Recently, Uttarakhand government planned to frame a policy to encourage entrepreneurship among women of Uttarakhand. Why rural entrepreneurship is a good option for people living in hills?
Uttarakhand is a such a state where it is difficult to set industries and create job opportunities due to its difficult geography yet there is a ray of hope in the teary eyes of people who believe that there will be substantial development in the state. Every culture and region has its own identity which defines it. Same is in the case of Uttarakhand which is mostly surrounded by Himalayas, has agricultural based economy, and a large number of people still reside in the hilly areas and remote villages of Uttarakhand. Rural entrepreneurship is not a new idea, the only problem is this idea needs to be implemented for this the local people should be encouraged to start up their small scale businesses, cottage industries and co-operative societies and enter the global markets.
Entrepreneurship is the need of the hour as it will have a positive effect on the communities and youngsters thereby, creating opportunities for them. Which will result in – less migration, reduced pressures on the over populated towns in the plain areas of Uttarakhand, it will foster more investments in the private sector which will raise the standard of living of the people.
One suggestion is to create a long-term plan based entrepreneurship using four essential elements of Mapping, Identifying, Imparting Skills and Applauding (MISA). As per this plan, firstly data should be collected and the active rural entrepreneurs in the state should be mapped in order to create a data base with the relevant business metrics. The information about the nature of the business, people involved, business turnover, government subsidies availed by them and other relevant information can be collected and arranged.
After that, it is important to identify and evaluate the knowledge, skills and experience of the rural entrepreneur. Information related to education, familiarity with technology, finance and other vital information can be collected to identify deficiency in entrepreneurial skills.
After analyzing their deficiencies, government can provide faculty on technology, creativity, innovation, problem solving, finance, planning, and marketing which will help the entrepreneur to think well as per business perspective. Introducing new technology such as computers and online education will be beneficial as it will offer various options and possibilities for the hill folk.
The government can play an important role in empowering rural entrepreneurs as they can encourage them by rewarding and recognizing their achievements. It will attract other villagers to take an initiative and become a role model for others in rural entrepreneurship.
Well, it all depends on our politicians and policy makers of the state to take rural entrepreneurship to another level by motivating and encouraging the hill folk of Uttarakhand.
Government has started some programmes in this direction for the unemployed youths of Uttarakhand. The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) along with the state government are setting up institutes in all 13 districts to enhance their entrepreneur skills and employment opportunities. Few districts such as Pithoragarh, Pauri, Almora and Haridwar already have institutes and for the remaining districts the government has promised to set them up in the coming years. These youths would undergo training in dairy development, farming, repair and other traditional skills.
Another way by which rural entrepreneurship can be encouraged is by educating the local people about the qualities of herbs, plants and medicines. For example there is self-group of 9 women—‘Navjyoti’ in Ramnagar area of Nainital which provides training to rural women about the ancient Indian art of herbal farming and medicines. Their medicines are quite popular in that area. These self-groups not only encourage rural entrepreneurship, but also empowers women of rural areas.