“A country which includes all develop together.” Our land, India, is a country full of diversity. It has numerous communities, beliefs, and ideas living together under one shade. For a long time, India was absent from seeing economic growth. The main reason was the years of colonization. It was only after independence in 1947, that India was free to choose its ways again. India, as a free nation, decided upon economic growth through self-reliance, social justice, and poverty alleviation. It began with patterns of a mixed economy, where both the public and private sectors can co-exist and work. For this, the Planning Commission of India was formed in the year 1950. The commission decided upon a Five-year plan pattern. The first five years were devoted to agriculture. The second five years were devoted to industrialization. During this period, the role of entrepreneurship in uplifting India’s growth was brought in. With this, the plan also focused on strengthening indigenous capacity, uplifting small-scale industries, decreasing income inequalities, and aiming for regional development. After the country saw no static growth, the economic policy of India was changed. In the year 1991, the LPG model was introduced. LPG stands for Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation. With this, the country aimed to develop its economy rapidly with all the capacities, and compete with economies of the world on a global platform. It also liberalized the norms and allowed more inclusion of the private sector in economic growth.
Entrepreneurship in India can be dated back to its presence in Rigveda, where metal handicrafts were sold in society. The traditions of making and selling handicrafts can be seen as the start of entrepreneurship in India. It can be also traced to the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. There was a presence of ceramic structures, belonging to old Turkey and Iran, which indicates the possibility of movement and trade. Besides life on farms, the people of this civilization supported themselves with exchange and trade. The main items which were traded were pottery items, ornaments, exchange of animals, and others. After the Indus Valley Civilization, the idea of entrepreneurship spread to periods from 1000 BC to 500 BC. Indians started exporting, predominantly silk to Central Asia. This idea of self-supporting was then seen during the Maurya dynasty, Mughal era too. The breakthrough for the idea of entrepreneurship in India came when Dwaraka Tagore started a joint venture with Carr Tagore Nanabhai Davar. They both had started a textile mill in 1854, which could not succeed later. Also, with the colonists who had come, India lost its tracks as the resources were directly sent to Britain, and nothing was given in return.
Though entrepreneurship managed to be in every era of Indian history, it has only been used for the past 50 years. Only after independence did India witness growth in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs like Dhirubhai Ambani, Narayana Murthy, Rajesh Jain, and many others began their entrepreneurial journey in India. This then evolved in women entrepreneurs rising in India. Today, we have known women entrepreneurs like Chanda Kochhar, Vedika Bhandarkar, Anu Aga, Indra Nooyi, and many more. Rural India already had the taste of entrepreneurship. However, it is only now that the rural side of the country is emerging in this field. There was a time when rural sides of India were suffering from poverty, unemployment, and poor facilities. But with entrepreneurship in remote regions, life is easing out. Rural entrepreneurship is defined as entrepreneurship in villages in a plethora of fields. Entrepreneurship in rural sides is classified into different types. There is individual entrepreneurship, group entrepreneurship, cluster entrepreneurship, and cooperative entrepreneurship. These are then broadly classified as manufacturing or service-providing venture. India, before starting entrepreneurial ventures had studied its villages it has taken into consideration of lifestyles, average income, availability of land, feasible technology, and market areas. Rural entrepreneurs had to go through a series of obstructions before starting their ventures. The problems in rural entrepreneurship were financial issues, marketing problems, management problems, and human resources availability.
Entrepreneurship started growing in rural India with support from the government. Different policies promoted entrepreneurship by providing employment or lands for ventures. The Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise had introduced the Entrepreneurship Development Institution Scheme for the village population. In this plan, the government promoted a rural entrepreneurial mindset by providing a 30% loan to those who wanted to set up their ventures. It also provided the necessary training and counseling to the people. The plan also empowered women to start their businesses and get the necessary information on how to do it.
The Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana (RGUMY) is another entrepreneurial scheme that supports the budding rural entrepreneurs who have completed or are pursuing the necessary training. It provides guidance, support, and assistance to entrepreneurs through its “udyami helpline”. The scheme of Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas(PURA) was proposed by former president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The plan was formed to lend support to rural development, predominantly in the entrepreneur sector. The scheme was to provide urban facilities in rural areas, so they can also develop equally. The support from the government had boosted the idea of being an entrepreneur in rural areas. People got the right guidance, funding, and areas to build up their ventures.
With the support and rising of rural entrepreneurs, how do you think this sector of the country is supporting? Entrepreneurial set up in rural settings has led to better sectioning of wealth and amenities. Poverty is diminishing and youth are having occupations to choose from, thus, reducing the rate of unemployment. It has also led to fair development. If the cities are growing then the villages are also growing. This has also led the youths in rural areas to try for more entrepreneurial opportunities. The scope to select a venture is no more limited, rather there are many options to choose from after understanding the area. This has also promoted awareness and utilization of the local resources. Earlier, due to limited knowledge, the rural area remained unaware of the resources and uses. But, exposure to the kinds of resources available, is befitting in the entrepreneurial journey in developing villages. This also promotes self-reliance, which is very important to step from the agrigan level to progress. Rural areas do not need to depend upon cities or towns for services or products now. They can be easily brought in through various entrepreneurial ventures. Lastly, entrepreneurship in rural areas has also contributed to the exports from India. For instance, handicrafts like Madhubani, Rajasthani mirror works, Kalamkari, and other Indian artifacts are exclusively available only in India. These items might have great value in foreign countries. Setting up ventures related to these items will contribute well to the foreign exchange and economy of our country.
To put it out in a synopsis, India and its rural areas have seen long progress in the entrepreneur sector. Today, we have all the necessary products or services already in villages or are at the establishing process. If you go to the market, you will find all the things or services you want. Be it a travel agency or retail store, you will find them all. With this, challenges still exist for rural entrepreneurs. These challenges include an interruption in IT knowledge, difficulty in finding skilled labor, vague knowledge of machinery, getting all the raw materials, distance of traveling for training regarding the venture, and producing good quality products. There are constant suggestions to improve the status of rural entrepreneurship too. The locals and the authorities have suggested the establishment of an entrepreneurship development cell in every village. This will save the time of budding entrepreneurs and at the same time provide them with the necessary guidance. There must be a financial fund only devoted to entrepreneurial ideas in rural areas. The rural entrepreneurs must be taught to take risks and at the same time compete for both in local and international markets. With this, the government is also expected to provide these areas with interest-free loans to set up their ventures. It must also promote rural products and encourage the buying of these products. Rural entrepreneurship plays a very vital role, not only for the country but for its locality too. It has today become a source of hope, income, employment, and increment in the rural economy. This is also necessary to bridge the gap between the lifestyles of urban and rural. It is necessary to be uplifted continuously to be on the path of changing to develop from a developing country. Rural entrepreneurship must be free from all dominance and influences. It should be allowed to grow on its own and learn new ways of flourishing. For this, you need to go back to the words of our father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, as he quoted that, “The future of India lies in its villages.” As much as it is necessary to bring new lights to cities, you cannot forget the fields which possess the potentiality of growth too.
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