of August. Bihar is the worst state in terms of telecom penetration. Only 26 per cent people own a phone in the state in rural areas. In urban areas, there are as many as 178 connections for every 100 people. Delhi has the highest telephone penetration of 233 per cent, followed by Mumbai (173 per cent). Himachal Pradesh has the highest tele-density in rural areas. About 74 people out of every 100 own a phone in rural areas. The state also has the highest tele-density in urban areas at 385, meaning that every person owns close to four phones.

>>

In order to have a greater transparency the centrally-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS ), the UP Government has adopted a global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS)-based monitoring mechanism. T h e projects can now be seen on Google Earth for verification. The novel system, developed in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre , has been implemented as a pilot in three blocks of Lakhimpur Kheri, Hardoi and Unnao districts.

Bihar govt encourages solar energy Bihar government is encouraging usage of alternative sources of energy like solar power. The state suffers from huge power shortage. State energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said that the state government has done a survey, which revealed that there has been a tremendous scope for development of solar energy. Proposals for generation of 250 MW through various solar power projects have been sent to the state cabinet for approval, he said.

Rural BPO at GMR’s Kakinada SEZ >>

RuralShores, a Bangalore-headquartered rural business process outsourcing (BPO) firm has signed an agreement with GMR group to set up its rural BPO unit at the special economic zone (SEZ) of the infrastructure firm coming up at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. Established in 2008, the company has 12 BPO centres in eight states, employing around 1,000 people catering to various industrial sectors including banking, insurance, telecom, micro finance, logistics and healthcare.

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Software to help rural students access lectures >>

Karnataka State Law University is using the help of technology to help law students in the state, especially in rural parts of the state, benefit from seminars, lectures and conferences held in the university. With the help of A-View (online) software, KSLU is ensuring students in other parts of the state are able to access its events. Not all colleges can afford to have legal luminaries and other distinguished guests deliver lectures and attend seminars in their colleges. In such cases, KSLU facilitated video recordings of its lectures and educative seminars. But the new software will make things only easier. In the first phase, KSLU has begun beaming live seminars and special lectures using the online software.


FMCG

Rural consumption to boost the confectionery market

Every second rural house owns a consumer durable

>>

Every second rural household in India has either a television or a fan today and such households spent more on so-called discretionary items between 2004-05 and 2009-10, says a new report by rating agency Crisil that highlights the upward mobility that many rural households in India witnessed in the second half of the last decade—a period when the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate in excess of 8 per cent. Discretionary spending of a typical rural Indian household rose from Rs14,000 in 2004-05 to Rs 24,000 in 2009-10, growing at about 11 per cent every year, and faster than the inflation rate of nearly 6 per cent a year over that period, Crisil report said.

The confectionery market in India is expected to witness a steady demand growth in spite of the ‘indulgence product’ tag, according to knowledge consulting solutions company, Netscribes Inc. The report identifies trends in the confectionery industry such as the growing gifting culture and the use of confectionery products as a replacement of traditional sweets. Moreover, the rural market is also a major contributor to the industry due to its massive demand and consumption in terms of volume. This is further aided by the penetration and availability of confectioneries at different price points along with the increased disposable income amongst consumers. All these factors indicate a bright future of the confectionery market in India, according to the report.

>>

Adobe registers largest software deployment in Guj villages Adobe Systems, a leading software company has deployed Adobe Acrobat software across 18,000 villages in Gujarat. Under the tie-up with state government, over 18,000 Gram Panchayats across Gujarat have installed Adobe Acrobat for the electronic issue of vital citizen certificates and other official documents. The initiative of the Gujarat Government aims to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Gujarat by providing citizens access to digital information for all government documentation. INDUSTRY

REC to raise Rs 5000 Cr through bonds >> The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is planning

to raise up to Rs 5,000 Crore through tax-free bonds in the current fiscal. According to draft prospectus filed with SEBI, the Company shall make public issues of bonds for an amount aggregating up to Rs 5,000 Crore in one or multiple tranches in the fiscal 2013. As per the statement from REC, the public sector unit’s tenure of the bonds could be 10 or 15 years. AK Capital Services, Enam Securities, ICICI Securities, Kotak Mahindra Bank and SBI Capital Markets are acting as lead managers to the issue. In 2011-12 budget, four infrastructure finance companies were allowed to raise money through such bonds.

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Non-commercial fish to boost rural income

ECONOMY

Rural job scheme crucial for inclusive growth

>>

>> Making a strong defence of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a senior Finance Ministry official said the scheme has served its purpose. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance, said that schemes seen as ‘untimely welfare measures’ are crucial for inclusive growth in a country where 35 per cent of the people live below the poverty line. “For 60 years we had the Minimum Wages Act, which was never implemented. India’s economy, for a very long time, was subsidised by the poor and not the other way round,” he said, adding that the country’s growth depended on the availability of “cheap labour”.

The scientists of Institute of Applied Sciences, Allahabad (IASc) have developed the fish products of non-commercial fish in and around Allahabad. The project is the brainchild of Niraj Kumar and KP Singh and executed by scientist AF Rizvi. The project was titled “Rural women employment generation through eco-friendly commercialisation of non-commercial fish around Allahabad”. The project was funded by the science and society division of department of science and technology (DST). “This project will come to the aid of underprivileged in enhancing their economic status,” said Rizvi. Rizvi has developed the fish products from non-commercial fish viz. Sciaena coiter (called bhola in local parlance) after undergoing training from Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), Mumbai, to achieve one of the objectives undertaken for the proposed study to uplift the women of rural society.

Cement sector buoyant on rural demand With strong demand from rural, the cement industry is riding high on volumes. Even as IIP growth remains sluggish and there are concerns of slower GDP growth, one of the few sectors that has shown resilience and has continued to grow is cement. Cement production has seen a 7.4 per cent growth during the first six months of current financial year. Within the eight core industries, that have a combined weight of 37.9 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), it has recorded the second fastest production growth.

Rural economy cushioned India from recession fallout >> The main reason behind India’s success in cushioning effects of global recession is the country’s rural economy. Cooperative movement has played an important role in boosting rural economy after country’s independence. These views were expressed by speakers on the subject “Inclusive development through cooperatives” organised by MARKFED at its office. The

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programme was held in the presence of Managing Director Ashok Varnwal. Varnwal said that cooperative movement’s main slogan ‘Bin Sahkar Naheen Uddhar’ is an expression of all-round development of society. He said that 97 percent families in the country are connected with cooperative movement. Cooperative movement’s strength can be gauged by this fact.


GOVERNANCE

RTI training in rural areas

>>

Dozens of activists from United Forum for RTI Campaign (UF-RTI) will travel to remote mandals of the state to educate villagers on the law barely days after the central government withdrew some proposed amendments to the Right to Information (RTI)

Act following protests. In order to put a cap on unnecessary RTI applications, especially on key government files, the Union cabinet had decided to amend the law, but it dropped its plan following vehement protests by RTI activists and the opposition.

E-certificate project faces teething issues in rural areas >>

Though the pilot e-district project of the Union government to support the district administration in providing various certificates relating to caste, residence, birth and death has been successfully launched, people in rural areas as well as the district administration

have been facing problems due to it. As the certificate provided through e-district project is computerised, there is no government stamp on it, but a digital signature. Deputy commissioner Vinay Choubey said, “As the certificates

are computerised, these are not manually stamped. As a result, banks and many other organisations refuse to accept them. There have been instances when I have had to myself call up these organisations to say that the certificate is authentic and it should be accepted.”

‘Bihar to open more co-ed schools’ Bihar government plans to open more co-educational schools in the state, said the education minister P K Sahi. At present, there are only 4000 public and private schools in the state and the government has decided to open 11,000 more schools in next five years. “The need is to open more schools and we have planned to stress on building more co-educational schools to save infrastructure and other costs,” said the minister. BANKING

HDFC opens 87 rural branches in a day in Punjab, Haryana >> HDFC Bank has opened as many 87 branches, mostly in

rural areas of Punjab and Haryana in one single-day. The country’s second largest private-sector bank also launched an exclusive ‘Bharat Credit Card’ for farmers in both the states. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal inaugurated 51 branches in the state, while the 36 branches in Haryana were launched by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the bank said in a statement. The rural push is part of the bank’s board mandate to bring 10 million unbanked families into the banking fold.

RRBs to open at least 25 pc branches in unbanked areas >> RBI asked regional rural banks (RRBs) to open at least one-fourth of their proposed branches in unbanked parts of the country. The Central Bank said that there is a need to step up the opening of branches in unbanked rural centres in order to meet the objectives of increasing banking penetration and financial inclusion rapidly. “RRBs are, therefore, advised to allocate at least 25 per cent of the total number of branches proposed to be opened during a year in unbanked rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centres,” the central bank said. An unbanked rural centre mean a rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centre that does not have a brick and mortar structure of any scheduled commercial bank for customer based banking transactions. December 2012

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Badal supports PPP for agri markets

AGRI-BIZ

Vithaj Agrichem launches plant nutrition products >> Vithaj Agrichem, a group company of the Coromandel Agrico Group has recently launched plant nutrition products in India. The products are from Stoller USA, a world leader in plant nutrition products. Launched at Hisar and Bhatinda, the product range includes Bio-Forge, White Label Zinc, Sugar Mover and Nitro

Plus 9. Company’s Vice President. R.K.Goyal informed the farmers about its activities benefitting the farmers of Haryana. The plant nutrition is a growing segment in India and of late Coromandel group has increased its focus on such products. The company has tied up with five international companies to bring their expertise in plant nutrition to India. The company officials visited the Vice Chancellor of Hisar Agricultural University, Dr. K.S.Khokkhar and discussed on various issues related to Agriculture. The event was also attended by Dr Shyamal Poddar, consultant of the Stoller Group.

>>

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has extended his support for public-private partnership (PPP) mode for setting up of agricultural markets. He was speaking at the global conference on wholesale markets in Chandigarh and has opined that this (PPP) would increase remunerative income of farmers by improving their marketing network. “The government of India has proposed a draft legislation which provides for establishment of private wholesale market network. We also need to promote public private partnership in agriculture markets. Accordingly, the Punjab government (has proposal) to amend existing legislations (APMC Act),” the chief minister said. A proposal to allow private companies to set up market yards in Punjab which will provide alternate marketing channel to farmers has been sent to the state government by Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board (PSAMB).

Skill development program for farm technicians Tata Chemicals organised a certification programme for its first batch of skilled farm equipment operators trained under the Farm Technician Certification Program in New Delhi. Senior officials from the company awarded certificates to 20 farm technicians. R. Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals said, “As mechanisation caught up with rising demand, lack of trained manpower at local level surfaced. Without adequately skilled and locally available manpower it is not possible to address the gap in agriculture productivity and food production.” EDUCATION

Association of rural management schools formed >>

Schools across the country have come together to establish the National Association of Rural Management Schools (NARMS). The initiative will work to provide a thrust to development in rural management, which still lack proper facilities and infrastructure. Nikhilesh Desai, head, business development cell, Entrepreneurship

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Development Institute of India (EDI), said, “Different institutions involved in offering education on rural management have their perspectives, goals, curriculum and pedagogy structured around varying objectives.” He added, “The need is to standardise the structure and make rural management relevant.”


rural

Facts & Figures

640,867 villages of India are house to nearly 70% of its population

83.3 Crore people live in Indian villages

2,39,510

43,000

haats in the hinterlands cater to 98% of rural population

gram panchayats manage Indian villages

25,000

fairs annually offer a big business opportunity for the corporate world

1 13,944

post offices in the rural areas are the largest in the world.

282.23 mn telecom subscribers in rural India

26,50,000

kms of roads connect villages

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BETTERING

‘HALVES’

Abrading the social dogmas, the new age rural girls are ready to take on challenges in life. They are educated, smart and competent to make a dent on male bastion. Inspired and motivated by the ‘undercurrent’ rural women are making their mark, reports Madhvendra Singh Chauhan

O

ne fine morning in 1986, Rashmi Das, a girl from a desi acrobat (Madari) family of Odisha came to show her skills in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi stadium. The officials of sports authority of India were very impressed by her talent and decided to train her for gymnastics. Rashmi’s life changed overnight and a gold medal in the junior state championship proved that the officers had made no mistake in choosing her for the sport.

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There was no looking back thereafter. “After the selection, I was trained by SAI officials and won the gold medal in junior state championship,” says ecstatic Rashmi Das, now a CRPF assistant commandant. Hers is not the only story. Mohini Bharti of Gawnri village in Western UP defied all social odds to get college education and now she is the only graduate in her society. Her proud father says that he can sell all his property to educate his both the daughters. “My parents work as labourers in the village


lead story

CHANGING VILLAGES

and there was never enough money to give our school fee. But my parents worked day and night to teach me and only because of them that I have reached up to this level,” says Mohini with a heavy voice. Mohini has recently passed her B.Ed examinations and plans to become a teacher. Many state governments have special focus on female education and they have announced various lucrative schemes to keep girls in the schools and colleges. There are schemes like free cycles, bikes and laptops and monetary awards that are encouraging girls to study. Now, girls of the villages are confined in their homes. They go to school, drive bikes and cars and competing in sports. The Television is one major driver that has pushed the aspiration levels of rural women up and now they also aspire to do jobs and lead an independent life. Despite initiatives like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and female specific schemes of the central government, there are many deterrents that hinder the aspiration levels of girls and women in the Indian villages. The society, though evolving, still remains male driven and experts say that it will take time for Indian men to reach to that understanding where they allow Indian women their share.

Rashmi says that her village has not changed much in the past two decades; however, the big change that has taken place in Nathiapalli village is a school, where children from her village study. Mainly tribal families that earn their living by performing acrobatics, live in this village in Nayagarh district of Odisha. After she was selected for a government job, families in her village are willing to send their daughters to school and are waiting for any such opportunity that can make their daughters like Rasmi. “Getting education is lot more challenging for girls in patriarchal society like ours and only mothers of these families can bring the change in their daughters’ lives. We have to strengthen our mothers, so that they can fight the odds and stand against the society,” points out Shukla Bose, CEO of Parikrma foundation, an NGO that works for the welfare of slum children. PK Sahi, the minister of education in Bihar government says, “there are two factors that have helped women in the villages to move ahead, those are- reservation in panchayat elections and education. The reservation in the panchayat seats has given them confidence to voice their issues and education intervention on the other hand helped them in erasing social dogmas.” Lt. Gen. Rajender Singh, Chief Executive Officer of DLF foundation feels that things are changing in the rural but “we have to equate the speed of development in the country.” “The change in the lives of women is inevitable and women of tomorrow will not be the same, but we need more social organisations and reformers who can bring in the desired change,” he added further. The intensive focus of the government has

There are two factors that have helped women in the villages to move ahead arereservation in panchayat elections and education. The reservation in the panchayat seats has given them confidence to voice their issues and educational intervention on the other hand helped them in erasing social dogmas PK Sahi

Education Minister, Bihar

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lead story

resulted in more primary schools and colleges in the villages. After government allowed private players to open universities and colleges, there has been an increase in the numbers of private colleges and universities in India. As per the UGC data, there are 145 private universities, 3, 393 engineering colleges and close to 4000 management colleges in India. The business fraternity took the advantage of eased government norms and as a The change in the result, in past few years, many private universities and colleges have come up lives of women is in various parts of the country.

inevitable and women of tomorrow will not be the same, but we need more social organisations and reformers who can bring in the desired change Lt. Gen. Rajender Singh

CEO, DLF Foundation

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ERASING DETERRENTS The journey of women reforms in the country has always remained secondary and after decades of discussion and persuasion, our elected representatives agreed to reserve 50 per cent seats for women in panchayat elections. However, women are still waiting to get 33 per cent reservation in the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha and all other

December 2012

legislative assemblies. Growing penetration of national and multinational companies in the rural space has also worked as push factor for these women. Now they are exposed to various kinds of products. Intervention of education has given wings to their dreams and they have continuously proved their talent by becoming officers, teachers and excelling in sports. The case of Annu Chaudhary is another such case, where the athlete girl defied all social obligations and has got various national and international awards in javelin throw. This village girl of western UP says, “when I started, people in my family were not really supporting me. People objected that a girl is taking sports as career and my father was told by many people that it is not good for a girl to go out of home. She will get spoiled. But my father supported me and I have reached to this level because of him.” She says that people now come to her home to take guidance for their daughters. “Now they all want to make their daughters like me. I feel great and want that all girls should get education, they should be allowed to take decisions.” Shukla Bose feels that without changing male attitude, there won’t be any change. “We have to change the attitudes of boys, when they are young and should teach them at right time to respect women and treat them equally. Unless we do this, I don’t see any change happening,” she added. Kadambari Lokhande of Rural Relations feels that education and television are two major components that drive the aspirations of girls in the villages. “If you look at the developments of past few years, you will realise that even labourers do not want to compromise with the


lead story

When a woman gets education, an entire generation gets educated. With intensive government policies supporting female education, I foresee a brighter tomorrow for girls in the country Naseem Akhtar

Minister for primary and secondary education, language and linguistic minorities, Rajasthan

education of their kids. They want to send their sons and dughters to schools and girls are not asked to stay at home anymore,” points out Kadambari.

