Off Farm Development Department
1.  Genesis

Promotion of Off Farm Sector was embedded in the very mission statement of NABARD at the time of its inception. The sector assumes significance in the context of the ever pressing need for reducing rural India’s over dependence on agriculture for income by encouraging alternate livelihood options. Development of this sector also helps in arresting large-scale migration of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities on account of unemployment/ disguised employment in the agriculture sector.

NABARD, over the years, has evolved several refinance and promotional schemes for development of Off Farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base and refine/rationalise its schemes in response to needs at the field level.

The focus has been on programmes which enables increased credit flow, provision of credit to the unreached, and provision of linkages for small, cottage and village industries, handloom, handicrafts and other rural crafts and service sector in rural areas.
Developing markets for the rural Off Farm Sector has been an area where NABARD has taken many initiatives. NABARD has also been actively involved in promoting innovations in rural areas in farm and Off Farm sectors by creating a separate fund for this purpose.
Thrust areas of the Off Farm Development Department (OFDD) are  indicated below:

  • Off Farm Producer Organizations
  •     Skill Development Rural Innovations
  •     Marketing Interventions
  •     Agri Business Incubation Centres
  •     Other Off Farm Activities
2.  Core Functions of the Department  
Providing end-to-end solutions for promotion of activities generating/enhancing livelihoods under the Rural Off Farm Sector.
  • Providing financial support as grant depending on the nature of the project, activities within the project, stakeholders involved, etc.
  • Providing financial support to Government agencies including Panchayat Raj Institutions, Apex/State Level Corporations and Boards, Individuals/Groups of individuals, SHGs, SHG Federations, Farmers’ Clubs (FCs), FC Federations, activity based JLGs, NGOs/MFIs, Trusts, Registered Community Based Organisations (CBO), Registered Producers’ Organisations/people’s organisations, Co-operatives (including PACS), Banks, RRBs, NSDC affiliated training institutes, Skill Development Council, RUDSETIs/RSETIs, Corporates, Companies Proprietary/Partnership/Pvt. Limited/Public limited, etc.) including Section 8 Companies, NBFCs, Private Companies as part of Corporate Social Responsibility, Colleges, Research Institutions, Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Marketing Federations, Commodity Boards, subsidiaries of NABARD and such other organizations which approach NABARD for financial support for undertaking Off-Farm Sector promotional interventions and whose objectives/activities are catering to the development of Off-farm sector and approved by NABARD.  The list is indicative and not exhaustive.
  • Supporting marketing activities of rural artisans by extending grant assistance for Rural Haats, Rural Marts, Exhibitions and Melas.
  • Promoting skill development by extending grant support to rural training institutions like Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institutes (RUDSETIs)/ Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs), NSDC affiliated Institutes, NGOs having training establishments, Government agencies, Corporate Partners, etc.
  • Support to rural artisans for formation of Off Farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) in clusters to take up collective business activities, build capacity and develop market linkages.
3.  Broad achievements of the Department at a national level 
  • Promotional Programmes 
Rural Innovation 
Through its Rural Innovation Fund (RIF), Off Farm Sector Promotion Fund (OFSPF) and Gramya Vikas Nidhi (with effective from 01 September 2017), OFDD has been extending financial support for innovative, unconventional experiments in farm, off farm and micro finance sectors. As on 31 March 2017, the total number of projects sanctioned under erstwhile RIF and OFSPF stood at 693 with total commitment of Rs.73.55 Crore.
  •  Rural Entrepreneurship/ Skill Development Programmes
NABARD has supported Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (REDPs) and Skill Development Programmes (SDPs) for facilitating generation of self-employment and wage employment opportunities in rural areas.
During 2016-17, as on 31 March 2017, financial assistance of Rs.1.95 Crore was disbursed for conducting 681 entrepreneurship development programmes. Cumulatively, NABARD has supported 31022 REDPs/SDIs with grant assistance of Rs.111.72 Crore, imparting training to more than 8.02 lakh employed rural youth.
  • Gurukul Training (Pan-IIT Model)
a)  To demonstrate that the entrepreneurs are willing to pay for skill training linked to assured employment, NABARD has supported this model of skill upgradation. This initiative also has financial inclusion and digital technology as built-in components.
b)  As a part of NABARD’s continued developmental interventions for empowerment of rural youth, a loan-based project of Rs.4.76 crore under Rural Innovation Fund was sanctioned to “Pan IIT Alumni Reach for India”(PARFI) for setting up 20 gurukuls, aimed at skill building and providing assured placement for school dropouts from very poor rural households in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, A.P. Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Assam in construction activities like masonry, bar bending, fork lifting, plumbing, air conditioning, electrical wiring, heavy vehicle driving, catering etc. The project has been assisted through grant assistance of Rs.60 lakh towards organizational cost, Rs. 60 lakh towards start-up expenses for setting up 20 Gurukuls and Revolving Fund Assistance (RFA) of Rs. 356 lakh.
c)  The agency has already set up 20 gurukul units as part of the pilot -- 7 in Jharkhand, 5 in Tamil Nadu, 2 each in Rajasthan and Bihar, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra all of which are targeted to school drop-outs, poor youth from Left-Wing Extremism areas. As part of the pilot project, 5,659 trainees have been trained in 237 batches with 100% placement rate (including self-employment especially in driving and catering.) The total recovery rate has been 58% with some of the Jharkhand gurukuls reporting repayment rates of 75-80%. The per-trainee Revolving Fund Assistance availed comes to Rs. 3,800, showcasing the ‘rotation of capital’ as envisaged in the pilot proposal.
d)  Based on the success of the PANIIT model, NABARD has sanctioned and released grant assistance of Rs. 5 crore to NABFINS (a subsidiary of NABARD) for institutionalizing the project for extending skill loans to trainees through Gurukuls set up by PARFI.
  • Cluster Development
NABARD has been implementing the Cluster Development Programme under the National Programme on Rural Industrialisation (NPRI) since 1999-2000. Building on that experience and considering the fact that cluster approach is best suited for the development of small and micro enterprises, NABARD evolved its own Cluster Development Policy in the year 2005-06. NABARD has cumulatively approved a total of 119 clusters in 110 districts across 22 States. Focus was given on development of clusters in north eastern region (NER,) with as many as 23 clusters in the
NER and backward regions. Prominent clusters supported under the programme were:
a)    Handloom (57)
b)    Handicrafts (43)
c)    Food processing and rural tourism  (7 each)

