Start Local to Go Global
16th Dec, 2020
- Agriculture and allied sectors have remained important segments of the Indian economy.It has direct or indirect linkages with other economic sectors and plays a major role as foreign exchange earner.
- Although its contribution has declined with the advent of industrialisation, its potential towards the national economy cannot be ignored. It stands as sole bright spot in the recent pandemic and can be looked at as a golden opportunity for sustainable growth and development of India.
Indian Agriculture Sector: Problems and Prospects
- The annual average growth rate in agriculture and its allied sectors has declined from 6.3 percent in 2016-17 to 2.8 percent in 2019-20.One of the obvious reason behind this downfall is rural-urban migration.
- Other challengessuch aslack of innovation or technological intervention, rural infrastructural support, landless or land fragmentation, topography, input, market knowledge and other risk factors resulted in undergrowth of this sector.
- In the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, agriculture stands as a bright spot with the projected growth rate of 3 percent in the year 2020-21.
- The only need is to think to rethink the strength, plan to replan the policies, structure to restructure the infrastructure, innovate to reinnovate the technologies, model to remodel the investment and skill to reskill the manpower
Recent Government Policies
- Income:The PM KISAN (Pradhan MantriKisanSammanNidhi) is a great relief to small and marginal farmers as this scheme provides an income support of Rs. 6,000 per year in three equal installments.
- Although increase in farm productivity, rise in real farm prices have a contribution towards farmer's income but post production reforms involving access to technology, innovation and management by farmers or rural youth as entrepreneur are needed not only to raise farmer's income but also to achieve robust agricultural growth.
- Infrastructure: The recent agricultural infrastructure funds worth Rs.1.0 lakh crores for aggregators cooperative societies and farm entrepreneur for setting up of community farming assets storage structures and post-harvest management infrastructure.
- Focus on cluster based approach for farmers including entrepreneurs, a properly build roadmap for all, including entrepreneurs IS the need of the hour. Further, as a part of 'vocal for local with global outreach' was announced for the micro food enterprises (MFE).
- Entrepreneurial Activity:Augmenting the Startup Culture: As a part of rural bio-entrepreneurship, department of biotechnology’s initiative set up rural bio resource complex in aspirational district in India is appreciable.
- Government s scheme of fund for regeneration of traditional industries including khadi, village and coir is a great step towards rural entrepreneurship
- Skilling Programme:To be vocal for local, skilling, upskilling andreskilling should be a part of the rural bio entrepreneurialscheme.
- Initiative for Migrant labourer: Opportunities for Entrepreneurship: Although, along with GaribKalyanRojgarAbhiyaan, Government has initiated KisanMitr, a seven phase project with an aim to support farmers, migrants and agriculturist to become AatmaNirbhar by scientific research and technologies.
- Agri-Innovation Centre: Support Domain for Agri Start-ups: India ranks third in terms of incubation centre and among them 19 percent are from agri sector. By providing infrastructure,equipment, investment, legal, portfolio support, branding, certification, mentoring and advisory support, these centres can play a key role in achieving the goal of vocal for local and local to global.
- Innovation and Technology: As innovation or technology is a part of global outreach, along with traditional methods or practices, large scale smart technological interventions starting from weather prediction to input management, farm operation to logistics, supply chain management to market linkage via GIS, Block chain, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, remote sensing, satellite technology, and various Internet of Thing (loT) devices should be encouraged
- Export Potential: Opportunities for AgriStartup: Indian agriculture has the potential to be a global export Although the pandemic has caused a decrease of 27.7 percent, in the export of major agri produce of India, there are unseen opportunities as India is the second global producer.
- However, to ease the export process, still there is a need of robust infrastructural support, stringent quality control and other reforms including single window clearance, which would be helpful for global outreach.
- Going forward, we need an integrated approach to understand the centrality of rural agrarian economy and long-term strategy to bridge the gap between policy planning and implementation, input objectives and project output, which will empower the local economy and help us to reach from local to global and beyond.
Role of Soft Skills in Developing Rural Entrepreneurs
- As per ILO estimates, almost 6 billion informal economy workers out of worldwide total of 2 billion have suffered massive damage due to covid-19. And India’s worry is that almost 93% of the total workforce is ‘Informal’ (as per Economic Survey 2018-19).Thus, bigger ask is to plug unemployment.
- The next growth wave in India will have to significantly depend on the growth in the rural India. In order to prove resilient, the rural India will have to take lead in adapting to new normal and become creative and innovative. The youth who lost jobs might look at becoming self-sustainable by going down the route of Entrepreneurship.
- Essential service sectors are reviving their supply-chains. The rural youth will have to identify and become part of these supply chains and value-chains.
- While it is agreed that the technology may eliminate many "low-skill" jobs, at the same time, technology is creating opportunities, paving the way for new and altered jobs. Therefore, investing in human capital development is the priority to make the most of this evolving economic opportunity. Natural strategy will be to align existing curriculum with 21st century skills right from the early stages of schooling.
- Transformation of the youth from wage to self-employment would entail: Conduct robust aspiration mapping of the youth and select the deserving ones; transforming the unemployed workforce to gain self-employment; arresting the migration of educated and potential entrepreneurs by incentivizing to start enterprises in their states; training to register and use e-commerce platform;Create backward and forward linkages for the potential entrepreneurs.
- Some of the important skillsets and attributes to become successful entrepreneur/startup would include:Communication, negotiation, Agility & discipline.
- Good communication skills will help the entrepreneurs in enhancing their ability to communicate a compelling story, engage an audience and drive them to a desired action. This is a powerfuI and new strategy for positioning a product service in a highly competitive market.
- Another very important soft-skill in today's time is agility. Agility is the ability to quickly change a course of action while maintaining control.
- Young entrepreneurs must be able to re-engineer themselves and their businesses as needed, while maintaining focus passion, and value alignment - particularly in the situations like COVID-19.
- Current trends demand a move from digital literacy to fluency. This requires not just understanding how to use digital tools but being able to create something new with them.
- The International Telecommunication Uniondefines three levels of digital skills: basic such as email and navigating apps; intermediate such as simple coding and graphic design; and advanced such as artificial intelligence and big data.
- In order for youth from rural India to participate in the labour force, particularly as entrepreneurs, continuous learning and certain specialised courses would be of immense use. The spread of virus catalysed and emphasised the need. We have to step out of the traditional practices and adopt tools like AI, Augmented reality (AR), distance learning for process enhancement, and customise the existing courses/add new courses.
- Along with existing agriculture and food technology-related courses, teaching effective new methods of farming such as hydroponics, aquaponics, multilayer farming is beneficial in increasing the food supply.
- One of the critical aspects that need to be addressed immediately in the education system is Environmental studies.
- Skills and expertise in aspects like Blockchain, Big Data, Cloud, data analytics, voice deployment, Six Sigma (for Quality and Operations Management), etc. are beneficial in saving and transforming human lives for better.
- For young potential entrepreneurs, the government will provide an enabling environment and support enterprise development. The support from the government will be a facilitator giving easy and small loans to entrepreneurs for starting/expanding small businesses, technical and financial assistance to start-ups, provide social protection and short/medium-term tax relief to the start-ups and young entrepreneurs.