THE PUSH FACTOR The government and corporate, both have done significant work in the field of women empowerment. Now, there are specific women universities and colleges in India. Various state governments have started schemes focusing on to promote girl education. The Akhilesh Yadav led government in Uttar Pradesh has announced various schemes that are focused to promote female education in this most populous state. On the condition of anonymity, a senior officer in the education ministry of UP told R&M, “apart from starting kanya vidyadhan yojana, the chief minister has announced special schools for minorities and a special focus has been given to promote female education in the state.” According to the official, the government has allocated Rs 440 Cr for various education schems. The UP government has started a scheme called padhein betiyan, badhein betiyan, in which the government awards Rs 30,000 to girls passing 10th standard.

Kanya vidya dhan scheme awards Rs 35000 to girls who pass intermediate exams. Recently, the government has also announced to give laptops to students in the state. Bihar, as PK Sahi terms is a remarkable story of change. According to the minister, the state has always given a special focus to promote female education. “We have given a special focus on vocational courses for w omen in the state, as such courses bring both confidence and employment for the women,” says the minister. The Bihar government runs various schemes to promote female education in the state. The government distributed free bicycles to school going girls and the minister confirms that there has been four times jump in the enrolment of girls in schools. In the state, the scheme worked as a push factor because schools were far away from villages and girls have to travel many kilometers to reach there. The minister said, “Now we see more confident girls in our schools and many of our lucrative schemes encouraged parents to send their daughters to schools. We are also starting special classes for girls from SC, ST and minority sections.” The Bihar government plans

‘Uniform’ Goal: Rashmi Das, Asst. Commandant, CRPF

The Bihar government runs various schemes to promote female education in the state. The government distributed free bicycles to school going girls and the minister confirms that there has been four times jump in the enrolment of girls in schools.

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lead story

Getting education is lot more challenging for girls in patriarchal society like ours and only mothers of these families can bring the change in their daughters’ lives. We have to strengthen our mothers, so that they can fight the odds and stand against the society Shukla Bose

CEO, Parikrma Foundation

Govt’s various programmes to empower women 1. Sarva shiksha abhiyan 2. The National programme for education of girls at elementary level as a component of the scheme Of sarva shiksha abhiyan. 3. The kasturba gandhi balika vidyalayas (scheme started in 2004 ) Rajasthan Government 1. Provides free laptops to meritorious students of class 8th, 10th and 12th. 2. Awards Rs 50,000 to class 12th meritorious girl students, Rs 40,000 to 10th standard girls. 3. Special focus on educating girls from SC, ST and minority community. Bihar Government 1. Free bicycles to girls to promote education. 2. Free dress to school going girls. 3. Vocational courses to give employment and confidence. 4. Plans to open 11,000 more schools in the state in next five years. UP Government 1. Announces to give free laptops to meritorious students. 2. Allocated Rs 440 Cr to fund Kanya Vidya Dhan scheme 3. Gives Rs 30,000 to 10th passing girl students under another scheme 4. CM announced to give free education to girls in higher education like engineering, medical etc.

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to open 11,000 more schools in the state in next few years. “There are lesser number of high schools in the state and girls have to travel up to a distance to reach there. So we are planning to open more schools in the next five years,” adds the minister. Rajasthan is another such state with extensive focus on female education. There are many women universities in the state. According to Naseem Akhtar, the minister for primary and secondary education, language and linguistic minorities in Rajasthan government says, “We have started Indira Priyadarshini Award in the state to encourage girls to study further. In aapki beti yojana, we will give laptops to girls studying in class 8th, 10th and 12th.” Students of XII class topping in the districts get Rs.50,000 and students of X class Rs.40,000 as the prize. On the corporates’ side, there have been many good initiatives that have provided employment and education to the women in villages. HUL’s Project Shakti is one such example. Keggfarms, a Gurgaon based poultry breeding organisation works on a very unique and innovative supply chain and reaches out to one million disadvantaged rural households, across 13 states generating Rs 450 million as

additional livelihood especially for women. Tata Archery Academy also supports women participation in archery and has produced archers like Deepika Kumari from the academy. Self Help Groups are one of the other miraculous stories that changed their lives. Now women in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and many other states are economically independent and contribute in the incomes of the family. BPOs in the rural employ more women than men and it is working as a big catalyst there. Nikhil Paruchuri, head of strategy and business development in Source for Change shares, “When we started this rural BPO here, there were hardly any women willing to join. Now more than 60 per cent of our workforce is women. Now men come to drop their wives, daughters and sisters to work. It has changed the society dramatically.”   However, as Rajender Singh points out that change has to catch speed and it will take time that Indian men are accustomed to accept that women are equal to them and they need similar treatment. In the meanwhile, Mohini is going for further studies in Meerut University and plans to give the best possible education her brother and younger sister once she gets a job.


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cover story

FOSTERING

LIVES Corporate social responsibility speaks for by the contributions undertaken by companies to society through its business activities and its social investment. Corporate houses contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment. Praveen K Singh

explores

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cover story

T

he voluntary compliance of social and ecological responsibility of companies is called corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is basically a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment. Corporate social responsibility is represented by the contributions undertaken by companies to society through its business activities and its social investment. This is also to connect the Concept of sustainable development to the company’s level. Over the last few years, an increasing number of companies worldwide started promoting their corporate social responsibility strategies because the customers, the public and the investors expect them to act on sustainable as well as responsible ways. In most cases CSR is a result of a variety of social, environmental and economic pressures.

STARTING POINT The term corporate social responsibility is imprecise and its application differs. CSR can not only refer to the compliance of human right standards, labour and social security arrangements, but also to the fight against climate change, sustainable management of natural resources and consumer protection. The concept of CSR was first mentioned in1953

in the publication ‘Social Responsibilities of the Businessman’ by William J Bowen. However, the term CSR became popular in the 1990s, when the German Betapharm, a generic pharmaceutical company decided to implement CSR. The generic market is characterised by an interchangeability of products. In 1997 a halt in sales growth led the company’s realisation that in the generic drugs market companies could not differentiate on price or quality. This was the prelude for the company to adopt CSR as an expression of the company’s values and as a part of its corporate strategies. By using strategic and social commitment for families with chronically ill children, Betapharm took a strategic advantage.

ADMITTING RESPONSIBILITY How a company perceives its societal responsibility, depends on various factors such as the markets in

CSR projects are unlike technical projects where you have an aim and a deadline. CSR projects take time and the approach is different. You spend 95 per cent of the time researching a project, including its feasibility; 5 per cent on implementing it on the ground Sudha Murthy

Chairperson of Infosys Foundation

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cover story which it operates its business line and its size. In recent years CSR has become a fundamental business practice and has gained much attention from the management of large international companies. They understand that a strong CSR programme is an essential element in achieving good business practices and effective leadership. Companies have explored that their impact on the economic, social and environmental sector directly affects their relationships with investors, employees and customers. Whilst so far CSR was mainly promoted by a number of large or multinational companies, it is now also becoming important to small national companies. Shell was one of the first companies

which made the experience, that early responsible action is better than later crisis management. Shell was taken by complete surprise when the Greenpeace campaign against sinking the former drill platform Brent Spar achieved its goals. There was a widespread boycott of Shell service stations. The Brent Spar affair has brought some qualitative change of attitude to Shell. As companies face themselves in the context of globalisation, they are increasingly aware that CSR can be of direct economic value. Although the prime goal of a company is to generate profits, companies can at the same time contribute to social and environmental objectives by integrating CSR as a strategic investment into their business strategy. A number of companies with good social and environmental records indicate

SOME OF THE COMPANIES WHICH ARE IMPLEMENTING CSR Tata Group Tata Group in India has a range of CSR projects, most of which are community improvement programs. The company is a leading provider of maternal and child health services, family planning, and has provided 98 percent immunization in Jamshedpur. It also endorses sports as a way of life. It has established a football academy, archery academy, and promotes sports among employees. It offers healthcare services all over the country with programs like rural health development. The Group has an organised relief program in case of natural disasters, including long-term treatment and rebuilding efforts. It did laudable work during the Gujarat earthquakes and Orissa floods. It also supports education, with over 500 schools, and also is a benefactor of the arts and culture. It has done abundant work in improving the environment and local populations around its industries. Aptech Aptech a leading education player with a global presence that has played a broad and continued

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role in encouraging and nurturing education throughout the country since its inception. As a global player with complete solutionsproviding capabilities, Aptech has a long history of participating in community activities. It has, in association with leading NGOs, provided computers at schools, education to the deprived, and training and awareness-camps. Infosys Infosys is aggressively involved in a variety of community growth programs. In 1996, the company created the Infosys Foundation as a not-for-profit trust to which it contributes up to 1 percent of profits after tax every year. Moreover, the Education and Research Department at Infosys also works with employee volunteers on community development projects. The management team at Infosys continues to set examples in the area of corporate citizenship and has involved itself vigorously in key national bodies. They have taken initiatives to work in the areas of research and education, community service, rural

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outreach programs, employment, healthcare for the poor, education, arts and culture, and welfare activities undertaken by the Infosys Foundation. Mahindra & Mahindra At Mahindra & Mahindra, The K. C. Mahindra Education Trust was established in 1953 with the purpose of promoting education. Its vision is to renovate the lives of people in India through education and financial assistance across age groups and across income strata. The KC Mahindra Education Trust undertakes a number of education plans, which make a difference to the lives of worthy students. The Trust has provided more than Rs. 7.5 Crore in the form of grants, scholarships and loans. It promotes education mostly by the way of scholarships. The Nanhi Kali (children) project has over 3,300 children under it and the company aims to increase the number to 10,000 in the next two years by reaching out to the underprivileged children, especially in rural areas.


cover story

There are a lot of challenges in CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects. Changes in the social sector take place very slowly. Social issues are more complex and can be frustrating for corporates Anurag Behar

Chief Sustainability Officer at Wipro

Alstom At Alstom, people, sustainability, and the environment are positioned at the heart of corporate strategy. Alstom offers rail transport, power generation and transmission solutions that defend the environment while ensuring financial expansion and social progress, providing a major contribution to global sustainable development. Alstom expects to further its cooperation with the local communities and people in the countries they are operating in. Bajaj Auto The company has been running Samaj Seva Kendra at Akrudi near Pune since 1975 ( 900 families as members) . The Kendra aims at improving the quality of life of its members (education, health care, voc ational training etc) The company also runs the Janki Devi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha near Pune. The Sanstha’s aim is to promote rural development (water management, procuring vital agricultural inputs fodder and vaccination for livestock sanitation etc).

that CSR activities can result in a better performance and can generate more profits and growth. Research has shown that company CSR programmes influence to an extensive degree, consumer purchase decisions, with many investors ,employees are influenced in their choice of companies.

RESPONSIBLE PRACTICES A major challenge for companies today is attracting and retaining skilled workers. There is not only an image gain for the companies using CSR, but it is also important for the employees. Within the company, socially responsible practices primarily involve employees and relate to issues such as investing in human

Larsen & Toubro The company spends about Rs 3 Crore annually on social projects. In healthcare it sponsors efforts directed towards birth control, mother and child care, organizes camps to check for tuberculosis and leprosy and special surgery camps along the lines of the Life Line Express – the world’s first ever hospital on rails. L&T also helps the local populace to source seeds, improve soil quality and encourages dairy and poultry development in and around the areas of its work. Finally as part of its environment enhancement schemes it assists in forestation and promoting biogas plants and smokeless chullahs. Shriram Investments The Shriram group formed a trust in 1992 to carry out its social projects. It runs 5 schools for over 2,000 children, a home for orphans is run by the group. The group offers work sheds, capital and management support to women in Thanjavur who make incense sticks and candles. In 1995 the group has launched the Shriram rural Development project in kanchipuram

capital, health and safety and managing change. In India, there are an existent but small number of companies which practice CSR. This engagement of the Indian economy concentrates mainly on a few old family owned companies, and corporate giants such as the Tata and Birla groups of companies which have led the way in making corporate social responsibility an intrinsic part of their business plans. These companies have been deeply involved with social development initiatives in the communities surrounding their facilities. Jamshedpur, one of the prominent cities in the northeastern state of Bihar in India, is also known as Tata Nagar and stands out

district of Tamil Nadu with a view to reduce indebtedness and offer credit to rural population at concessional rates. TATA Steel Tata steel has been a pioneer in employee welfare in the country and has acted as a beacon for labor lawmakers. The company adopted several welfare measures for employees, decades before they were incorporated in the country’s laws. These include an eight hour working day, leave with pay, maternity benefit and leave, workers provident fund and paying gratuity on retirement. Beyond employee welfare Tata steel has been involved in social projects that include environmental conservation activities, education, vocational training and healthcare for the unprivileged, revival of traditional arts and crafts and sports development. The company has been running a community development and social welfare department since 1958 that takes care of the educational and vocational training needs of the under privileged in and around Jamshedpur.

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cover story at a beacon for other companies to follow. Jamshedpur was carved out from the jungle a century ago. TATA’s CSR activities in Jamshedpur include the provision of full health and education expenses for all employees and the management of schools and hospitals. In spite of having such life size successful examples, CSR in India is in a very nascent stage. In the informal sector of the Indian economy, which contributes to almost the half of the GNP and where approximately 93 per cent of the Indian workforce is employed, the application of CSR is rare. On the contrary,

the fight against poverty, the development of education, as well as the conservation of the environment are not existent in most of the Indian enterprises. India has an advantage as far as labour is concerned. To some extent, business and capital go to those places where costs are less or standards are lower like the ones in India. But also in India, the demand for responsible and ethical goods is constantly increasing. To guarantee the supply of responsible and ethical goods, it is especially important to implement a nationwide system of CSR standards.

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Methodology of Corporate Social Responsibility CSR is the procedure of assessing an organisation’s impact on society and evaluating their responsibilities. It begins with an assessment of the following aspects of each business: ■ Customers ■ Suppliers ■ Environment ■ Communities ■ Employees Triumphant CSR plans take organisations ahead of compliance with legislation and lead them to respect moral values and respect people, communities and the natural environment. Corporate social responsibility is sustainable – involving activities that an organisation can uphold without negatively affecting the business goals CSR is not only about ecological accountability or having a recycling policy. It is about considering the whole representation of the company, from internal processes to your clients, taking in every step that a business takes during dayto-day operations. Rising economies such as India have also observed a number of companies enthusiastically engaged in CSR activities. Organisations in India have been quite sensible in taking up CSR initiatives and integrating them in their business processes. It has become progressively projected in the Indian corporate setting because organisations have recognised that besides growing their businesses, it is also important to shape responsible and supportable relationships with the community at large. Companies now have specific departments and teams that develop specific policies, strategies and goals for their CSR programs and set separate budgets to support them. Most of the time, these programs are based on well-defined social beliefs or are carefully aligned with the companies’ business domain.


cover story THE FRENCH WAY France was the first nation to make public company reporting compulsory. The rules require public companies to comprise information on a series of topics in their yearly report, such as: ■ Status of employees ■ Mobility of staff ■ Work hours ■ Social relations ■ Health and safety ■ Training ■ Health policy ■ Profits distribution ■ Outsourcing They must also illustrate their manners when it comes to communities who are concerned by their activities in the countries where they have offices. They must explain the ways in which their subcontractors respect International Labour Organisation agreements. They must also report on ecological issues such as the measure of progress in terms of energy effectiveness and dipping environmental impacts; conditions on use of land, air and water; and documentation obtained in the area of environmental safety.

CSR IN INDIA India may become the world’s first country to make corporate social responsibility mandatory. Paths have been cleared for reintroduction of the Companies Bill, in the winter session of the Parliament. If the Bill is passed after endorsing all the propositions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, corporate social responsibility (CSR) would become mandatory for the first time in the world in any country. The statement advocates that those companies with net worth

above Rs. 500 Crore, or an annual turnover of over Rs 1,000 Crore, shall earmark 2 percent of average net profits of three years towards CSR. In the draft Companies Bill, 2009, the CSR clause was voluntary, though it was mandatory for companies to disclose their CSR spending to shareholders. It also suggested that company boards should have at least one female member. In India also a large number of companies have accorded a place of importance to social action programs. Corporate social responsibility is seen as relevant constraints to business and a large percentage of managers assign a high place for social responsibilities with that of profit. However, the process of social commitment in India is somewhat different like starting social trusts, anti-pollution measurers, adopting villages or all round progress and development, starting family planning clinics for the benefit of

We recognise the need for a healthcare system that is participatory, addressing socioeconomic development based on preventive rather than curative care. Each clinic serves a population of 50,000. Its preventive health education programme touches nearly 350,000 people every year. The foundation runs seven ARY clinics across Karnataka, each with a doctor, a lab and a pharmacy. They see over 10,000 patients every year Rani Desai

Biocon Foundation

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cover story workers and residents allocation of a fixed percentage of profit to train unemployed engineers, technicians and community development activities like provision of drinking water facilities, conducting social audit on a voluntary basis, providing medical, recreational facilities, conducting tournaments to promote sports, talent, undertaking consumer education campaigns, avoiding unethical deceptive advertising and so on.

