Cos to Help Draft Growth Plan for Ru­ral Busi­nesses

ITC, Fabindia to be part of govt panel to make pol­icy to strengthen ru­ral liveli­hood

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Ruchika.Chi­tra­van­shi @times­group.com

New Delhi: Fabindia, a pri­vate chain of stores that sells prod­ucts made from tra­di­tional tech­niques, skills and hand-based pro­cesses, and the ITC Group will help the gov­ern­ment pre­pare a plan to sup­port ru­ral busi­nesses and ar­ti­sans.

They will be part of a com­mit­tee formed by the ru­ral de­vel­op­ment min­istry un­der the Na­tional Ru­ral Liveli­hood Mis­sion to design a longterm pol­icy to achieve this ob­jec­tive. “We want In­dia’s ru­ral pop­u­la­tion to get ac­cess to mar­kets as equal play­ers af­ter re­mov­ing disadvantages of re­mote­ness and scat­tered pop­u­la­tion, which im­pacts their com­pet­i­tive­ness,” said Amar­jeet Sinha, ru­ral de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary. The com­mit­tee will be headed by JK Mo­ha­p­a­tra, former ru­ral de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary. The ini­tia­tive is part of mea­sures by the min­istry to strengthen the ru­ral liveli­hood pro­gramme with pri­vate sec­tor help. ITC Group, which has linked up with farm­ers and built a pro­cure­ment sys­tem, is In­dia’s sec­ond-largest ex­porter of agri-prod­ucts.

The min­istry held talks with on­line gro­cery delivery plat­forms Gro­fers and Big Bas­ket to source pro­duce from ru­ral groups. Bi­har’s Jee­vika ini­tia­tive for ru­ral liveli­hood has tied up with Ama­zon to sell hand­made prod­ucts, in­clud­ing jew­ellery and the fa­mous Mad­hubani paint­ings. The gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing other states to ex­plore such plat- forms. The Centre will pro­vide funds un­der NRLM to states for set­ting up Jee­vika shops at district and block lev­els. The states have been asked to en­sure avail­abil­ity of space and proper lo­ca­tions for these out­lets. The gov­ern­ment wants to use the ini­tia­tive to en­sure em­ploy­ment and liveli­hood op­por­tu­ni­ties for the poor in their own vil­lages so they do not have to leave their homes in search of jobs and are not en­tirely de­pen­dent on farm-re­lated work.

The com­mit­tee will study the im­pact of macro-eco­nomic pol­icy, changes in in­dus­try, mar­ket and tech­nol­ogy and sug­gest mod­i­fica- tions in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of NRLM. The mis­sion has helped cre­ate a net­work of self-help groups with 3.5 crore women mem­bers. By 2019, the gov­ern­ment wants to have 40 lakh such groups with 4 crore women mem­bers.

Ru­ral credit in In­dia raised by SHGs grew 40% to ₹ 30,000 crore in 2015-16 through their bank link­age pro­gramme. Formed in 2011, the SHGs have mo­bilised credit of about ₹ 70,000 crore, nearly half of which was raised in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year to fund the cre­ation of so­cial cap­i­tal in vil­lages that could lift non-farm jobs. The gov­ern­ment ex­pects de­mand to grow to .₹ 40,000 crore in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year as skill de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties gain trac­tion to fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity on the ground.

The com­mit­tee will be headed by JK Mo­ha­p­a­tra, former ru­ral de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary

MAHESH G

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