  •  Off Farm Producer Organisation (OFPO)
In order to provide strong platform to rural artisans to take up collective business activities, including capacity building, business planning and providing marketing linkages, NABARD extend support for Off Farm Producer Organisations (OFPOs) in existing and new clusters. As on 30 September 2017, NABARD has sanctioned cumulative grant assistance of Rs. 146.38 lakh towards formation of six OFPOs in J & K, Jharkhand, Tamilnadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Mizoram.
  • Marketing Initiatives
a) Exhibitions and Melas
To support rural artisans in utilizing their expertise as a source of livelihood while also helping them to enhance their income, NABARD has been supporting marts and haats, exhibitions at State level and large fairs at National level.  
  • Mahalaxmi SARAS Mela, Mumbai
  • Surajkund International Craft Fair, Haryana
  • NABARD Deccan Haat, Hyderabad

NABARD’s support for exhibitions and melas has helped rural artisans and Self Help Groups in showcasing their products, enabling a wider reach and getting more orders, thereby enhancing their income and livelihood opportunities.
  • Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) 
The Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for Technology Upgradation of Micro & Small Enterprises was launched by the Government of India in October 2000. The scheme aims at facilitating technology upgradation of MSE units in the specified products/ sub-sectors by way of induction of well-established and improved technologies approved under the scheme for which capital subsidy is extended by GoI.
NABARD was designated as one of the nodal agencies for channelising subsidy under the scheme for Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Commercial Banks.
So far NABARD has disbursed an amount of Rs.70.95 crores to 1,361 units under the scheme as on 31.09.2017.
  • Stand Up India Scheme
GoI has launched the  ‘Stand Up India scheme’ on 5th April 2016 with an objective to facilitate bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up greenfield enterprises.  A corpus for credit guarantee for individual loans under the scheme and refinance through SIDBI has been approved.  NABARD is a supporting agency of the scheme and the DDM offices of NABARD along with SIDBI offices have been designated as ‘Stand Up Connect Centres’ (SUCC).
The ‘standupmitra’ portal has been created by SIDBI to review and report progress by stakeholders.
NABARD has been coordinating with Regional Offices to review the progress of the scheme and organize pre & post sanction handholding events for the promotion of the scheme.
Contact Information:
Dr. S Saravanavel
Chief General Manager
5th Floor, 'B' Wing
C-24, 'G' Block
Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East)
Mumbai 400 051 
Tel: (91) 022-26530083
Fax: (91) 022-26530082