FAULT LINES

Aiding Development: Rural populace getting services

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The big question is how ‘socially responsible’ are companies in reality? Due to the lack of international CSR guidelines, the practical application of CSR differs and CSR Strategies within most companies still show major deficiencies. There are still complaints about multinational companies wasting the environment and NGOs still denouncing human rights abuses in companies. Some critics believe that CSR programs are undertaken especially by multinational companies to distract the public from ethical questions posed by their core operations. Meanwhile, companies seem to increasingly recognise their social responsibility, many of them are yet to adopt management practices that reflect it, company employees and managers need training in order to acquire the necessary skills and competence. Pioneering companies can help to implement socially responsible practices by guiding the processes. The Copenhagen Centre and CSR Europe have recently launched a program to bring the business and academic community together with the aim to identify and address the training needs of the business sector on Corporate Social Responsibility. While corporate social responsibility can only be taken on by the companies themselves, employees, consumers and investors can also play a decisive role in areas such as working conditions, environment or human rights, in the purchasing of products from companies which already adopted CSR or in prompting companies to adopt socially responsible practices. Critics suggest that better governmental and international regulation and enforcement, rather than voluntary measures are necessary to ensure that companies behave in a socially responsible manner. Corporate social responsibility should therefore not be seen as a substitute to regulation concerning social rights or environmental standards. In countries where such regulations do not exist, efforts should focus on putting the proper regulatory framework in place on the basis of which socially responsible practices can be developed.


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innovation

LAMPING

VILLAGES

I

ndia lives in villages’, despite tall claims still a large chunk of villages and small towns are enveloped in dark after the Sun goes down. As per Ministry of Power data, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna(RGGVY) launched in March 2005 has achieved the target of electrifying 105851 villages in advance and hopes to connect remaining 1909 villages any time sooner than later under its second phase. However, the reality on ground tells a different tale. Nikhil Jaisinghani, alumni of Johns Hopkins and University

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With the Sun goes down, so does the spirit in our villages as the power eludes them even now. Ventures such as of MGP holds a ‘ray’ of hope for millions of rural households as their dream might see the light of the day, reports Mohd Mustaquim of Virginia, decided to change the fate accompli as he initiated the solar powered micro grid in the villages in Sitapur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, 90 Kms from Lucknow. His solar powered micro grid, Mera Gao Power (MGP), provides low cost power supply to the households of un-electrified villages in the district. In the un-electrified villages, people depend upon kerosene for lighting and they travel to the nearby towns for recharging their mobile phones which cost from Rs 5 to Rs 10 along with travel cost and the time as well. Altogether, a


innovation

household spends around Rs 150200 on an average on kerosene alone.

ILLUMINATING HOMES MGP provides electricity to the people on priority basis, just for lighting and for mobile charging. “We provide these services to the households at lower cost with better service. We provide them 7 hours of power supply without any hassle” Jaisinghani said. He added, “For mobile charging and kerosene, people are paying Rs. 150 to 180 per month. But we charge Rs. 100 only for this service. Thus the village users get better but economical services.” Currently MGP is providing electricity for basic services like lighting and mobile charging. However, Jaisinghani is hopeful to see his services growing in to revenue generating venture in the hinterlands. “We would like to see our services in income generating activities also. It could be agricultural processing. After connecting with our micro grid power supply, shopkeepers have been enabled to extend their business for three hours in the night. Some time even during the days’ time, shopkeepers need proper light and through our services now they can afford” Jaisinghani lamented. Besides, children get to study for longer

hours in the evening with the advent of MGP services, the latter hopes to convert the services I to viable business as well.

BUSINESS MODEL Good economics seem to sail this model of services as a mere Rs 50,000 costs them to electrify 50 hoseholds . The cost includes that of equipments, labour, transport and all other inputs.

An added advantage with the services has been that besides being cost effective the electrification is fast tracked. A village can be connected in a day with just a team of three people. “We expect 50-60 per cent of households to opt for our services. The team of three people can electrify 30 villages in one month. If there are three teams, we can electrify 100 villages in a month. By adding more people, we can electrify more villages. By 2015, we expect to electrify 10,000 villages”, said Jaisinghani. Currently MGP is providing micro grid electricity to 2500 households in 110 villages in Sitapur. For future course of action, the company braces for venturing in to other areas as well. “We consider Rajasthan and Orissa as potential market. But if we had an office in Rajasthan, another in Lucknow, we have to spend much time in travelling from one site to another. If the operations are limited in a small region and everything is compact within there, it is easy for us to operate things”, expressed Jaisinghani. Ever since the MGP started its operations, it has failed to get any government subsidy or grant. Now they plan to raise equity from the market and raise funds from the banks and international lenders. The micro grid company hopes to expand its base in other countries

We expect 50-60 per cent of households to opt for our services. The team of three people can electrify 30 villages in a month. If there are three teams, we can electrify 100 villages in a month. By adding more people, we can electrify more villages. By 2015, we expect to electrify 10,000 villages Nikhil Jaisinghani

Director, Mera Gao Power

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very cheap power supply can be possible in villages”added Jaisinghani.

WAY FORWARD

Good economics seems to sail this model of services as a mere Rs 50,000 costs them to electrify 50 households . The cost includes that of equipments, labour, transport and all other inputs. A village can be connected in a day with just a team of three people

34

like Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia. Philippines and Indonesia are developed economies but both are island nations, because of its topography, larger parts of these countries are not connected with national level power grids. Jaisinghani seem to be firm that these countries are the potential markets outside India.

REGULATING OPERATIONS MGP thinks the government regulations should be easy and time saving. It should not linger the process of initiating new projects as that makes the project dearer. “I wish to see how governments are creating more conducive policy environment. We spend lot of energy, time and money on getting our works done,” said Jaisinghani. He added further “from Delhi to Lucknow, transporting goods across state’s border should not be difficult, we often have to waste our time and energy in paper formalities.” He believes that since the process is cumbersome and expensive, it affects the service delivery to the end consumers and the cost at the end and the consumers suffer. “If things are streamlined properly then at

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Indian economy is abuzz with number of corporate making a beeline for starting their rural vertical and many of them have been successfully operating as well. They are coming with new and innovative ideas and empowering farmers in the country. It takes a different approach in serving the rural markets than serving urban. ‘Peace Corps ‘through which volunteers are sent to rural areas to work, have been started by Jaisinghani. He himself stayed in Nepal for two years in a small village that was two days walk away from the nearest road. That challenge made him wonder how people live in such conditions. “Over the years my business partner and I worked in the non-profit sector, we began to see that sustainability issues have not been solved in non-profit projects. We believe our commercial approach to have a much more sustained impact; but beyond that, because there are financial returns, the work we are doing to bring light to the lives of the poor is not just sustainable but scalable as well. That is what we are really excited about”, said Jaisinghani about his inspiration for working in rural areas. In developing countries like India, there are still many untouched sectors that needed to be developed especially in the rural areas. It throws both challenges and opportunities. n


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interview

“There is an urgent need to upgrade technology in the agriculture sector”

UNION AGRICULTURE MINISTER SHARAD PAWAR has said that the country needs to focus more on upgradation of technology in agriculture sector in order to reach another level of development. In an exclusive to Praveen K Singh, Pawar said, “Upgradation of technology is must in order to move ahead towards agriculture revolution in the country.” Also the minister appeared bullish about the ‘growth’ in Agriculture. 36

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interview

As the minister for agriculture, how do you see the current scenario of agriculture in the country? In 2011, India produced 257 million tonnes of foodgrains, the highest since 1947. This year, in spite of famine-like conditions in Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka and Rajasthan, we will cross 250 million tonnes. However, we have to accomplish the mission for becoming selfsufficient in the production of some pulses and oilseeds so as to do away with the Rs. 30,000 Crore import expenditure. It is also to be noted that as a result of the efforts of ICAR, SAUs and KVKs, we are now near self-sufficient in agriculture. I don’t see that there would be any shortfall of food grains in times to come. How the ministry of agriculture working towards initiating the second Green Revolution? We are helping all the states in promoting farm diversification and use of technology for another Green Revolution in the country. Our

main focus is to bring a second revolution by encouraging maximum paddy cultivation in eastern parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. There is an urgent need to do more towards up gradation of technology in the agriculture sector in the country. The ground water potential in eastern India still needs to be harnessed to enable the region to contribute to our food basket. The government is determined to extend the green revolution to the region - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, eastern UP and West Bengal. An initial allocation of Rs 400 Crore has been made for this. This would increase crop productivity by intensive cultivation through promotion of recommended agricultural technologies and practices and development of missing links in agri infrastructure. Of the Rs 400 Crore, half has been released so far to the states in eastern India and the implementation is on. I have also constituted a high-level committee of experts to provide a thrust to hybrid rice cultivation in this region for higher productivity Storage of food grains is a big issue in front of us. How the ministry is working towards tackling this issue? The Centre is working towards increasing storage capacity of food grains by setting up more godowns. While in a number of states work in this direction is in process, higher

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interview land prices in some states like Punjab and Maharashtra are becoming obstacles in this regard. Also, cold chains are the need of the hour so as to save the produce. There has been a ubiquitous concern that the FDI in multi brand retail would badly affect interests of the small shopkeepers and traders in the country. How is the government tackling the issue? This is purely a baseless rumour. FDI in retail is in the interest of the farmers and the consumers across the country. Direct retails outlets will give quality products to consumers at competitive prices. What’s your view on allowing use of GM (genetically modified) seeds in crops other than cotton? The population of India is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2025. Providing food and nutritional security to this large population will be the most important social issue. Food production will have to be doubled. Conventional technologies are inadequate to meet the formidable challenges of feeding the burgeoning population with limited land and water resources. In addition, the adverse effects of global climate change impose limitations on crop production. The biotechnological applications in agriculture, including introduction of GM crops, are a powerful tool to meet the challenge of food and nutritional security. GM crops have the capability to contribute to productivity, if the varieties developed are pest-resistant, disease-tolerant and biotic and abiotic stress-tolerant. They could also reduce the production cost. We have been very supportive of efforts to develop transgenic crops and invested liberally. A large number of transgenic crops are currently being developed and tested at various public and

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Central government and state governments are partners, not competitors, in the development of the country. We have asked chief ministers of various states to allow field trials of genetically modified crops under ‘strictest controls of bio-safety’ so that progress of science is not blocked and ‘development of front line technology’ continues

private institutions. The country has seen the benefits of Bt cotton, which was grown in more than 80 per cent of the cotton area in the country during 2009-10 and 2010-11. Central government and state governments are partners, not competitors, in the development of the country. We have asked chief ministers of various states to allow field trials of genetically modified crops under ‘strictest controls of biosafety’ so that progress of science is not blocked and ‘development of front line technology’ continues. Any hesitation on our part to prevent the further development of this technology on unfounded apprehension would not only demoralise our scientific community but also render meaningless the progress made by us so far and increase our future dependence on other countries where research in transgenic is being given more and more importance. Out of all the modern tools in crop science, biotechnology offers the maximum potential to address the issue of increasing genetic potential of building resilience to changing agro-climatic conditions and, above all, of increasing productivity on environmentally sustainable basis. It is, therefore, essential that adequate and fair opportunity is given to scientific efforts to develop GM crops. Can you please tell us the status of the Food Security Act (FSA) and the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)? An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has been constituted to examine the issues related to FSA. The EGoM has held five meetings. While the broad contours of the proposed Bill have been worked out, some important issues, such as determining the number of BPL (below poverty line) beneficiaries, the scale of issue of foodgrain, coverage of APL (above poverty line) families and grievance


interview infrastructure such as seed farms and soil and fertiliser testing laboratories. RKVY has definitely given a fillip to agriculture and allied sectors.

redressal mechanism have been discussed by the EGoM in detail. The EGoM has asked the Planning Commission to estimate the number of BPL beneficiaries and to make specific recommendations regarding the proposed legislation, after carefully considering all the issues involved in consultation with the ministries. Once the directions of the EGoM are received, the draft Bill will be prepared by the Department of Food and Public Distribution and put on its website for public scrutiny and comments. RKVY is a unique scheme in which the states have been given authority for planning and implementing programmes on agriculture and allied sectors. An additional central assistance of Rs 25,000 Crore has been earmarked during the 11th Plan. Allocations under RKVY to various states have also been linked to the yearly increase in total plan expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors. In case of natural calamities, state governments have full autonomy in financing immediate measures under this scheme. They’ve evinced a keen interest in making use of RKVY funds. The scheme has also been assisting the states in providing critical

Has there been an increase in area under foodgrain production? Are you planning any increase in MSP (minimum support price) to encourage more production? To make agriculture remunerative on a sustainable basis, a substantial increase in MSP of major cereals, ranging from 39 per cent to 78 per cent, was effected during the last eight years. MSPs of pulses and oilseeds were increased up to 104 per cent during the period. There is no doubt that this has encouraged farmers to produce more. Last year’s estimated production of 218.20 mt is to be seen in the backdrop of an unprecedented drought. However, the various mitigation measures helped reduce the loss to the minimum. Presently, MSP for wheat is Rs 1,285 per quintal but the farmers have been demanding a raise. Minimum support price (MSP) of wheat would be increased within next few days. The commission for agricultural cost and prices is not in favour of an increase in MSP. However, we feel that the input cost for wheat has increased and thus the MSP also needs to be hiked. We will be taking up the issue in the Cabinet meeting which is to be held within the next 10 days and get the approval for the increase. Do you think the Central Government needs to push for one more White Revolution across the country? I would like to request all the scientists to chalk out effective plans for increasing milk production so as to reduce the demand-supply gap. I think Gujarat Milk Marketing Co-operative Federation needs to expand its operations to multiple states. Such a move would help usher in white revolution across the country benefitting farmers in other States too. I hope that Amul-maker GCMMF expand its successful cooperative model to other parts in the country. We need to see how it can further strengthen the cooperative model. I think GCMMF should look at expanding its operation in other parts of the country under the multi-state cooperative model.

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demeanour

Grooming

Bharat

Like their urban counterparts, young boys and girls from our hinterlands are readying to be upwardly mobile. Their sheer spirit drive them to know the nuances of professional conduct, explores Team R&M

T

his is a plain and simple economics. In the next few years we are going to require millions of trained and professionally groomed work force for burgeoning economic ventures in this country. By any means we cannot afford to lose on to mainstreaming the rural workforce if we wish to match up with the GNP of most advanced world capitals. Rural India that is Bharat, stands at the crossroad, its young, dynamic and upwardly mobile seem to be waiting in their wings to fly. Union

Catching Up: Rural girls in a BPO

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government along with some state governments has shown their willingness to integrate these teeming millions in to the larger economic order. NGOs like Jagruti Foundation and Asian Motivation Forum have seized the opportunity as they have already trained and groomed over a lakh rural boys and girls, dropouts and placed them in corporate settings like hotels, tourism, shopping malls.

IGNITING MINDS On 13th of September, 2011, Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh announced


demeanour

Taking Lessons: Girls attending grooming class

a scheme of PM’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDF) for deploying young professionals in each of the IAP districts to assist the District Collector. PMRDFs will basically function as development facilitators, assisting the Collector and his/her colleagues by actively pursuing a district programming approach that follows three key strategies given below: Strengthen the district resource base for programming by finding ways of resourcing all the planned activities and rational budgeting. Establish or strengthen systems by exploring alternative ways of delivering services to reach the most deprived communities. Trigger processes which would support the changes that have been envisioned in this approach (e.g. village planning).This would be complemented by a set of supportive actions such as building the capacity of district and block officials; triggering district-wide social mobilization processes particularly among the youth; achieve a ground swell of support and build strong relationships with the Panchayats. It is envisaged that the training process and intensive development facilitation work at the village, block and district level will provide an exceptional

growth potential for the Fellows and will, therefore, help to create a future network of skilled professionals that can work for the development sector as a whole Besides training the rural youth for capacity development, such initiatives have a trickledown effect. It sends down the message that they are part of India growth story and they have every right to participate actively on nation building.

NURTURING PROFESSIONALS Venkat Pujari, the founder of his very own ‘Jagruti Foundation’ has stressed that unless there is strong policy back up and strategy on rural grooming from the ‘powers that be’ India cannot assume economic leadership in the world. “This has been my observation that rural youth contrary to the perception are more outgoing and dynamic. They have the urge to grow and move faster in life. I have overseen the my projects that have trained more than 22 thousand rural boys and girls who have been placed in professional profiles” affirmed Pujari. ‘Jagruti Foundation for Rural Development’ ropes in school drop outs, under matriculate or xi and

We are very happy to see that rural youth from across spectrum do come to us for personality development classes and they are very fast in picking up. They are placed in professional profiles and paid accordingly. The trend is pan India Venkat Pujari

Founder, ‘Jagruti Foundation for Rural Development’

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demeanour

I am for the complete grooming of rural youths as they are the harbingers of New India that will thrive on the power of skilled workforce from our hinterlands Dr Gulshan Sharma

President, ‘Asian Motivation Forum’

12th graders in the age group of 18 to 30 years and groom them to make them fit for hospitality industry, hospitals, shopping complexes, retail chains , airports and any such place where workforce with soft skills are required. “ We have great demands for professionally groomed workforce to meet the challenges of umpteen business opportunities. How we are to meet the supply demand gap ?” questions Pujari. Till date, his organisation has trained over 22 thousand rural youths for the industry. “Most of them have been placed and got promoted as well within a year or so” added Pujari. Of late he has worked across Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. According to Pujari, more and more of rural girls are coming to their grooming classes that range from a 15 days course to a 3 month programme. On the nature of participation, Pujari made a distinction when said that girls from Andhra are more comfortable in attending to their classes since they have a better exposure. “ Girls

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from Hindi belt do have some issues related to socio-cultural moorings as they are a bit slow in picking up. But otherwise our programmes have been quite a success” added he. Thus we need to make a pool of skilled talents keeping in view the constant demand for the professionals” he added further.

