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Here’s How You Can Help Hidden Entrepreneurial Talent In Rural India To Get Their Much Deserved Chance

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By Deepa Kumar:

In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that, ‘We enjoy the advantage of the largest youth population in the world. We must invest in their education and employability’. What we are asking is, why can’t the same employability be generated via entrepreneurship?

GrassRoute India’s #ChangeinIndia campaign asked citizens the one thing they wanted to change in India, and as a result of the same, there is a demand for spurring Rural Entrepreneurship.

In 2022, when the world will have a shortfall of 47 million youth force, we in India, with 430 million people as part of our youth force, will have a surplus of 56 million youth. Therefore, it is essential that the power of this youth force be harnessed to its fullest potential. As initiatives for Rural Development, NABARD’s Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programme (REDP) has helped initiate youth in rural areas up to a certain extent; however, the same is not sufficient.

Firstly, neither is REDP demand driven, nor is it resource driven. This restricts the scope of the Programme as it attempts to generate entrepreneurship in India’s rural areas without a clear understanding of people’s demands or resources available at hand. With no prior assessment or survey factored in the programme, it does not consider the choice of rural youth and weakens opportunities.

Another impediment of the REDP is that it prefers providing training facilities to literate youth only. Therefore, the exclusive nature of the Programme limits the assistance it promises to provide. Also, it requires an organisation to be on-field for at least 3 years to qualify for the Programme. How then, are start-up entrepreneurs receiving assistance from the same?

Creating the moulds for the Stove

It is also noted that only 22% of the Self Help Groups in rural areas had access to funding for entrepreneurial activity. In such a low investment and weak mentoring atmosphere, it is extremely difficult for entrepreneurs in rural India to firstly, take the plunge, and initiate a business, and secondly, try and sustain the business.

Besides, they also face issues such as lack of business skills and proper training, unavailability and lack of access to fixed capital, poor creditworthiness due to which receiving funding and/or loans is extremely difficult, lack of soft skills & avenues to market their product. An insufficiently developed rural market only furthers this problem.

Without adequate accountability of Government programmes that include REDP, National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), the opportunities provided to budding entrepreneurs in rural areas are minimal. As a result of this, the innovative capacity of these entrepreneurs, and of our whole nation, by extension, is getting stunted.

Therefore, in association with Enactus (I.I.T. Delhi) & with the support of Ashwin Mushran, we want to achieve the following:

A District Level Business Incubator exclusively assigned for the initiation and development of entrepreneurs in rural India. The same will have the sole responsibility of supporting businesses in rural areas.

Enactus - Promo 1

Given that successful completion of a business incubation program increases the likelihood that a start-up company will stay in business for the long term, the aforementioned body will prove to be an asset to the many entrepreneurs in rural areas who require assistance to transform their ideas into realities.

As Ashwin Mushran said, ‘Trying to start your own business in a city is tough enough. Try thinking about what it must be like for people in rural areas wanting to start their own businesses. We have a wealth of entrepreneurial talent waiting to be given a chance in villages and small towns across the country. Every step of the process should be made easy for them to encourage starting their own businesses. A modern country only takes shape by modernising all aspects, including the interiors which many of us brush aside

It is precisely this reason why I am supporting the campaign for Rural Empowerment for Entrepreneurs. Enactus and GrassRoute India are coming together to make a positive change in how businesses can be set up in interior India. It is something we should all support.

It may be a small change for 1 person but when you multiply that, it becomes a huge change for the country.

If you want to help rural India, sign our petition and share it with your friends

To further be a part of this discussion, attend our Tweet-up across Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar & Nagpur on Sunday, 13th October, click here. 

Simply tweet to GrassRoute using #EngageinDialogue or leave a message on our Facebook page.

You must be to comment.
  1. deepa5

    There must be equal opportunity for the Rural Entrepreneur if inclusive growth has to take place. We cannot have lopsided preferences….The adverse results of lack of this is obvious…..

  2. Madhuri Madhu

    This is amazing n this is what exactly our country needs.. We need more entrepreneurs, generating more jobs and thus becoming self sufficient.

  3. Saurabh Gandhi

    Great Initiative 🙂 Encouraging rural entrepreneurship will not only reduce the difference between India and Bharat but also give the rural people oppurtunity in the villages so that they don’t need to go far off places for their livelihood!!

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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