He also called for a sensitization programme to inform the youth about the opportunities available in rural India.
Addressing the 40th Foundation Day function of the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) today, he appealed to the students and teachers of the Institute to sensitize at least 10 youngsters in schools/colleges in their network and encourage them to explore possibilities in rural India. He termed this task as PSR (Personal Social Responsibility) for them.
Calling Gujarat as the ‘janmabhoomi’ and ‘karma bhoomi’ of great leaders such as Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President called for making their vision of Gram Swaraj into a reality.
Institutions like IRMA have a unique role to play in this, he said.
Maintaining that India is on track to become a 5 trillion dollar economy, Vice President Naidu opined that rural India’s economy will play an important role in this.
Therefore, a massive transformation of the rural economy is required by way of promoting rural entrepreneurship, Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) and through improvements in supply chain efficiency.
To enable this, he called for providing proper training and mentoring to turn villagers and farmers into successful entrepreneurs and innovators.
Reaffirming Gandhiji’s vision of decentralized village-level industries, he called for a renewed focus on agriculture and value addition to agri-products.
Citing the example of foreign brands selling tomato sauce and potato chips, the Vice President called for establishing agro-processing industries at village level so that farmers get the right value of their produce.
Remembering Dr Verghese Kurien as a great institution builder, Vice President Naidu called for replication of Amul success story in other fields also, so that small and marginal farmers can reap the benefits of economies of scale in marketing.
The ‘White Revolution’ was achieved not by ‘mass-production’ but ‘production by masses’, he said.
Vice President Naidu highlighted that new technologies and programs such as ‘Digital India’ have opened up new business avenues in rural India by way of Digital Payments, e-commerce etc and have created a favourable ecosystem for rural digital transformation.
In this context, he called upon IRMA to create at least 1,000 start-ups in the rural areas over the next two years. “Because IRMA professionals are uniquely positioned to be able to appreciate the realities of rural India and impart professional business management skills appropriate to the rural context”, he said.
The Vice President said that there are great opportunities in the consumer space for traditional foods, crafts, eco-tourism in rural India. He called for better use of technology to realize this potential.
This unique coming together of the three legs of the economy- farm (agriculture production), manufacturing (primary food processing) & services (distribution, delivery)- can itself be a huge opportunity for the growth of the national economy, he said highlighting it’s great socio-economic benefits for the nation.
Appreciating the women’s role in India’s White Revolution, he said that over 90% of the contribution to the rural dairy economy comes from women but the overall contribution of women to the national GDP is much less at around 25%.
“We need to recognize the immense possibilities for women empowerment offered by rural organizations and supply chains. The dairy cooperative movement has amply demonstrated this.” He said.
Vice President Naidu also emphasized the need to conserve water to address the problem of water scarcity. He advocated 3 Rs – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse – for effective water management and called for making water conservation a people’s movement.
Maintaining that over per cent of India’s population lives in its 6.4 lakh villages, Vice President Naidu appreciated several initiatives taken by the government for betterment of rural lives such as – renewed focus on Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana, near-universal electrification under Saubhagya scheme, distribution of more than 8 crore LPG connections under Ujjawala scheme and commitment to providing every household with piped water supply (HarGharJal).
Prior to the event, Vice President Naidu visited National Dairy Development Board’s campus and was briefed on Amul’s remarkable journey and various initiatives by NDDB such as – training conducted for farmers, initiatives on scientific animal nutrition, breed improvement and activities undertaken under the National Dairy Plan.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also released a coffee table book on the 40 Years of IRMA.