REACHING OUT Reaching out to the youths based in remotest of the place in India, Kakini enterprises have made ‘personality development’ a professional venture. Rural India holds substantial prospects of providing quality manpower, which can be the catalyst for boosting productivity and growth. The Kakini Enterprises, has embarked upon a target to reach out to the large pool of children in rural India and provide them access to quality education, specifically to children from the strife torn regions of India. They will be inspired to dream big, instilled with passion to strive relentlessly, imparted with right counseling and infused with confidence to challenge the best. The emphasis will be on developing an overall outstanding personality that will be leaders of emerging India in every sphere – politics, government and industry. We at Kakini are of the firm belief that humans are the key to any successful business enterprise, and Kakini Enterprises endeavours to translate words of Dr. Abdul Kalam in ‘The Ignited Minds’ into reality” said an official from Kakini. Undeniably, wealth accumulation remains the


demeanour

chief objective of any business enterprise; but Kakini looks at wealth accumulation as an entirely new paradigm. “Kakini”, a word in Kashmiri, implying wisdom, would always remind the members of its community about the significance of a balance in life, where the deeds must result in tangible benefits to the very society in which our own children would one day step in. Therefore, Kakini Enterprise incessantly aspires to identify The Institute tries business opportunities that to inculcate in the would pave way for attaining the exalted goals. students a scientific As regards grooming rural temperament and youths, Kakini’s curriculum spirit of inquiry, of personality development includes developing leadership foster ethical values skills, encouraging students to like freedom from take initiative by recognising their prejudices of all kinds, purpose in life as equal human recognising the important encourage children’s beings, role women play in developing education - especially society, and respecting and in girls, and human reinforcing the value of their values and virtues own culture. The Institute tries to inculcate in the students a scientific temperament and spirit of inquiry, foster ethical values like freedom from prejudices of all kinds, encourage children’s education - especially in girls, and human values and virtues. Additional curriculum highlights include communication techniques, how to consult in decision making and problem solving, how to take part in group discussion, how to listen, how to speak and address an audience and how to report on findings.

However, the case of a rural girl is worth mentioning. Antari was a shy girl who could not even pronounce her own name properly. She had great difficulty in school and dropped out three times before she finally enrolled at Barli Institute. “I got all the answers here,” she says. She learned sewing and embroidery so well she soon was helping teach her fellow students. She learned to ask questions, which bolstered her confidence. When she went back to her village, she bought a sewing machine and started a tailor shop. Six months later she took the higher education exams and got high marks. This allowed her to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree at Sanskar College, Bhopal and a Masters of Philosophy in Education. This further stress the fact that if a proper grooming is facilitated to a girl from the hinterlands, she is sure to make her mark. Now, Antari is a post-graduate in Hindi literature working as a teacher in Dahi.

SUMMING UP Dr Gulshan Sharma, president ‘Asian Motivation Forum’ believes in holistic training and grooming of youths from rural India. “ What needs to be done on priority is that personality development centres should be run pan India” added Sharma. He firmly pointed out that his own ventures in that direction through his Forum have been very successful in meeting the expectation of both people involved in it and the government agencies. “Especially in the north east region, rural youths are very enterprising and a little bit of organised grooming place them at places they desire” he said adding. Such initiatives right from the level of government, NGOs and private sector experts feel would act as panacea for the ills that plague Bharat- rural India and that will converge their aspirations with the nations in letter and spirit.

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fmcg

An untidily dressed person talking on his mobile in a remote village surely shows the surge both in demand for the product and aspirations. Companies dealing with it tend to walk extra miles to tap this huge segment, reports Mohd Mustaquim

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M

obile phones over the years have become an inseparable part of life for most of the people in India. Thus the industry has seen great growth in the past decade itself. According to the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAG R), the rural telecom subscribers have grown to 282.23 million on March 2011, which was 45.71 million in 2006-07. The remaining 558 million rural people out of 840 are yet to be tapped. This has been an ideal ‘win win’ scenario, mobile manufacturing companies are coming with innovative packages to push their sale. In order to capture low income group segment, especially in the rural areas, the companies are trying hard to meet the surge in demand.

THE BACKDROP According to an analysis by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM),

December 2012


fmcg

The customers at the bottom of the pyramid are looking at phone with basic functional features. Additionally, if the phone also has a value-added service or a feature that simplifies their life, further swells up the demand Shreepad Shende

Managing Director, Ashe MarCom

the per capita income of an average Indian is about Rs 46,345 per annum during the current fiscal 2012. Hence, the Indian consumers, especially living in the hinterlands are considered price sensitive. By taking account of landscape, mobile manufacturing companies are bringing out low cost mobile handsets to tap the unexplored market. Shreepad Shende, who has been into rural markets for 20 years, has been associated with Nokia and now founded his own company Ashe MarCom, said, “low cost mobile phones is a significantly large segment for handset manufacturers. The customers at the bottom of the pyramid are looking at phone with basic functional features. Additionally, if the phone also has a value-added service or a feature that simplifies their lives, further swells up the demand.” “The example I would like to quote here is the low cost phones launched by Nokia with torch which found instant acceptance among the rural consumers as there were frequent electricity cuts or no power in these areas. Marketers need to study the lifestyle of the rural consumers and add features that address their problems,” he further added. The maximum number of consumers in the rural is said to fall

under lower income group. But they constantly aspire for basic amenities, which stimulates manufacturing companies and service providers to bring out cost effective and affordable products and services for them. “They do not willingly go and buy a low cost handset rather they do not have other options because of the cost. But yes, they appreciate the kind of technology and quality they get in the limited money they have, said P. Vignesh, Brand Manger of Zen Mobile.

MODUS OPERANDI The idea of low cost mobile handsets is further fuelled by the cheaper and affordable mobile services. The mobile service providers are facing cut-throat competition in bringing down their tariffs. The rates are much affordable to even a daily wage worker to a rickshaw puller. Their aspiration leads them to buy a low cost handset. Thus the present scenario in the handset market further propels the demands manifold. The selling of a low cost phone along with mobile connection is encouraged by the concept of CDMA phones, which carry a mobile connection with itself. “Bundling of offers is also something that works with this audience as well. Airtime bundling

is more commonly seen. I am yet to see bundling offers outside the telecom industry, with an FMCG, say for example to give a shampoo sachet with every purchase of a handset. This can be a good tool for FMCG to increase sales or for product sampling”, expressed Shende. Low cost mobile handsets always act as bread and butter for any mobile handset manufacturing company because of the sales volume in the huge rural market which comprises of over 840 million people. “It is very essential for a brand to

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fmcg

realise that they should not be perceived as a cheap or low cost brand forever. The transformation has to happen to change the imagery. Zen is also in the transformation stage wherein we would ideally position ourselves as a technology brand rather than a mass brand”, said Vignesh. It will be tough for the “People in Tier II and III cities are survival of all brands, aspirational, hence understanding their but the brands those timely needs and upgrading them is a challenging task, especially in this highly provide sensible competitive market”, he added further. quality with maximum The promotional programmes, features in reasonable whether these are for print, radio, or below-the-line activities, price would create television if these are done in regional languages, their path of growth in play a significant role for any consumer taping the untapped goods product. The indigenous mode rural consumers of communication works in the rural market as the people are not very much literate. “Another innovative marketing strategy we recommend and execute it end-toend through in-film branding within the regional language. The subtle incorporation of product features within the story line makes the proposition

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and communication stronger,” said Shende.

BOOSTING SALES Low cost handsets and fast moving goods always contribute a major share in the sales volume. The demand for such handsets because of affordability factor is increasing every day. With advancing technology, now, in a budget feature phone, a consumer can get almost everything within a price range of Rs 2000. Understanding the right market and the right TG is very important. “For Zen mobiles, TG is a person whose monthly income is Rs 5000-7000. For him spending Rs 2000 on a phone is a challenge, but since he is aspiring a phone, he does not mind spending that,” added Vignesh. Sales volume is a function of multiple factors like competition, availability, distribution, special offers and others. However, pricing is the most important influencer. The basic requirement is that the quality of the product has to be good as it will lead to positive word of mouth, leading to incremental sales. The quality of the product is the only reason why “price sensitive switchers” will come back to


fmcg Predicting the future of low cost handset in such a fast moving world is a bit difficult. But for sure another half a decade, the things are going to be good for budget and feature phones because still there are many markets untapped P.Vignesh

Brand Manager, Zen Mobile

the brand in the long run. For enhancing revenues, manufacturers need to look at additional revenue from other sources like bundling of offers, value added services and others. When consumer goods companies bring out with cost effective products, there has always been a question, does it affect the quality of the product? The consumers have always been conscious about the quality. When the market was flooded by the low cost and multi-featured Chinese phones, the Indian as well as multinational companies such as Nokia and Samsung had to come out with low cost handsets.

If a consumer buys a phone of these multinational companies, the features of camera and MP3 player are available within the price range of Rs.1200-1300. FM player has become a common feature with all phones even the phone costs Rs.800 only. After these technological innovations and bringing out low cost mobile handsets by Indian and multinational companies, the consumers turned into them. “I feel when we are constrained, we are forced to think differently and this is when innovation is born. Take the Nano Car from the Tata – wonderful example of quality and low price. Quality has different connotations to rural and for urban consumers. As long as the product meets the consumer’s expectations it is good enough”, added Shende.

FUTURE COURSE Since the 558 million rural people are yet be tapped for mobile phone services, the future is bright for the manufacturers. There was a time when people used to pay thousands of rupees for buying a mobile phone. Affording a phone at that time was a nightmare for majority of people. However, the scenario has transformed into an era of affordable phones for everyone. “Today even a Rs.800 phone has a camera as a mandate. Hence, predicting the future of low cost handset in such a fast moving world is a bit difficult. But for sure another half a decade, the things are going to be good for budget and feature phones because still there are many markets untapped” said Vignesh. The future is bright as the telecom penetration is only going to increase further. Moreover, the replacement market is also significantly large in this segment and it is for the smart ones to come up with innovative strategies and grab this opportunity. Explaining Shende, “It is a myth that the low priced products are not profitable. I heard of an insurance policy from LIC having premium of as low as around Rs. 27 per month and yet it is profitable for the company. All that is required is to shrug our baggage and think innovatively.” Right price point is crucial while targeting rural consumers. Ideally a handset priced at Rs 1000 is likely to have a better acceptance among them. A price difference of a few hundred rupees leads to customers switching brands. Hence, it is important for the manufacturers to have efficiencies in manufacturing, distribution, and marketing and in other activities, so as to get to the right price point. At last, it will be tough for the survival of all brands, but the brands those provide sensible quality with maximum features in reasonable price would create their path of growth in taping the untapped rural consumers. December 2012

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service

IT-Village

‘symbiotics’

Information and Communication Technology has emerged as a powerful tool in bringing about transformation for the rural population of India. If even half of the rural masses get connected with this revolution, there will be huge improvement in their lives. Team R&M gives details

I

n the times of fast changing technology, enhanced methodologies and means of information exchange, one can hardly afford not to stay abreast with it. Knowledge and power being complementary, renders no distinction acquiring any of the two. The reverse also holds good lacking one means losing the other. And knowledge is nothing but information. It’s a matter of fact that still 70 per cent of country’s population resides in villages. We have huge opportunities to cash in on the obviousempowering rural masses with complete IT

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revolution. If we continue fall short of being pro-active approach on the issue, it would certainly render our society into a mess of poor ghettos in terms of deprivation of all kind. This consideration and also the idea of integration of urban and rural areas by means of IT has obliged the union government to conceive the idea of implementation of IT in rural India. This is being seen a step forward to the realisation of the goal of global village. Further, with the steady emergence of India as an IT giant and it is perceived that she will take the lead in this segment as well. And, thus,


service

IT implementation in rural India has been vested with the opportunity of being at the top priority, considering the global market and the competition India is confronted with, in terms of economical and technological growth. Tanmoy Chakrabarty, VP & Head, Government Industry Solutions Unit (ISU), TCS, says, “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has emerged as a powerful tool in bringing about transformation for the rural population of India. Presently, one does witness ICT proliferation in urban areas in India. Internet penetration and other e-services are showing an upward trend.” However, the real challenge is to bring the enablement of the ICT to masses and impact the society at large where 70 percent of the population resides.

THE NEED The issue is how best can we transfer eGovernance to the rural mass to bring in transparency and accountability to the functioning of government at various levels? Explains Chakravarty, “There is a need to share the example of good practices that are available with the common mass so that these practices are emulated and get replicated and digital parity is established little sooner across the society.” At the outset, concentration should be managed on the main occupation of rural people. Agriculture must be the first thing to have an introduction with information technology to meet the expected outcome. Frankly speaking, IT has been now replaced by ICT, so it is foolhardy to talk about computers as the sole representative of IT. Satellite observation systems to identify when crops were planted and how they are developing should be put in place. Subjects of utmost importance like information on air humidity, soil moisture content and the second variation of precipitation will be readily available now. Also

HOW ICT CAN BRING A CHANGE • Efficient services for Health Care and Education • Access to vast Education in content for improving literacy • Help farmers with value based information to improve their productivity and provide timely information to traders, artisans etc • Entertainment through broadcasting and multimedia services at doorsteps in rural areas. • Relevant News at one’s door-step. free daily weather and weather forecast is not a bigger task anymore. Furthermore suggestions about the time of harvest and warnings on potential crop damage such as swarms of locusts will be a matter of fact for the farmers. Information about anything right from mixed farming, nursery management, pest control, plant breeding annual welfare, animal husbandry, forestry, land reclamation will be all in-hand property of the farmer.

SENSE OF DUTY Some projects taken as an incentive by the government for the encouragement of IT in rural areas and for combating corruption are tremendous success. Several state governments are running projects in rural areas. One of such projects is Bhoomi. The department of revenue in Karnataka has computerised twenty million records of land ownership of 6.7 million farmers in the state. Previously, farmers had to seek out the village accountant to

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service

get a copy of the Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) - a document needed for many tasks such as obtaining bank loans. There were delays and harassment. Bribes had to be paid. Today for a fee of Rs. 15 a printed copy of the RTC can be obtained from computer land record kiosks Centers). Such projects Media can act as a (Bhoomi are much of a solace to the poor guide in the midst of farmers who have been living under unavailability of honest the zamindari tyranny for hundreds and legitimate advice. of years. Some officials may not acknowledge the fact that the Through IT we get a Indian farmer is still dependent on better connectivity local book keeping system, informal across the globe which accounting which is corrupt and inaccurate. Their ignorance about means better trade their rights makes them easy prey transactions, inculcation to the corrupt moneylenders. of competitiveness and Media can act as a guide in the midst of unavailability of honest quest for better quality and legitimate advice. Through IT and better productivity we get a better connectivity across the globe which means better trade transactions, inculcation of competitiveness and quest for better quality and better productivity. Such an environment expands the horizons of knowledge and perfection. Information technology has also gotten herculean task of maintaining national integrity, harmony and patriotism. The seemingly insurmountable scourge of communalism will be better dealt with the help of IT. A farmer in a remote village in Maharashtra can communicate with another in Punjab. The inter-regional, ethnic and linguistic differences will be sorted. Interaction and exchange of views and ideas without being influenced by the war-monger politicians will

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be of immense help. Any bill introduced in any state legislature which goes against the interests of farmers of that state can be unanimously condemned by their counterparts in other parts of the country. Thus strengthening the democracy called India. People being innocent and ignorant in villages are easily mis led through sectarian and communal politics. By IT a direct interaction with the persons concerned and interfacing with different view points on a possible mischief, will be achieved and any communal outburst can be successfully averted.

AHEAD OF ITS TIME Next best thing is women in empowerment and emancipation by means of ICT. Education, vocational training, cooking lessons, economic and social independence - all in the reach. Pro-school development classes for infants and child care classes for mothers are a few more advantages to add. By the IT revolution inter-city marketing for women entrepreneurs is possible. This will establish a closed group communication network for community based women organisations to promote inter-city direct sales of products made by artisans and skilled workers. This will be accomplished by providing community based organizations (CBOS) with communication lines by way of cellular phones to enable them to network for marketing their products. Apart from this, daily wage laborers and low


service

remunerative job holders will be largely benefited by information on current job availability. Govt. employees like school teachers and village nurse will get opportunities to upgrade their knowledge every day. Nurses and medical shop owners can better deal with any epidemic by acquiring adequate knowledge of the latest developments in medicine. Dissipation of numerous myths about some diseases like AIDS, leprosy, etc. is possible. And various movements like Pulse Polio Immunisation Movement will be greater than success. A better platform will be met in handling sensitive matters like all prevalent superstitions. This is related to their ethos and must not be taken casually. Educating people by means of classroom teaching is not of much avail but should be supported by conducting audio -visual campus live demonstrations of the facts through Internet and other media, and direct confrontation with the persons who overcame such superstitions. Needless to say, this can be done only with the IT implementation. Education for school and college students through online tuition centres, radio, TV, mobile phones will be available. Establishment of a library of educational CD’s for more and more information for everyone and anyone who holds a quest to know more. Because of their shy nature, rural people know little about sex education. Thus, sex education will be provided by means of television, radio, etc. Concept of safe sex and family planning is another thing to end up their queries, myths and false concepts.

POWER IN HAND Information about government grants, loans etc. schemes and insurance policies further establishes them firmly on the position to safeguard the future of their progeny. For business minded people like small enterprise trader, kirana shop owner, small industrialists, cottage Industry owners real estate investment is something irresistible. New market exploration if done manually is a tough job but is a matter of few minutes time by means of ICT. “In India, we have an extreme dichotomy. While

on the one hand, India is a country with $80 million dollars IT exports, the rural population still forms the non privileged section of the digital divide. The challenge before us is to bring the economically deprived section to the other side of digital divide,” says Chakarvarty of TCS.

