After over 5 decades of Independence and Industrialization in our country, still large part of population remains under poverty line. Agriculture continues to be the back bon of rural society.As per this study, 70 per cent of holdings are held by small and marginal farmers resulting in over crowding on the agricultural land and diminishing farm produce. This also results in migration of farm worker in large numbers to the urban areas. In both the cases the population remains under poverty line.
Agricultural work force has a share of 70 per cent in the total work force of the country. Cultivators who own farmland come to about 68 per cent of this work force while agricultural labor accounts for the remaining 32 per cent. These cultivators are increasing in number over the years but the large increase was among the agricultural labor which went up from 20 per cent of the rural work force to 32 per cent. One also needs to keep in mind that there is a continuous growth of population.Thus, the policy for rural development has to tackle, the problems by providing other occupation options to the rural youths.
What could be a better option than entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship could take off the excess of labor from the farms that causes disguised employment. Disguised Employment means that there might be groups of people working on the farmland and calling themselves employed. However, when these people are taken off that farm and employed elsewhere, the production of the farm does not go down. Hence, such people though employed do not add to the production of the farm.We have also seen in recent past that despite enough food stocks with government warehouses, people are dying of starvation. This indicates problem with the public distribution system. The question is, do we have to depend on government public distribution system? The response is, people taking up entrepreneurship themselves in the form of Trading and Cooperatives.
The basic entrepreneurial principles should be applied to rural development. This would result in:
a] Better distribution of farm produce resulting in the rural prosperity.
b] Entrepreneurial occupation rural for youth resulting in reduction of disguised employment and alternative occupations for rural youth.
c] Formations of big cooperatives like Amul for optimum utilization of farm produce.
d] Optimum utilization of local resource in entrepreneurial venture by rural youth
THE SUPPORT SYSTEM:
However, there has not been enough development in this area. One of the reasons can be that management modes used were largely governmental. Those who were charged with the responsibility of rural development were either bureaucrats or technocrats, who were using only the schemes as the motivation for developing entrepreneurs, without providing the necessary training for running an enterprise. Wherever we see on oasis of development in the desert of rural underdevelopment, we can trace an imaginative entrepreneur, who has used the correct mode of management of rural entrepreneurial venture to the best.
For example, the case of dairy development in the State of Gujarat. This model is popularly known as “Amul Model”. The Gujarat experiment was started more than 30 years ago. Starting from a small complex of eight societies which originally collected only a few hundred litres of milk it has grown into a huge complex collecting nearly seven lakh litres of milk per day from 240,000 members organized into 840 village societies. Today 90 per cent of the processed butter and cheese market of the organized sector in the country is controlled by Amul. This has helped small farmers. Behind the success of this co-operative venture is that dynamic entrepreneur and leader, Dr. Kurien whose target of opportunity seeking is not financial but social gain, not for himself, not for the enterprise or agency he works for, but for the people he serves.
The model for frozen peas market developed by MAFCO in Maharashtra is another success story. This venture was started eight years ago. During the first year only 10 tonnes of peas were sold, which went up to 42 tonnes in the second year, 120 tonnes in the third year and 140 tonnes next year and so on. Behind this success story is also that the entrepreneur who could foresee and implement his plans of marketing. The opportunities in this area are quite big. For example, the market for vegetables in West Asia is approximately Rs. 36 lakhs per day, to be transported by air daily. What is lacking is managerial talent, which could exploit these opportunities by organizing small farmers of this country.
Despite impetus provided by government there has not been much development in the rural area. One of the major reasons why not much headway has been made in this area during the last 50 years is the lack of committed government officials implementing these projects. However, before a profile of these rural Entrepreneurs is carved, it is necessary to review the existing rural scene and the agencies involved in the rural development. Such a review would help us in understanding the problems of rural India in a better way. This would also help us in drawing the profile of the Entrepreneurs for rural development.The term Entrepreneur for rural development is being utilized instead of Entrepreneurs for rural industries.
The major problem with these entrepreneurs is that they look at the community only as a market. For example, a tractor manufacturing and marketing company looks at the rural India as a big market for his tractors/without thinking of its innovative usage in urban and semi-urban areas, like tractor being utilized for town planning and Municipal Corporation’s jobs.The industries in rural areas should be set up not just to take advantage of the cheap labour but also to bring about an integrated rural development. Similarly, rural entrepreneurs should not only look at rural areas as their markets, they should also see the challenges existing in the urban markets. They may not be setting up only an industry they might be bringing about a revolution with their innovative ideas. They may not set up manufacturing units, they may set up a seed raising farm or carry out the trading for the benefit of millions. Based on our understanding of the need of rural industrial ventures, let us try to draw the profile of rural entrepreneurs.
PROFILE OF A RURAL ENTREPRENEUR:
a] He should not be an individualist. He should have a group orientation. He should consider the rural society not as his market but as his own large family.
b] He should practice a management style where the concern for people is the highest.
c] He should have a strong commitment for rural development.
d] He won’t be interested in usual perks and entertainment allowance. Social gain will be his perk and the smiles on the faces of impoverished rural population his only allowance.
NEED FOR SOWING THE DREAM IN THE MINDS OF RURAL YOUTH:
“Youths in the rural areas have little options”, this is what they are given to believe. This is the reason that many of them either work at farm or migrate to urban land. The need is to plant other options in the minds of rural youth. Entrepreneurship could be the best option. If planted and nurtured in the minds of rural women and youth, it could result in revolutionizing the Indian economy.It should be emphasized that the projects undertaken by these entrepreneurs should not be constrained by its location in rural area. It should enjoy all the advantages of the location. Following are the advantages of rural industrial projects:
A] Tax holidays and other tax advantages given to rural projects.
B] Abundance of cheap labor.
C] Advantage of local and regional resources in case the unit uses them as a raw material.
D] Prestige and respect among the local community
E] Live example for local youth for taking up entrepreneurial project
F] Support and motivation from local people
G] Competitive advantage over the big business due to the proximity to the raw material and labor.
H] Employment generation for local people.
TRAINING FOR RURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
The training for development of rural entrepreneurship has to be different from the entrepreneurship development training in urban areas. This is the reason that government initiated the integrated rural development programs.In Integrated rural development programs, apart from providing the training to potential rural entrepreneur, an “industrial area potential survey” is undertaken to estimate the kind of industries that could be set up in that particular rural region.Industrial area potential survey has all the details about the cost of the project, availability of technology, gestation period and return on investment for the projects that could be set up in that region. The District Industrial Centre conducts these area potential surveys for usage of potential entrepreneurs.
It is quite clear that rural entrepreneurship cannot be developed without significant training. Therefore, instead of just schemes (financial and developmental) as the carrot for entrepreneurship development an intensive training needs to be provided to the youth in rural India. What’s required is to create a devoted team to take up rural entrepreneurship training as per integrated rural development program.
To manage agricultural sector and non-enclave projects in rural areas, rural entrepreneurs need to apply entirely different management and administrative concepts. Otherwise we shall be only creating islands of apparent prosperity in the ocean of rural poverty.Rural entrepreneurship is the answer to removal of rural poverty in India. Therefore, there should be more stress on integrated rural development programs. The problem is that most of the rural youth do not think of entrepreneurship as the career option. Therefore, the rural youth need to be motivated to take up entrepreneurship as a career, with training and sustaining support systems providing all necessary assistence.