LOOKING IN TO FUTURE To conclude, we can say that the role of ICT in rural areas is tremendous. It is inevitable considering the development of the nation as whole and indispensable for if we want to be healthy, the food we eat must be healthy. The hope that ICT can surmount at least some of rural India’s The hope that ICT can social, political, and administrative challenges and create a viable surmount at least technology for the provision of health, some of rural India’s education, and other social services social, political, and is, thus ICT’s strongest calling card. An additional expectation is that ICT administrative challenges can be used innovatively to improve and create a viable access to the large, underserved market technology for the that rural India’s 700 million people represent, especially considering that provision of health, India has the resources to build an education, and other ICT infrastructure, i.e., its large, skilled, social services is, thus ICT’s cost- efficient IT workforce. To assess the exact situation, we strongest calling card can say that experimentation is still the order of the day, arising primarily from the limited availability and affordability of relevant content and the information network. As a result, most projects are financially unviable and expectations on content and usage are unmet. Few things like poor infrastructure, high deployment and maintenance costs and the lack of content for eGovernance are some of the major hurdles. Some problems exist because the strengths of the different stakeholders are not being used optimally. We feel that the private sector, NGOs and local government all provide services under a competitive model, while using village level regulation to ensure that equitable access and partnerships are enabled.

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Agriculture

Facts & Figures

Indian produced record

252mn

India has

180mn

tonnes of food grain in 2011-12

hectares of land which is arable

India produced India produces

90mn tonnes of milk (highest in the world)

India ranks first in production of

31 .24%

people in India are directly engaged in agriculture.

Papayas

42. 11%

42.24%

metric tonnes of vegetables in 2010-11.

58.4%

Bananas

Mangoes (including mangosteens,and guavas)

74.878mn metric tonnes of fruits and 146.554mn

India produced

78mn

tonnes of fish in 2009-10 (Third largest in the world )

Lemons and limes

42.24%

4. 4 3 mn hectare land is under organic cultivation in India

India earned Rs

34,864 Cr

through processed food exports in 2011-12

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agri watch

WINNING THE TRUST

Real growers of agri-produce selling directly to bulk users, an ideal way forward, has been mooted. Millions of our Kisans seem to be readying themselves for an ‘organised’ farm trade, reports Madhvendra Singh Chauhan

F

arrukhbad is one of the largest potato growing district of Uttar Pradesh and one of the main producers of this vegetable in the country.  Farmers and their families can be seen packing these potatoes in jute bags while some of them load them in the tractors. Scores of tractors are there on the

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roads, heading towards mandi to sell them early. Preetam Singh of Harsinghpur village is sleeping in the field for past few days as he has not been able to get a tractor to carry his packets to the mandi. He is worried if he gets late, he will not get the right price. “jyada der ho gayi to lagat bhi vasool nahi hogi.(if we reach late, we will not be able to


agri watch

Now, in Hapur villages, as many as 1000 women farmers with the support from NABARD are selling their products to many retail companies and are contributing to the family income. recover the investment even.). Singh says that it is happening for generations and they have no other choice but to sell it to recover cost. However, the lucky few like in Hapur’s Shyampur and Lalpur villages get good money for their crops and are also get technical assistance from the companies they are dealing with. In this district, Bharti Walmart has tied up with Laxmi Jankalyan Sewa Sansthan an NGO to involve farmers, particularly women to procure good quality, fresh vegetables and other horticultural produces. Now, as many as 1000 women farmers of Hapur district are learning the best agricultural practices and are being trained in entrepreneurial skills as well. Apart from procurement, companies like PepsiCo are engaging farmers through contract farming where, farmers are   ensured that their produce will be procured at the promised rate, even if there’s a slowdown in After the project the market rates. The company started in Hapur, the official says that 95 per cent women of these villages of its farmers stick to the have gained economic company as they get what they were promised.

security. On the other hand, farmers are getting benefitted as they are saved from commission agents and get the competent market price for their products Amit Kumar Singh

Programme Director, Sunhara Walmart, Agribusiness Systems International

WIN-WIN SITUATION After FDI in retail is allowed, India, as opined by experts, will see huge investment in the retail sector. This has prepared a ground for farmers, from where these companies will buy their daily produces. Bharti Walmart buys 10 tons of vegetables from farmers of Hapur district and in the coming months, it is

supposed to increase the procurement. “I see this as a win-win situation for both farmers and retail chain owners. Now farmers are saved from that vicious cycle of commission agents and companies get the desired quality of products,” says Dr. J P Sharma, Head agriculture extension division of Indian agriculture research institute, Delhi. The institute has provided technical assistance to the farmers of this area. The ‘Sunehra Walmart’ project was started in November 2011 by Mahila Kisan Vikas Sanstha with the help from NABARD. The project funded by Walmart foundation and is in collaboration with Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), a Washington-based consulting organisation that runs ‘Sunhara India’ projects. Sunhara Walmart is a two-year $350,000 initiative. Amit Kumar Singh, Agribusiness Systems International’s Programme Director, Sunhara Walmart, says that after the project started in the district, the women of these villages have gained economic security. On the other hand, he feels that farmers are getting benefitted as they are saved from commission agents and

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agri watch

I see this as a winwin situation for both farmers and retail chain owners. Now farmers are saved from that vicious cycle of commission agents and companies get the desired quality of products

get the competent market price for their products. “Now these women are the co-owners in the supply chain and are no longer dependent upon the traditional mandis to sell their farm produce,” adds Singh. Rajiv Wakhle, director operations at PepsiCo India said that farmers associated with his company do not leave and more than 95 per cent farmers are still working with the company. The company provides good quality seeds to the farmers and trains them in good agricultural practices.

CSR WITH RETURNS

The initiatives like ‘Sunehra Walmart’ and contract farming by other multinational companies Dr. J P Sharma Head agriculture will increase in the coming years, extension division, Indian opines Sharma. According to him, Agricultural Research this trend is likely to catch speed Institute, New Delhi because in both contract farming and direct procurement, farmers are saved from commission agents and get better prices for their crops. The big retail chains like Big Bazaar, Bhart Walmart, Reliance retail and other companies like Mother dairy, Parag Dairy etc are making their presence felt in the rural space. The early penetration in the villages will give an edge to these companies, as it takes time for village populace to trust the intent of companies. The Bharti Walmart project in Hapur is one such example, where they started the village level federations. At present, there are more than 1000 women who are associated with this

project. Through this scheme, this retail giant gets the fresh and better quality vegetables and in return, they are not only winning the trust of these farmers but are also strengthening their foothold. “We imparted training to them and now these women, who only few months ago were so hesitant that they could not stand before someone, are now negotiating for their products. They are more confident now,” says Neelam Tyagi, secretary of Laxmi Jankalyan Sewa Sansthan. “We rolled out the project a year ago and imparted training to these farmers for best agricultural practices. Our experts guide them to use the right proportions of fertilizers and pesticides to get the quality produce.,”  said an official of Bharti Walmart on the condition of anonymity. Under this scheme, a day before around 8 in the night, a text message is sent to the collection centres about the requirement and next day all the produces are tested for quality and are dispatched before 12 in the noon. These women under this federation sell their farm produces to other buyers as well.

The big retail chains like Big Bazaar, Bharti Walmart, Reliance retail and other companies like Mother Dairy, Parag Dairy and others are making their presence felt in the rural space. The early penetration in the villages will give an edge to these companies, as it takes time for village populace to trust the intent of companies

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agri watch Policy Support Indian government’s National Agricultural Policy envisages that private participation will be promoted through contract farming and land leasing arrangements to allow accelerated technology transfer, capital inflow and assured market for crop production, especially of oil seeds, cotton and horticultural crops. This policy recognises contract farming as an important aspect of agri-business and its significance for small farmers. NABARD supports such arrangements by the banking sector and has developed a special refinance package for contract farming arrangements aimed at promoting increased production of commercial crops and creation of marketing avenues for the farmers. The spokesperson of NABARD’s Lucknow office says, “Under this scheme, we select mature SHGs, which are into enterprise mode and give them financial assistance to start some entrepreneurial venture. Under that scheme, we provide financial assistance that covers various kinds of expenditures of these marts.” NABARD supports rural marts and give them financial assistance. At tehsil level, a rural mart gets financial assistance of Rs 1 Lakh that is given in three quarterly installments. However, there’s a change in the scheme and for the financial year 2012-13, these SHGs can avail loan under the scheme. The interest rate for the marts has been kept at 4 per cent annually and pay back period is five years.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT  The Indian government not only supports such initiatives like Walmart but also promotes contract farming. The government’s National Agricultural Policy envisages that private participation will be promoted through contract farming and land leasing arrangements to allow accelerated technology transfer, capital inflow and assured market for crop production, especially of oil seeds, cotton and horticultural crops. The inter -ministerial task force on Agricultural Marketing reforms observed that contract farming was becoming increasingly important. Recognising the potential and benefits of contract farming arrangements in the agriculture sector, NABARD took the important initiative of supporting such arrangements by the banking sector and developed a special refinance package for contract farming arrangements (within and outside AEZs) aimed at promoting increased production of commercial crops and creation of marketing avenues for the farmers. The bank provides special refinance package for

financing farmers for contract farming in AEZs. Under the scheme, the term facility for repayments is 3 years. In 2010 alone, PepsiCo India offered 6500 contract farmers the knowledge of the correct geometry and chemical kit As our company required for optimal harvesting. assures farmers with Under the scheme, PepsiCo India a fixed procurement provided better quality seeds and ensured timely irrigation by prices and provide maintaining day to day follow them training to use up’s on all relevant agricultural various fertilisers and practices. For post harvest, it pesticides judiciously, provided relevant transport and they do not leave us. storage facilities as well. This We also give them phenomenal growth has resulted in the farmers receiving a profit good quality seeds between Rs. 25,000 – 40,000 and train them in per acre as compared to Rs. good agricultural 15,000 – 25,000 a year earlier. practices But these are just fractions of Rajiv Wakhle what is happening in India’s six Director operations at lakh villages. Moreover, larger PepsiCo India support from the government and more participation from the corporate will help increase such initiatives to last in the long run. From the government’s end, it is expected that policies for easy access to credit, training in skills and modernisation of their enterprises should be in place for enabling them to adjust to changes by upgrading their activities wherever possible or move into emerging occupations like agroprocessing. Only the supportive public policy can promote more competition among organised retailers or wholesalers by facilitating the entry of new players.

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spreading out

‘FREEZING’ OPPORTUNITY

Developing a robust cold chain in the context of our hinterlands mean creating millions of economic opportunities. Very nascent the stage with which India has begun its journey, Team R&M explores its future

A

t least on government files, Aryapur Khera, a peri-urban town in Western Uttar Pradesh is well connected through road to the rest of the country and in fact, there is a road that connects this sleepy town to district Mainpuri. But a ride from Mainpuri to this sleepy town will tell you how badly the road has been damaged. The thin potholed coal tar strip makes the journey of twenty five kilometer into a two hour nightmare.

Interestingly, in this town, where reaching after dusk is almost impossible due to security reasons, one can get packaged milk of almost all brands and children can be seen buying chocolates from the shops. It is fascinating to see such products in a town where electricity and road connectivity are abysmally poor. Then how do these products reach there and who takes them there? Shaukat Ali Farooqui of Coldstar India has the answer. The logistics company supplies packaged food across the country and provides range of

Our company installed data loggers to keep a track on the variations in the refrigeration inside the vehicle. This way we keep a track on the drivers so that they cannot switch off the truck’s refrigerator Veerender Singh Thakur

GM, Global AgriSystem

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spreading out

There have been some great innovations in the technology and we in India are fast developing in cold chain logistics. I agree that drivers can switch off the refrigerators just to make some quick money but as far as our company is concerned, we have ensured that such wrongdoings do not take place Capt. Jatin Sharma

GM, Foods, FMCG and Cold Chain Division, MJ Logistics

solutions to store perishable products in an ideal storage condition. Philippe Beyries, agriculture counsellor in the French Embassy in India says that India is an ‘ideal place’ for developing cold chain industry. In India, the biggest success story for cold chain logistics is that of packaged milk. One can buy milk of regional as well as national brands in any part of the country. So is the case of chocolates. Medicines and apples are two other products, which use the cold chain to reach places and have been successful. Despite the need and potential, the cold chain industry in India is only 3 per cent of the world and is at a very nascent stage.

REACHING RURAL The easy availability of new technology in farming has increased production of agricultural produce by manifolds and companies like ITC and Walmart, PepsiCo etc are buying these products directly from farmers. Many highly perishable commodities in horticulture like tomatoes, apples, peas cannot last for long if they are not stored in a controlled climate. Safal, an initiative by leading Milk brand Mother Dairy has over 350 outlets in the country, where one can find fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables. Its ‘ safal’ peas is one of the most successful example of cold chain in India. One can buy packets of peas at few retail outlets in towns. Ice-cream companies are another excellent example of strong cold chain usage in India and companies like Cream bell has strong presence in

smaller towns of India. According to ML Arora, VP (supply chain management) in the Cream bell, the company has fleet of 250 refill trucks, which are fitted with latest technology to keep the icecream ‘fresh’. The company sends its products in 22 states in the country and range of his company’s ice creams are available in many hilly terrains of Uttrakhand and Himachal, where travelling is not that easy. Veerender Singh Thakur, GM of Global AgriSystem feels that there’s a huge opportunity in the sector as India is still underdeveloped in this area. Global AgriSystem sends apples and carrots through trucks, which use cold chain technology. He says that industry is evolving and there are lots of new innovations, which have made the transportation easy and efficient. He says that the right approach in the cold chain system is to use the technology right from the storage till it reaches to the consumer. However, in India, as he terms it, almost all the food and vegetable products get the ‘temperature shock’ because, they are not always stored in a similar temperature. Take the case of potato, it is preserved at freezing temperature in the cold storages but once it is out of the store and is

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spreading out sold in the retail market, it is open to heat, at times crossing 40 degree celsius. Potatoes are grown widely and one of the major areas, where farmers grow it at a larger scale is in Farrukhabad in Eastern UP. In this small town, one can find as many as 150 cold stores just to accommodate potatoes. The packaged food industry is growing and with the support from the government it is expected to grow at a faster rate than assumed earlier. Rise of the middle class population has also contributed to this rising phenomenon

BARRIERS ON THE WAY

Cream bell, has fleet of 250 refill trucks, which are fitted with latest technology to keep our ice-creams fresh. We have equipped our trucks with GPS so, we get real time updates about their route and temperature inside the container ML Arora

VP, Supply Chain Management, Cream Bell

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The last mile reach has always remained a major worry for companies and their problems are multiplied when these companies have to transport their products to the rural areas. Many companies have addressed the issue of supply of their products through cold chain in rural India but there is a huge gap between demand and supply. Pawanexh Kohli of Cross Tree Technovisors says, “Challenges of this industry are similar to any other industry. In rural, the biggest challenge

December 2012

is that of electricity and road infrastructure and it will improve gradually.” He said that in some cases that challenges has already been mitigated but many challenges remain and are waiting for government intervention to address it. On the other side, people who send their products through these trucks said that drivers switch off the compressors to save diesel. It affects the quality of the products. Global AgriSystem has installed data loggers to keep a track on the variations in the refrigeration inside the vehicle. “This is how way we keep a track on the drivers and they do not switch off the refrigerators,” says Thakur. Capt. Jatin Sharma, GM, Foods, FMCG and Cold chain division at MJ Logistics said, “I do agree that drivers can do that just to make some quick money but as far as our company is concerned, we have ensured that such wrongdoings do not take place.” He added that his company uses leased transport to send dairy products and processed food to shorter distances, so there’s are not much opportunity for the drivers to do anything like that. Talking about the challenges, Jatin said that power outages at frequent intervals are one of the biggest challenges for the industry. Apart from this, road infrastructure, rising costs of fuel and variations in taxation policy in different states are the areas, where government should intervene. He


spreading out Year

Budget estimates

Revised estimates

2008-09

8.23

2009-10

43.50

2010-11

22.0

21.65

2011-12

110

89.99

82.64

Total Exp

110

111.99

156.02

Rupees in Crore

demanded that government should ensure the supply of electricity to the industry at subsidiesd rates. Arora also echoed similar concerns and said that his company has set up warehouses in almost all 22 states because, roads are in very bad condition in parts of the country and there are huge climatic variations in the country.

TALENT TRAIL Manpower is a big concern for the industry. Neither drivers nor those who are working at the warehouses or in the cold storages are trained to handle technical issues. Harshal Surange of ACR Project Consultants says that there’s a dire need to design courses that can train people for the sector. He says that there is a huge gap in demand and supply in the case of manpower in the industry. He says, “Farmers in India don’t know their potential, because they are not exposed to the export market by the middle men. Now that FDI is here, they too will be able to realise their true potential.” Rakesh Kacker, secretary in the ministry of food processing industries said that it is true that industry is not finding skilled workforce. He also highlighted that government is supporting universities and institutions to start new courses in food technology and for it, the ministry release funds

Actual expenditure

Source- Ministry of food processing *Under the 11th five year plan

to such institutions. The Secretary emphasised that developing cold chains is crucial for long-term development of the food processing industries. “The ministry is working closely with the Department of Agriculture on developing cold chains. Development of sub-zero cold chains will be monitored by the food processing ministry and those above-zero temperature will be looked after by the department of Agriculture,” he added. The government has started the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology at Thanjavur, which has already started functioning, added he. Jatin said that corporate should come forward and actively participate in designing the courses that suit their requirements.

COURSE AHEAD Despite the odds that industry faces, experts believe that there is a bright future waits for the cold chain industry. There’s has been lot of innovations in the technology and with the help of countries like France and the Netherlands, India is making a foothold on the global map. Indian government is also extending its support to the industry. Under its Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure scheme, ministry of food processing industries

is offering Subsidies up to 50 per cent of the total cost of plant and machinery and technical civil works limited to Rs 10 Crore in General Areas; and 75 per cent of project cost limited to Rs 10 Crore for NE region and difficult areas (North East including Sikkim and J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand). ML Arora said, “This is the right time for cold chain business to take off along with retail chain and food processing sectors.” He showed optimism that the industry will grow to have a larger share of 15 per cent by 2020, which at present is somewhere between 2 to 3 per cent. Surange feels that cold chain industry is a sunrise sector and there is a huge potential exists for the sector. He says that it will see exponential growth in the next 5-10 years. Ministry’s focus is also showing optimism in this regard. India is collaborating with countries like Israel, France and the Netherlands to develop cold chain infrastructure in the country and also to give a push to horticulture products. National Horticulture Board is opening many sectors in the country, where advanced varieties of fruits and vegetables seeds will be grown. The poor storage infrastructure is an opportunity for the cold chain industry and people in the business feel that India will see an exponential growth in this area. n

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rural tourism

R

ajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, both for domestic as well as international tourists. The state attracts tourist for its historical forts, palaces, art and culture. Government data show that every third foreign tourist visiting India also travels to Rajasthan as it is part of the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) for tourists visiting the country. Tourism in the state has been one of the major sectors for sustaining livelihoods in the state. Rajasthan is known for its heritage, rich culture,

Exploring the

handicrafts and cuisine, which has been attracting international and domestic tourists every year. Endowed with natural beauty and a great history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan. The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer are among the most preferred destination of many tourists, Indian and foreign. Tourism accounts for eight percent of the state’s domestic product. Many old and neglected palaces and forts have been converted into heritage hotels. Rural tourism is the integral part the state. The historical background of the state along with the vast heritage it carries, the state offers a variety of rural spots for travellers. There are well known destinations in the state

unexplored

Well-known for its rich heritage, culture, handicrafts and cuisine, the state of Rajasthan has several illustrious rural destinations. Heritage tourism has been the strength of the state which keeps it distinctive and matchless among the other states of the country. by Praveen K Singh

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rural tourism

mapped as tourist circuit of the world. With the changing economic scenario in the country and abroad, resulting in increasing investments and expenditure being incurred by households for tourism purpose, it is an opportunity for the state to leverage on it and attract more tourists, thereby resulting in livelihood promotion for the rural masses.

UNCHARTED DESTINATIONS

SOME OF THE TOP HERITAGE HOTELS OF RAJASTHAN • • • • • • • •

Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur Jaiwana Haveli, Udaipur Samode Palace, Samode Ratan Vilas. Jodhpur Emerald Isle - The Heritage Villa, Allepey Rohet Garh, Rohet KTDC Lake Palace, Thekkady

As one takes a tour of the famous rural destinations of the state, there are several unexplored beauties to charm him. For example, the unexplored land of Deeg, a small rural town and the former summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur. A

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rural tourism SOME OF MAJOR RURAL ATTRACTIONS OF RAJASTHAN BHANDAREJ-BAWDI In 1732, Thakur Deep Singh and Daulat Singh built this Baori, which was a popular place for royalty to enjoy private bath. The Baori is three storeyed and having good carving in a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture ABHANERI FESTIVAL Jaipur Zila Vikas Parishad floated the idea and was appreciated by the Government of Rajasthan who also forwarded the proposal for financial assistance and Abhaneri Festival was also declared which is going to be organised between 30-31 December. The Department of Tourism is making all the

Camel Stride: Tourist on a joyride in Rajasthan

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arrangements for which active participation of the Parishad has also been invited by the Government. The Ancient monuments viz. Abhnaeri Step well, Bhandarej Bawri, Harshad Mata Temple, Bhangarh Palace will be popularised among the tourists and the tourists who want to spend more time to study the rural life will be invited to participate in this festival. The main features of the Festival are as under: •Display cum sale counter of rural handicrafts products •Visit of Ancient monuments •Entertainment with folk dances, music •Camel Safari

magnificent example of Jat architecture, the Deeg Palace boasts of highly decorated coloured fountains and soulsoothing pleasure pavilions. Barmer, a small settlement, shimmering with the simple cultural life, gives travellers an experience of splendid wood and stone carvings. If one goes towards Sanganer, 16 km from Jaipur, he gets some finest souvenirs of hand-printed textiles, exported and admired round the world. The major attractions of these rural villages lies in the fact that despite their mediocre way of living, the people of this barren land of Rajasthan, presents some magnificent way of art, in one form or the another. The unequivocal dexterity reflects in every part of their life, be it in the designs women paint in the courtyards with coloured chalk powder

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•Field Safari for Wheat, Mustard crops •Tent facilities (on demand) SHEKHAWATI CIRCUIT Shekhawati ( land of Shekha ) owes its name to Rao Shekha (1433-1488), who was a cousin of the Kachhawahas of Jaipur. He challenged them, declaring independence and Jaipur was able to reassert its might again only in 1738. Shekhawati comprises of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu districts. This land has given business tycoons like Birla, Singhania, Mittal family who are internationally acclaimed. Jat families of this region have made their mark by joining defence forces.

(rangoli) or the filigree that the tall ropy men with robust moustaches, carve out from silver.

HERITAGE HOTELS Rajasthan has emerged as the undisputed destination for heritage hotels. Travellers from across the globe have put their stamp on 18 heritage hotels out of the 25 best properties from India. In a recent survey, conducted by TripAdvisor, a travel portal, out of top 25 heritage properties across the country 18 are from Rajasthan. The TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for heritage hotels are special as they honour hotels which represent India’s rich past and heritage. These properties preserve a part of our history and recreate the magic to be shared with all. According to Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor India, the awards are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions of travellers from India and across the world. Travellers’ from halfway across the world come to enjoy Indian hospitality in these hotels where they can also experience the charm and grandeur of our rich history, he said.


rural tourism The heritage hotels movement in the country-The Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) came into being in 1990 with the aim to sustain this historic legacy and revive the rich cultural traditions of the past. The purpose of the IHHA is to project these properties and earn revenues to help maintain and share their ambience with discerning travellers. Randhir Singh Mandawa, the general secretary of the IHHA, says “art, culture, hospitality and history are the integral parts of heritage properties. GOVERNMENT’S FOCUS Heritage properties offer an unparalleled Development & Promotion of Rural Tourism in the following manner:experience that touches a chord with the travellers (i) PPP by involving Rural Cooperative transporting them to an bodies and Private Sector (Raj Gramya) era gone by.” Rajasthan, (ii) PPP by involving PRI and Private incidentally, is the state sector that has pioneered the (iii) Facilitating private sector to heritage movement in the development of tourism destinations in country, he added. rural set up (e.g. Samod in Rajasthan) (e) Rationalisation of tax structure and STATE’S INITIATIVE license regime in development and Rural tourism in the state operation of Tourism infrastructure. of Rajasthan brings to (f) Promote ‘single window facilitation’ its travellers the famous for projects related to Tourism attractions that make these infrastructure. rural cities favourite of (g) Close monitoring and review (PERT) tourists. The Government and quality evaluation of CSS projects, of Rajasthan has taken sanctioned by MOT. (Presently, it is adequate measures to limited only to collection of utilisation certificate from the state tourism promote these rural departments). corners of the state under the name of village (h) Promote and facilitate entrepreneurship /start ups for taking up tourism tourism. infrastructure projects. These villages have so much to explore that they can truthfully be addressed as the ‘trump cards’ of Rajasthan and a perfect holiday destination for any traveller. The state government also initiated Cooperative Rural Tourism in the name of Rajgramya. Primary societies like PACS/

LAMPS and KVSS have taken up rural cooperative tourism as additional function. They are being provided with share capital and assistance. Rajasthan State Cooperative Hotel Royal tourist village Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation has opened a most modern newly built tented village at Ganahera Road, Pushkar. This tented village is only 4km. away from Pushkar and is easily accessible from Ajmer, Pushkar and Nagaur. Air conditioned super deluxe tents are available there and stay at these tents would remind the guests of the imperial era when the Rajput Kings used to stay in such tents for their pleasure. The luxurious tents have breathtaking view and consists of an outer verandah with deck chair, table and electric lantern, where one can relax sipping morning and evening tea. The bed room has A/c, T.V., two single beds with two bedside tables & night lamps, a writing table, chair, dressing table with mirror. Each tents has an attached bathroom with water closet and over head shower. There is also a large dining hall beautifully decorated and serves Indian Continental, Rajasthani and Chinese cuisine. Royal Tourist Village, Ganahera, Pushkar, is shortly going to include swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, and a Ampi-Theater as the major attractions at the new village. Planning is also under consideration to build a 9-hole golf course for the entertainment of the guests. Hotel provides traveller an experience of Rajasthan with safety and security. Tourism Federation has been constituted. To wrap up, we can state that apart from the well known destinations existing in the state, there are other sites that can attract tourists that are situated at proximity to these major tourist destinations. With the purpose of tourism undergoing change, there is a need for the state to promote lesser known sites that can offer rural, adventure and cultural experience. Rural visits give tourists the opportunity to explore the real side of India and discover hidden sites, delicious food, and learn from experiences craftsmen.

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fair

B FAIR

TRADING Fire dance, folk music and Rajasthani cuisine and what not, Bikaner Festival has so much to offer. There seems to have much take aways for the body corporate as well, reports our correspondent

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ikaner, the city located in sandy ravines and rocky outset, hog the limelight in the month of January every year as it plays hosts to one of the biggest camel trade and cultural extravaganza. Department of Tourism, Rajasthan as it facilitates the 3-day cultural and cuisine intercourse, travelers from across country along with foreigners make best the use of the nearest Jodhpur airport. Also it is near proximity to Delhi (8hrs drive) adds zing to the fest. The fest will be organised during 26th to 28th of January, 2013. On the very first day, a parade of colourful bedecked camels flags off the fair at the Dr Karni Stadium in Bikaner. Notably, for the remaining two days, the festival’s venue will be at the mela ground at the village Ladera, 45 kms from the city. The heroes of the festival are none other than those camels who exhibit rare acrobatics during


fair the festival. The festival includes camel races, camel milking, best breed competition, camel fur cutting and the interesting camel beauty parades. The trained camels are made to show their stunts like strutting, raising themselves high on their rear legs. Furthermore, their rolling on the ground, lifting money and tea kettles with their mouth and offering the same to the guests mesmerise the people around. Bikaner is considered as the best place for riding camels in the world and has one of the largest Camel Research and Breeding farms. Hence, during the festival the camel traders from across the nation meet at Bikaner for its trading as well.

CULTURAL SHOWCASE The three day long camel festival turns into a convergence of the glorious Rajasthani culture and tradition. The venue is surrounded by the huge sand dunes, during the fest; the entire region sings to the tune of the fair and festivities. The artistry of Rajasthan is at its prime when camels walk the ramp with their fancy furs. Its fur is used for making carpets and apparels. The treat of camel milk, which is taken out in the fair in earthen pots while the visitors sip the thick milk which has been very popular because of its salty taste. “There are kinds of camel competitions held during the fair including camel dance, camel fur cutting, camel decoration and camel milking. The winners are given Rs.15,000 – 20,000 which is enough to inspire the competitors”, said Hanuman Mal Arya, Deputy Director, Rajasthan Tourism. “Lonely Planet, which is considered very credible by the foreign tourists, has accorded rank

of third best fairs of the world”, Arya added further. We do not tend Despite the fact, Pushkar’s to commercialise camel fair is considered bigger than the fair as much, Bikaner’s, but many travelers prefer to promoting tourism, visit Bikaner Camel Festival as offers arts and crafts are the a serene and relaxed atmosphere. focal point of the fair. Experts believe that the milk is highly The fairs and festivals nutritious and has been used for diabetic cure. are the biggest tools Moreover, activities such as of promoting tourism gramin kushti (rural wrestling), kabaddi, and attracting sand dune racing kho-kho and travelers to the state women’s musical chair completion keep the onlookers engaged. The Hanuman Mal Arya Deputy Director, Departvisitors often not forget to cheer up ment of Tourism, Rajasthan their respective favorites. Mr. Bikaner and Miss Bikaner competition raises the festive fever among the visitors. The visitors are treated with dance performances by a group of castrated people disguised as women in colourful attires. The performances by the local folks and artisans attract people from across the spectrum which makes the show musical. Once the show kicked off, the dance performances begin. With going down, nights get cooler in the deserts, and stage gets set for cultural programmes. The folk dancers of the state wear Rajasthani traditional and colourful dresses. Around three

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fair dozen music groups from the nook and corner of the state assemble together and perform. It reminds the performances at Chohtan during the Thar festival, celebrated in the month of March in the Barmer district. One of hottest and much awaited programmes for which visitors are excited about has been fire dance by the members of Sidhh community. It is believed that they are supposed to be blessed with exceptional talents by Lord Jasnath. These dancers run and walk on a turf of burning wood. Few of them take burning coal to their mouths and With more and more later spark. The thrills continue as long as fire. footfalls, provide Moreover, there has been an an opportunity abundance of opportunity for to marketers for enriching the taste buds with Rajasthani cuisine, while souvenir shopping, arts selling, promoting and crafts and handicrafts make them and launching their enjoy to the hilt. The tea and sweets products. These fairs served are made with camel milk, adds to the overall flavor of the season.

are needed to promote in appropriate manner by the industry and the government

THE MEDIEVAL BACKGROUND

Located in the northwest of the state of medieval kingdoms of Rajputs, Bikaner is surrounded by huge sand dunes. The city has a rich history from the medieval age. The history of the city dates back to 1486 when Rao Bikaji, the son of then king and founder of Jodhpur, Jodhaji, founded his kingdom at Jangladesh. The place was transformed into an impressive city of Bikaner. He established his kingdom along 84 villages and when he died the kingdom got spread over 3000.

ENCASING COMMERCE Around one lakh of national and international travelers turn out to the Bikaner Camel Festival to enjoy the show of friends from unfriendly terrain. Over the years the large numbers of visitors have as result attracted businessmen throughout the country and they have started participating in the fair. The Department of Tourism does not levy any fee for raising stalls for the promotional activities,

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but it charges Rs.2000 per day for stall of 10 feet x15 feet which is utilised for commercial sells. In the recent year, the stalls of many companies can be seen in the fair. The automobile companies are also showing their interest in the mela. “We do not tend to commercialise the fair as much, promoting tourism, arts and crafts are the focal point of the fair. The fairs and festivals are the biggest tools of promoting tourism and attracting travelers to the state. We incorporate local people in large scale who are involved in arts and crafts and animal husbandry and hire1000 camels for the show which help them financially�, Arya further said. The city is well connected by roads with the National Capital of Delhi, Jaipur, nearby airport in Jodhpur and other parts of northern India as well as train services are available from Delhi, Kanpur and Kolkata. The Palace hotels and Haveli hotels of Bikaner provide a feel of ethnicity to the travelers. During the festival, the state tourism department also makes temporary arrangements for the visitors. However, these fairs have been converged with modern trading and business activities. With more and more footfalls, provide an opportunity to marketers for selling, promoting and launching their products.


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spot light

SEEDING LIVELIHOOD D Women in rural Bihar seem to be self employing themselves as they are on to creating livelihoods in their backyards while the government acts as the facilitator. ‘Jeevika’ model holds promise for its replication across, reports Team R&M

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hanuka Devi, a 35 year old hitherto poor woman from a decrepit village in Muzaffarpur district Bihar now proudly flashes her ATM debit card, symbolises a discerning and paradigm change in socio- economic landscape in our backyard. Her’s and others in her peer group’s freedom from the yoke of poverty and deprivation has been facilitated through a flagship intervention module launched by the Ministry of Rural Development(MoRD) called National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM). Launched in June 2011, aided in part through


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investment support by the World Bank, the Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services. NRLM has set out with an agenda to cover 7 Crore BPL households, across 600 districts, 6000 blocks, 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats and 6 lakh villages in the country through self-managed Self Help Groups (SHGs) and federated institutions and support them for livelihoods collectives in a period of 8-10 years. In addition, the poor would be facilitated to achieve increased access to their rights, entitlements and public services, diversified risk and better social indicators of empowerment. NRLM believes in harnessing the innate capabilities of the poor and complements them with capacities (information, knowledge, skills, tools, finance and collectivisation) to participate in the growing economy of the country.

‘JEEVIKA’ the Bihar Model Spearheaded by the Union Government, the NRLM has assumed a new meaning and dimension in Bihar as the state government has innovatingly subsumed its poverty allieviation initiatives under this and has been able to create change on the ground. The Government of Bihar (GoB), through the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS – locally known as JEEViKA), an organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860) in Patna, is spearheading the World Bank aided Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP) and the 4th Component : Livelihoods Restoration

and Enhancement of Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project (BKFRP). The objective of the project is social and economic empowerment of the rural poor and improving their livelihoods. This is being done by developing institutions of the poor like SHGs and their federations to enable them to access and negotiate better services, credit and assets from public and private sector agencies and institutions. The project is playing a catalytic role in promoting development of micro finance and agribusiness sectors In order to promote sustainable livelihoods of the poor & women, it assumes significant importance that continuous and supportive role is played by different stakeholders like mainstream financial institutions and other market players. The project has played its catalytic role in augmenting Public-Private partnership for different facets of livelihood promotion in the rural areas. The project has incorporated identification of existing innovations in various areas as its key element and has lent a helping hand in developing processes, systems and institutions for scaling up these innovations.

LIVING THE CHANGE The governemnt’s approach has been to bring all the targeted poor household of

Financial Power: Women are being imparted skills to earn their livelihood

Although associated with NRLM, we have created our very own version and model of livelihood initiative in Bihar where it has effected real time change in the lives of millions of poor households. Women are the major stakeholders in our scheme and as a result they have become the leaders of the mission Nitish Mishra

Minister, Rural Development, Bihar

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Creating Wealth: Each livelihoods project basically invests in creating these institutional platforms

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a village under its fold to build vibrant and bankable women SHGs and their federations. Presently the Project is working in 42 blocks of six districts namely Gaya, Nalanda, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Khagaria and Purnia under BRLP, which intends to form around 65000 SHGs and thus impact more than 8.25 lakh households. Similarly 13 blocks in three Kosi flood affected districts Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul are covered under BKFRP, which targets to federate 1.6 Lakh Households into 15000 SHGs. Since scaling up of such a holistic poverty alleviation program to the entire state at one go may dilute the quality, it has been planned that the implementation would be taken up in a phased manner. It has been planned that all 534 blocks of the state would be entered by the year 2014. The priority of districts and blocks are largely guided by three indicators, number of BPL HHs, Number of SC / ST HHs and HDI Index. It has been estimated that 1.25 (+25) crore identified poor HHs would be covered under the framework. However, the target has been that, an investment of a total of Rs. 9200.23

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Crore would result in a poor household accessing cumulative credit of Rs One Lakh over the programme period using which the households(HH) would have retired all high cost debt, have invested in a basket of income generating activities (2 or 3 livelihoods) thereby leading to an incremental income of Rs. 10,000 pm (based on existing experiences), have substantially reduced expenditure on health and become food secured throughout the year and thus come out of poverty in five to eight years time frame

MOBILISING RESOURCES Mobilisation of poor to form their ‘own institutions’ has been the core investment for the project. Strong institutions of the poor such as SHGs and their village level and higher level federations are necessary to provide space, voice and resources for the poor, and, for reducing their dependence on external agencies. They also act as instruments of knowledge and technology dissemination, and hubs of production, collectivisation and commerce. These institutional platforms most importantly ensure sustainability of the interventions taken up under the project. The project has therefore focused on setting up these institutions at various levels i.e. Self Help Groups (SHGs), Village Organisations (VOs) - federations of SHGs and Block Level Federations federations of VOs. Moreover, the project has invested heavily in creating a large pool of ‘social capital’ - institutions of the poor, their members and office bearers, community resource persons (CRPs) , community professionals (community mobilisers (CMs), book keepers (BK) to support poor communities. The basic premise


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20 0

Increased Livestock Access

40

49%

Increased Land Access

60

90%

Improved Food Security

80

Repaid High Cost Debts

Household level Impacts (% Households) 100

34% 29%

of the social capital is that poor need an institutional platform to make markets and services work in the last mile. Each livelihoods project basically invests in creating these institutional platforms and build community capacities to manage them using the support of paid community professionals. This social capital created is also crucial for scaling up and ensuring sustainability. This includes financial literacy and counseling of the poor combined with capitalisation of the institutions of the poor to enable them to strengthen their financial

The key achievements of JEEViKA are as follows: • 8,22,990 poor households have been mobilised into 65,264 Self-Help Groups (SHGs), 4612 Village Organisations (VOs), and 46 Cluster Level Federations (CLFs) • Own funds of 39.40 Crore managed by SHGs leveraging 134.2 Crore from the Commercial Banks • Household level impacts as a result of the use of the above funds • Out of the total 4,612 VOs, 2307 VOs are managing the Food Security Fund Intervention worth 39.42 Crore and 2787 VOs are managing the Health Risk Fund Intervention worth 33.375 Crore. • More than 1,94,000 farmers have adopted modern farming techniques such as System of Rice Intensification, System of Wheat Intensification and Participatory Varietal Selection & Promotion, and increased yields by 2 times. • 270 new Dairy Cooperative Society (DCS) are formed and nearly 13562 dairy farmers are linked to the markets increasing price gain by 30 – 35 per cent on average. • 12,493 young people are trained and placed in jobs through private sector partnerships. management capacity. On the supply side the effort is to closely work with the mainstream financial institutions at all levels to enable mobilisation of the bank credit for the poor. The project has also been working with the commercial banks to help poor meet the credit needs of their families including asset creation; investments in higher education, health and jobs trainings; and improving shelters.

The strategies used include signing of MoU’s with leading public sector banks and sensitising the local branch managers through exposure visits to places where bank linkage has been successfully scaled up. In addition community institutions set up help desks manned by locally trained educated women to function as Client Relationship Managers (Bank Mitras) to help poor clients in opening of savings accounts, facilitating banking transactions, updating of passbooks, supporting loan documentation, providing product information and financial counseling.

INTERVENING VILLAGES The project has piloted the concept of a village Women Outreach Worker (Wow) in combination with mobile vans. A WoW is appointed for 2 -3 villages and trained especially in Reproductive Child Health by a technical partner – Janani. These Financial literacy: Counseling and finacial literacy is the need of the hour for all these villagers to grow

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In addition they also mobilise SHG households for health check-ups offered through the mobile vans once a fortnight. The mobile vans have a doctor and offer testing facilities for HIV rapid test, Kala Azar, TB and Diabetes

WoWs facilitate the access of SHG members to professional health services at the block and district level. They also provide basic services such as testing the blood pressure, diabetic levels, and pregnancy to the households at their doorstep at reasonable rates. In addition they also mobilise SHG households for health check-ups offered through the mobile vans once a fortnight. The mobile vans have a doctor and offer testing facilities for HIV rapid test, Kala Azar, TB and Diabetes. As yet another intervention, the project has piloted a Food Security program, a community managed credit and food distribution mechanism. As part of this the VO assesses the food gap at the household level for each of its members, aggregates the food requirement, procures it in bulk from nearby markets and distributes it to the households as in kind credit. The households repay the amount in easy installment over the next 3 to 6 months and such cycles are repeated as per the need. In some places, the VOs have taken over the management of the Public Distribution System thereby ensuring that the households

pensions, government sponsored insurance programs (life and health ). As part of this the VO’s identify households that are entitled to benefit from specific government programs but are currently not able to obtain them and take up their case with the relevant line departments.

ASSISTING FARM A large proportion (around 70%) of poor families in Bihar is small and marginal farmers. For these families; with average landholding of less than 50 decimals - usually with no irrigation; the options in agriculture are limited to production of Paddy, Wheat or pulses for subsistence. Productivity is low with food security of 3 to 5 months from own lands. Basing on the above facts and figures, the Project has identified and successfully piloted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Paddy and subsequently replicated the principles in wheat to enhance food security through higher productivity. In addition the project has been working on integrating the poor into agri value chain by collective procurement of inputs through the village organisation and by organising them into producer companies that take up seed production, processing and distribution to ensure good quality seeds. A cross cutting feature of all the agriculture interventions is the community managed extension system that ensures extension inputs to small and marginal farmers at their doorstep.

SUMMING UP Enhancing food security: Projects have been identified and successfully piloted for better yield

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get monthly supply of the food entitlements which until then was happening once only in 4 to 5 months. The community based institutions especially the village origination systematically work towards enabling access to entitlements like PDS [Public Distribution System],

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Creating one job per poor household, in formal sectors, brings the whole family out of poverty in a short period of time as it brings in stable and higher levels of income. Therefore the project has established partnerships with private and public sector agencies like AeA, G4S, Vardhman Yarns and CIDC to identify, train and place unemployed youth from SHG households in formal sector jobs.


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RURAL p a s rad b o J

ise

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The writer has stressed on the vocationalisation of education that in effect will create a mass of employable rural youth. Meanwhile, India’s hinterlands are abuzz with numerous economic opportunities, make the case of ‘skilling’ more relevant. by CK Sabharwal

T

he continued commitment of the government to seriously address the need for employment generation in rural India is a big opportunity for all stakeholders to implement strategies, to give an impetus to providing platforms to rural youth, to find jobs and become self employed. There is general lack of accurate information and data about the types and numbers of the approximate 750 million people engaged in rural sector. The existing labor force is understood to increase by 7 million per year relating to total of 400 million men and women employed; of these 55per cent are engaged in agricultural sector; 13 per cent in manufacturing while 32 per

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cent in the services sector. Only 6-8 per cent of India’s work force may have had formal training for vocational skills. In developed countries 60-80 per cent of the work force has received formal instruction. The Task force on Employment Opportunities maps 4200 Vocational Training Institutes including ITI’s. The rate of employment is relatively stable over time. The key issue today is not mere shortage of jobs but availability of employable skills to create self employment and job opportunities for agriculture, industry, services, administration and infrastructure.

THRIVING HINTERLAND During the last three decades, from the seventies, visible and far reaching changes are evident in

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Rural Mandis, markets, towns and villages, and these have opened up exciting opportunities for rural youth to seek employment. Most of the 643000 villages are electrified, are connected by road, have a nearby post office, village level shops, and growing infrastructure. Banks have opened Rural Branches, Cyber cafes and Photo copying outlets are mushrooming. Shops stocking engineering spares, lubricants, agro inputs, farm machinery, building materials, sanitation items, beverages and provisions, textiles and readymade apparels, shoes and toys, cell phones, Durables’ such as TV and washing machines, cookers and refrigerators, stationary and books, – are visible in most small towns interspersed with two wheelers, motor vehicles, tractor agencies,


column and petrol outlets and all these employ local people. Cable TV provides entertainment. Local and regional newspapers and magazines, cinema, video and music shops provide growing media exposure to the local rural population almost everywhere in the country, and are managed by self employed households. The grain markets flourish in the middle and constitute a major catalyst for business activity in rural villages and towns. Nursing homes and health clinics are recent employers. Traders, government employees, agricultural workers, sales people, teachers, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, dairy owners, government and bank employees, insurance agents, form a colorful tapestry of a humming mixture of skilled people trying to make a living for themselves in the hinterland. Hotels and Dhabas’ do good business. Cottage, small and medium Industries are splattered about. The Rural space in the pyramid for employment potential is becoming live with opportunity, while earlier urban migration was a major concern. Multilayered programs for providing vocational training and skill building have been launched by Government, NGO’s, and Institutions. Continuous policy initiatives are being taken to make rural schemes effective, such as MNREGA that benefits millions of poor families. There are 190 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RESTI) who along with 35 PSU Banks have trained 1.5 lakh people, providing free accommodation and food to selected rural youth on a need basis. Rural Shores, a private company, specialises in employing rural youth in Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) have been set up in many States. In Ranikhet, near Majhkali village in Uttrakhand, Rural BPO comprising mostly of women, provides information and data outsourcing for Insurance Companies. Selected women are given relevant computer training. In the Hills, in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand , and JandK, the youth are getting employed in hospitality ,travel, tourism and infrastructure industries. JandK Government subsidises

Industry in Industrial Growth Centers in Samba, Udhampur, Kathua, Baribramhna, and Vijaynagar. Units located here, have to employ 90 per cent of local population. But there is a mismatch between education and job profiles and skills demanded by Industries. This throws up a huge opportunity for Public and Private partnerships (PPP), to impart relevant training to local rural population after mapping the skill requirement on a regionwide basis. National Commission on Farmers, among others, can Rising rural income arrange employment surveys and will lead to a provide information.

MAPPING POTENTIAL

multiplier effect in increasing demand for farm and non farm products and services, thereby, stimulating employment

There is no doubt that increasing agricultural productivity through modern crop management practices will increase farm incomes, and this will lead to more employment opportunity. Rising rural income will lead to a multiplier effect in increasing demand for farm and non farm products and services, thereby, stimulating employment. Agrochemical, Seeds, and Fertilizer Companies offer seasonal employment to thousands of high school and Agricultural undergraduate students. Agri business is a great way forward in employing rural youth, as is Retail support infrastructure, including cold storages, transportation, logistics, contract

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column farming, and extension services. Policy measures must aid extension services and information center initiatives like ITC e-Chaupal. Giving impetus to SHG’s to impart advanced technology, publicity inputs, bank credit processing, marketing and crop insurance measures to strengthen farm credit and insurance programmes including linkages between crop loans and insurance, are all part of financial inclusion. Initiatives by Banks to issue Kissan Cards, undertake micro-financing to the mobile trader, are great ways to make last mile connectivity to business and employment generation. The earlier Green revolution was a result of hybrid seeds for wheat and paddy; today, Hybrid seeds, safe and highly effective crop protection chemicals, bio products, nutrients, GM crops, soil conservation technology, organic farming, post harvest solutions, and agricultural bio A hospital near Attari, technology, will surely combine to usher in Punjab, offers health in another green revolution to meet the Security needs of the Country. These tourism experience. Food activities will generate huge employment Mechanics can be potential for skilled and relevant rural employed by Auto youth. More than that, they will need workshops; College cohesive Management practices, from the policy makers and execution partners. students can join sales Clearly the education sector, B-schools, jobs after training training Institutes, NGO’s and SHG’s, must behold a blooming opportunity, to develop employability skills in rural people for employment in different sectors. This is the real challenge, both of governance and management.

THE ROAD AHEAD The way forward is to structure Rural Value Chains, in States, that have at their core, adoption and spread of technology, skill building, employment generation, and linkage between agriculture and industry. The agricultural horizon is changing. Round the corner are energy plantations to fuel bio mass power plants; bio diesel from Jathropa; ethanol from sugarcane and sugar beet; edible oil from Paradise tree. A

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hospital near Attari, in Punjab, offers health tourism experience. Mechanics can be employed by Auto workshops; College students can join sales jobs after training; women can become housekeepers in hotels and residences; they can join banks and insurance outlets; electricians can open repair shops; plumbers can get training in pipe technology and find acceptance in petroleum, chemical and Pharma installations. The scope is vast. Shakti Ammas’ from Hindustan Unilever are the proven example, of how women can be empowered to educate, earn from brand sales and spread information and awareness about products and services to nearby villages. IT Companies can and are generating employment through e- commerce spread and practice. Software maintenance will continue to be a job puller. BPO and KPO employing rural men and women offer good cost benefit to Banks, Insurance, Health Care, Hospitality sector, and export sectors.

PREEMPTING FUTURE India will have a population touching 1.5 billion, by the time our present day youth becomes older. There is a need to seriously anticipate changes that will happen in our society and to rural socio- economic demographics by 2025 -50; and then to address and put in place strategies, that will generate balanced employment in Rural India, through linkages, and appropriate skill building employability schemes and plans, with participation by all stake holders. The focus should be on efficient management of the opportunity for employment generation. Demographic Dividend from the bottom of the Pyramid, in the words of C.K.Prahalad, will then become a reality. I can see around me, as I burn the miles on rural roads, that change in the aspirations of rural youth, especially women, is startling. They are willing and eager to learn to earn more, work harder and apply themselves with new technology, while grappling with English communication and life style pressures. They represent a great opportunity to become partners in the India Growth Story; we all need to extend our hands and fill our shopping bags with employable potential! (The writer is a senior professor of rural marketing)


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ssocham, India’s leading industry chamber organised a day-long conference on ‘food processing, agribusiness and cold chain’ in New Delhi on November 5, 2012 to explore opportunities and challenges in the sector. More than 250 delegates from India and abroad participated in the summit. The theme of the event was deemed as important because food processing industry in India is growing at a staggering 20 per cent per annum. Also according to participating delegates the sector hold greater promise. Moreover, as India is the second largest producer of the fruits and third largest producer

of vegetables in the world , millions tonnes of the produce gets wasted and rotten in the absence of an effective mechanism that can store them for longer shelf life. The conference started with a focus on the opportunities and government’s initiatives to help the industry. In his address, Rakesh Kacker, secretary in the ministry of food processing industries said that FDI in retail has further strengthened the cold chain scheme. Elaborating on government’s schemes in the sector, he said, “the government has taken several initiatives to make the processing industry better. We have divested some of the schemes with the state governments, so that the procedures for getting

Processing

Future

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Stressing on value addition, experts and industry leaders in the agri-based segment agreed on strengthening cold chain and agri-produce waste management. Assocham organised a daylong conference to delve deeper in to the issues.


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approvals become easier.” Adding further, Kacker said that the new arrangements will be beneficial to all. He also highlighted that government is supporting universities and institutions to start new courses in food technology and for it, the ministry releases funds to such institutions. “The union government has founded the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology at Thanjavur, which has already started its business of late, he added.” That apart, the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management has been conferred deemed university status, Kacker said. The Secretary emphasised that developing cold chains is crucial for long-term development of the food processing industries. “The ministry is working closely with the Department of Agriculture on developing cold chains. Development of sub-zero cold chains will be monitored by the food processing ministry and those above-zero temperature will be looked after by Ministry of Agriculture,” he added. Agriculture Ministry’s Joint Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said that building cold chains and integrated supply chains would be very critical and it would be important to arrive at a consensus by taking opinions from all the stakeholders. “Economic entrepreneurs will have to play an important role in the development of cold chains,” he added. Among the other dignitaries at the inaugural session, Harshal Surange, associate consultant, ACR Project Consultants Pvt. Ltd, and Gerald Cavalier, CEO, Cemafroid, a French company that provides independent expertise on cold chain attended the session. The theme of the talk was ‘Development of cold chains in India.’ The speakers identified challenges faced by cold chain developers in India. Some of the key challenges that were highlighted by the speakers were, poor road infrastructure in most parts of the country; high rate of land; excessive use of pesticides; high initial project cost, and lack of trained manpower in the sector. Other roadblocks include the lack of availability of trained personnel for plant operation; lack of awareness about maintenance, hygiene and safety of food; and an agricultural supply chain that has been far from desirable,

The Policy Push According to the ministry of food processing industries, foreign direct investment (FDI) in India’s food sector is poised to hit the US$ 3-billion mark in coming years. FDI approvals in food processing have doubled in last one year alone. The cumulative FDI inflow in food processing reached US$ 2,804 million in March ‘06. In ‘05-06, the sector received approvals worth US$ 41 million. This figure is almost double the US$ 22 million approved in 2004-05. Food Parks As per the data provided by the ministry, the government has released a total assistance of US$ 23 million to implement the Food Parks Scheme. It has so far approved 50 food parks for assistance across the country. The Centre also plans US$ 22 billion subsidy for mega food processing parks in India. The national policy on food processing aims at increasing the level of food processing to 25 per cent by 2025. And to achieve that the government has allowed100 per cent FDI in processing sector. compared to developed countries. Also wastages are high, and profits are low. Chopra said, “India is developing its own cold chains. We are coming up with many ideas and trying to bring about awareness on setting up cold chains.” Virendra Thakur, GM of Global Agri System said, “Changing food habits in India added space for value addition and huge potential exists in the country as we process less than 2 per cent of food and vegetables produced here.” He also said that cold chain in India is highly underdeveloped and there is a huge scope to do business in that area. Echoing the concerns of the industry, Anil Jauhri, director in Quality council of India said that government and industry should be open for voluntary private standards as they would make the process easy and smooth. However, he stressed that there should not be any compromise with the quality. He cautioned the industry that they should choose their certification agency after thorough research. While summing up, Dr Om S Tyagi of Assocham said that the future for the agr-industries seems brighter but the people inside the industry should participate in the process and bring about the changes they desire. n

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Dr. V. Mukunda Das, Director of CIMP addressing the gathering

Praveen K Singh, Editor of R&M, inaugurating the event. (On right) Delivering his inaugural speech

Unleashing

the rural market

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Potential

o explore the growing potential of rural market in the country, Chandragupt Institute of Management Patna organised an international conference on ‘rural marketing to unleash the market potential’ in its campus on November 10 and 11, 2012. Named as ‘Brand-e-Gram’, the 2-day conference on marketing to rural India, deliberated on the capabilities of the rural market, where most of corporate houses

Interactive session during the event

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Students participating in various competitions

are trying to penetrate and harness its hidden prospects. Inaugurating the event, Praveen K Singh, Editor of R&M, spoke about the ‘unique’ opportunities that rural markets offer; unlike the urban markets which are highly competitive and are on the verge of saturation. Rural markets are ready to dominate the Indian marketing scene and they need special attention for the expansion of marketing activities. “Rural India is developing very fast and corporate and industry are keeping a close tab on the developing of infrastructure in Rural India. It’s time for the budding managers worldwide to explore the opportunities this market beholds,” he said. Evaluating upon the nominal research

on consumer behaviour and unavailability of adequate systematised information about the rural consumers in our country, he said that some of the major hurdles in the path of tapping the untapped potential of rural India are the low literacy rate, seasonal demand, transportation challenges and distribution network in the rural areas. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. V. Mukunda Das, CIMP Director said that the growth of rural market of Bihar is a matter of special interest for marketing researchers all over the world. “Bihar is getting lots of visibility in the context of new models. Bihar, with around 85 per cent of the population in rural areas, is showing a paradigm shift in rural consumption. The increased accessibility to rural areas

Winners receiving awards

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Students participating in cultural activities

though the use of technology and improved infrastructure has made it convenient for marketers to reach out to hitherto unexplored areas,” he said. Corporates who are slowly getting into rural Bihar are gaining through this increased sale, which is faster than many other Indian states.” He added, “Rural Marketing is here to stay for a long time. Impact can be made on rural people through research and by facilitating technological support. Students have been motivated to take up research in this area. Micro Agro technology would work wonders for rural India.” Dr. Das, who claims to be the first one to design a course on Marketing to Rural India in the early eighties, said that rural India is still inadequately explored; although some corporates have, of late, realised its potential and propensity for consumption. The 2-day event witnessed a participation of over 150 students in various competitions including presentation, advertising, poster making, etc. Participants were from various institutions including TISS, NIAM, XIMB, etc.

Varied competitions Presentations by participants also highlighted the unexplored

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potential of rural markets. Andrei Singh of Symbiosis Institute of Geoinformatics presented that Geoinformatics Information System (GIS) would efficiently assist in identification of new customers, optimise media campaigns, cutting costs, finding new retail distribution centers, aligning sales territories to utilise the sales force efficiently and monitoring business trends and performance spatially. Conventional database management software can only answer statistical questions like how many potential customers are out there and which territory has the highest growth. GIS applications, in contrast can relate all this information geographically. It also allows the user to spatially visualise data thus revealing hidden relationships, patterns and trends. Abhishek Kumar Jha of IMI Kolkata spoke about how ITC, a large multi business conglomerate in India, has taken the initiative to

link directly with rural farmers via the Internet for procurement of agricultural and aquaculture products like soybeans, wheat, coffee, and prawns through e-Choupal that was conceived to tackle the challenges posed by the unique features of Indian agriculture, characterised by fragmented farms, weak infrastructure and the involvement of numerous intermediaries. Shreya, Kundan Singh, Aiman Riyaz and others highlighted the objectives and problems of rural marketing. They underlined that India is one of the most challenging rural markets in the world with 638,667 numbers of villages, 612 districts, and 28 states. Citing various examples, the participants discussed that there has been a tremendous increase in the investments and the strategies surrounding the rural markets and no consumer goods marketer can afford to ignore this vast, vivacious and bubbling consumer segment. Citing market research data, they informed that rural India market buys 45 per cent of all soft drinks and consumes about 50 per cent of motorcycles, TVs, cigarettes, washing soap, fans, blades, and other consumer goods. While unanimously agreeing that delivering to the rural markets is a real challenge due to the wide diversity in the whole dynamics of these markets, the participants prescribed the panacea that a different product marketing mix containing the 4A’s (Acceptability, Affordability, Availability, Awareness) alongwith the traditional 4P’s of marketing. n


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F

airs & estivals

On the backdrop of Indian religious and cultural heritage, various fair & festivals are celebrated at every nook and corner of the country. Following mass gathering, R&M finds the sites of business opportunities for the marketers.

Baneshwar Fair

February 2013

The Baneshwar Fair is organised at Baneshwar, 123 kms from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The fair, in its present form is actually a synthesis of two fairs, one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev while the other which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils. Most of the visitors come from Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara districts of the state. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

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Khajuraho Dance Festival February, 2013

The weeklong Khajuraho Dance Festival features the finest young talents of Indian classical dance and presents a rare opportunity to see the maestros and grand dames of Indian dance perform. The exquisite 1000 year-old temples of Khajuraho serve as the idyllic backdrop to an art genre with an equally impressive pedigree. Contacts: Madhya Pradesh Tourism Tel: 0755-4027100 E-mail: info@mptourism.com Website: www.mptourism.com

Chandigarh Garden Festival February 2013

The Chandigarh Garden Festival is a three day extravaganza of full of excitement and joy. The festival is witnessed by large number of people. The festival is also known as the Rose Festival of Chandigarh. The exhilarating carnival also presents mind blowing dance and music performances by the celebrity stars and folk artists at Leisure valley. Many activities and competitions are also organised for visitors of all genres. The festival includes exhibitions by local artists, different contests like flower arrangement, flower cutting contests for guests. The special events are planned for kids coming to attend the festival like spot painting competition or the Rose Prince and Rose Princess competitions. Contacts: Tourist Officer, Chandigarh Tourism Phone: +91 172 2740420 dtour@chd.nic.in www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in


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Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2013

Konark Dance Festivals February 2013

Konark Dance Festival started in the year 1986 at Konark Natya Mandap. In a sense it can be called the harbinger of the contemporary festivals of Orissa. The sole aim behind this festival is to bring in many artistes into its cultural family and creating of international cultural amity and brotherhood. This festival has established its own unique identity in the sense that eminent artistes of national

and international repute participate and perform Odissi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and other classical, folk and tribal dances and music of our country on the enchanting stage of the Natyashala in the monumental Sun Temple. Contacts: Orissa Tourism Tel: 09313503090, 011-23364580 Website: www.orissatourism.gov.in

Pariyanampetta Pooram February 2013

Pariyanampetta Pooram is a seven day fest held at Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple, Kattukulam in Palakkad district of Kerala. The Pariyanampetta temple is dedicated to goddess Bhagavathy, the goddess of 14 Desams. The image of goddess is drawn on floor and songs are sung along with it; this ritualistic drawing is called Kalamezhuthu Pattu and is performed on all the seven days of the festival. The ancient folk art of shadow puppetry called Tholpavakoothu, is performed at night on all festival days. Contacts: Kerala Tourism Tel : 0 471-2321132 Email: info@keralatourism.org Website: www.keralatourism.org

March, 2013

The Jaisalmer Dance Festival, a three day extravaganza of dance, music, handicraft fairs and interesting competitions like Mr. Desert, turban tying contest, best moustache are the major attractions of the festival. The festival is organized by the Tourism Department of Rajasthan and the department has allocated a budget of Rs. 18 Lakhs for the fair. It is a convergence of all Rajasthani cultural activities. Besides the food, music and the cultural performances, there are camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war. All of it is held against the backdrop of the Jaisalmer fort. Fireworks display at night light up the area, and the fort is illuminated too. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

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Natyanjali Festival March 2013

Sheetala Ashtmi March 2013

The Sheetala Ashtami Festival is held at a small hamlet Chaksu, Jaipur and Kaga and Jodhpur with great passion and zeal. The fair is celebrated after seven days of Holi. The local markets transform into the hub to display and trade a lot of items like indigenous shoes, food items, agricultural implements and cattle during the fair at the Sheetala Ashtami. Musical events are organised in which the participants display their talent. There are also a lot of rituals and religious activities are performed during the play. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

Kaila Devi Fair

March 2013

The annual fair of Kaila Devi is held at the village Kaila, 24 kms from Karauli in Rajasthan in the month of Chaitra, lasting for a fortnight. Approximately 2 lakhs of devotees gather during the fair. The spacious courtyard becomes the venue for dances and songs sung in praise of the guardian deity. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

Rural & Marketing

jali festival is jointly organised by The Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and The Natyanjali Trust, Chidambaram. It is designed to promote a universal message of ‘Unity in Diversity’ conveyed in the universal language of music and dance. Contacts: TTDC Tel: 044 -25383333, 25389857 Email: ttdc@vsnl.com Website: www.ttdconline.com

Gangaur Festival

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The ancient Nataraja temple of Chidambaram pays special tribute to Lord Nataraja. The temple has carved pillars depicting Lord Nataraja in 108 poses of Bharathanatyam classical. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to Lord Shiva is celebrated every year for five days in the temple premise. It begins on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri. During this time leading dancers from all parts of India congregate and dance in the temple as an offering to Nataraja. Natyan-

December 2012

Gangaur is one of the most popular and colourful and important festival for people of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great enthusiasm and devotion by womenfolk. This festival is specifically meant for women folks. The unmarried women worship Gauri for blessing them with good husband, while married women do so for the welfare, health and longevity of their husbands and cheerful married life. The ladies beautify their hands and feet by temporary decoration by drawing designs with Mehendi. A grand procession of beautifully ornamented elephants, camels, horses and dancing people with joyous children and drummers carries the idol of Gauri. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in


event Thirunakkara Arattu Utsavam March 2013

One of the famous temple festivals of Kerala, Thirunakkara Arattu is celebrated at Thirunakkara Mahaeva Temple located in the Kottayam district. The passionate celebration continues for ten days and concludes with the bathing ceremony of lord Mahadeva called ‘Arattu’. A string of nine majestically ornamented and decorated elephants accompany the idol of the Lord Mahadeva. They are accompanied by drummers and dancing flock of people. Contacts: Kerala Tourism Tel: 0 471-2321132 Email: info@keralatourism.org Website: www.keralatourism.org

Arattupuzha Pooram

March 2013

Out of several festivals celebrated with elephants, the one which is widely participated by Indians and foreign tourists is the Elephant Festival celebrated in Jaipur on the day of Holi in Phalgun. This is an annual event held at Jaipur Chagan Stadium where people gather in large crowd to celebrate the occasion with much pump and gaiety. The elephants stride majestic-experience for everybody by parading their decorated trunks and tusks. Contacts: RTDC Info Centre Tel: +91 145 2627426/1364 Website: www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

Moatsu Festival

March 2013

This festival is the oldest and most extravagant of all the poorams celebrated in Kerala. The festival is celebrated at the famous Arattupuzha temple in Thrissur district of Kerala. The celebration takes place before the 3,000 year old Sree Sastha Temple. The festival is celebrated for seven days. All the buildings of the town were beautifully illuminated by strings of colourful bulbs.

Elephant Festival

Arattupuzha pooram is the largest devamela in the world. A group of elephants and musicians performing in front of the temple is a common sight during the whole festival. Many palmists, small vendors and others are also there. Contacts: Kerala Tourism Tel: 0 471-2321132 Email: info@keralatourism.org Website: www.keralatourism.org

Chapchar Kut March 2013

In local Mizo parlance, kut means festival is connected with agricultural activities. The festival is celebrated with feasts and dances. Chapchar Kut celebrates on the arrival of spring. The festival begins with the inauguration ceremony followed by the time when the dance groups arrange themselves in the stadium. The elderly members of the society come, dressed in their traditional costumes, representing the individual tribes of the region and take part in a procession. This is followed by the various tribal dances, the most important being the Cheraw or the bamboo dance. Contacts: Mizoram Tourism Tel: +91 389 23334474/75 Email: mizoram.tourism@gmail.com Website: www.mizotourism.nic.in

May 2013

One of the tribal communities of Nagaland, Ao tribe celebrates Moatsu Festival, various rituals are performed during this period. Moatsu Mong is observed after the sowing is done. It gives an opportunity for recreation and entertainment to flex the muscles after the long stressful work of harvesting, ploughing and sowing seeds. The ritual called Sangpangtu in which camp fire is lit and the well-dressed folks sit around it. Contacts: Nagaland Tourism Tel: +91-370-2243124 Email: info@tourismnagaland.com Website: www.tourismnagaland.com

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photo feature

In the Chambal ravines

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Divine chants: Evening aarti at the Yamuna ghat at Bateshwar near Chambal valley


photo feature About Ram Pratap Singh

T

he beautiful ravines of Chambal is the only crocodile sanctuary in India that gives a rare opportunity to see them from close quarters. Apart from crocodiles, one can spot gangetic dolphins, Marsh Crocs and over 300 species of birds. A nature lover’s paradise, the sanctuary is home to the largest number of Gharials in the country. Large number of birds and other wild animals can also be seen in the sanctuary. Just 10 kms away is Lord Shiva’s place in Bateswar, where one can get peace in its serene surroundings.

R P Singh is an IIT graduate, an environment enthusiast and an avid traveller. He formed Chambal Conservation Foundation in 1999. He is a passionate photographer, and has clicked some of the most beautiful photographs of rich heritage of Agra region and of rich wildlife of Chambal.

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spin out

Personalities you adore

Dr.Abdul Kalam - he understands the potential of rural, and ideates around sharing benefits between urban and rural; Mother Teresa - a real doer when the doing is tough; Sudha Murthy - her yearning for learning through real-time travels, to see for herself the needs of rural India.

Your stress busters

I enjoy singing ghazals, and also sing with the choir. It helps intense and deep thoughts find feeling.

Your first experience in a village One late winter evening, it was dark in the barely-lit village of Gardoli, northern Karnataka. A five-year-old boy held a torchlight to the kutcha roads as we walked to the nearby government school. He was very focused on doing that; I was so moved. He will always be my ‘little torchbearer’.

As a CEO of an NGO, role of such organisations in villages? We are committed to address the core development challenges of education, skills, and livelihoods in rural India. The role of NGOs is to build a trust quotient with communities by truly understanding what they want - as opposed to what we think will work.

Can ‘market’ play a role in villages of India? Indeed, it can. Market is not just about commercial interest; it’s about giving people a real chance to reap value from their knowledge, skills, and products.

Your mantra for a woman as a leader Always rely on your strength, your resilience; it’s deep in your DNA. This rare combination of tenderness and tenacity signals leadership to all around.

Cheryl Rebello

CEO, CherYsh Foundation

Could India’s villages be self reliant in the context of activities like yours? In another 3-5 years change will take strong root, technology will help us leverage the immense potential that exists. In the areas of education, skills, and livelihoods, there will be a significant measure of self-reliance in the next 5-7 years.

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