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:
  • Skill Development 
  • Off Farm Producer Organizations
  • Marketing Intervention
  • Rural Innovation
  • Agri Business Incubation Centres & Startups
  • Geographical Indication 
  • Other Off Farm Activities
2.  Core Functions of the Department  
  • Provide end-to-end solutions for promotion of activities generating/enhancing livelihoods under the Rural Off Farm Sector.
  • Provide financial support as grant depending on the nature of the project, activities within the project, stakeholders involved, etc.
  • Support marketing activities of rural artisans by extending grant assistance for Rural Haats, Rural Marts, Exhibitions and Melas.
  • Provide 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 to undertake Off-Farm Sector promotional interventions and whose objectives/activities cater to the development of Off-farm sector and approved by NABARD.  The list is indicative and not exhaustive.
  • Promote 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 rural artisans for formation of Off Farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) in clusters to take up collective business activities, build capacity and develop market linkages.
  • Support innovation in Off Farm Sector.
3. Broad achievements of the Department at a National Level 
Skill Development Initiatives of NABARD
In tune with GoI’s goal, NABARD has developed a structured approach for addressing the skill gap in rural India through demand and outcome-based programmes through multiple stakeholders in skill development ecosystem leading to wage/self-employment. 
All developmental interventions under skilling are through digital platform “NABSKILL” ( enabling complete digitisation of Skill interventions right from submission of applications, settlement of claims to effective implementation, monitoring/tracking, placement. NABARD has so far extended grant assistance of ₹154.37 Crore for training 9.04 Lakh rural youth through 34,878 programmes by gainfully engaging rural youth both in wage as well as self-employment. During 2019-20, NABARD has extended grant assistance of ₹18.92 Crore for skilling 33,216 rural youth through 1066 programmes. 
Catalytic Capital Assistance to Incubators/Subsidiaries of NABARD
NABARD’s scheme of “Catalytic Capital Assistance for supporting Rural & Agri Business Startups in agriculture and identified sectors” is to support startups through Rural /Agri Business Incubators as well as Subsidiaries of NABARD. The objective of the scheme is to support Startups in farm and non-farm sector to stimulate commercialization of ideas/ inventions that will lead to enterprise creation, increased employment and increased income generating activities in rural areas. 
The grant assistance is capped at maximum of ₹10.00 crore to Incubation Centres/Subsidiaries of NABARD.  These centres in turn can provide support of maximum of ₹1.00 crore to an eligible Incubatee/Startup by way of equity/debt. The support is for Startups in the stage of ‘Valley of Death’.
Agri Business Incubation Centres
The significance of Agri-Business Incubation Centres in facilitating an ecosystem conducive for the growth of Agribusiness enterprises is recognized worldwide. It   creates direct employment opportunities, helps in increasing agricultural productivity and entrepreneurship development through startups and enterprises with innovative solutions. NABARD supports eligible institutions for setting up Agri/Rural Business Incubation Centres to nurture innovative early stage enterprises that have high growth potential in agribusiness by adding value and linking to producers and markets.
The Rural Business Incubation Centers (RBICs) would be established in institutions directly associated with agriculture and rural development.  These centres would incubate the startups working in identified areas in agriculture, allied and off farm activities. 
As on date support NABARD has supported  setting up of 5 Agri-Business Incubation Centres (ABICs) viz. Madurai Agri Business Incubation Forum (MABIF) at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Madurai, ABIC at Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, Agricultural & Food Engineering Department (AgFE), IIT Kharagpur, Rajmate Vijay Raje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Gwalior and aIDEA at NAARM, Hyderabad.
Off Farm Producer Organisation (OFPO)
Off-Farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) are legal entities formed by producers like artisans, weavers, craftsmen etc. which provides for sharing of profits/benefits among members.  The objective of the producer organization is to ensure better income realization to its members through aggregation and value addition.  OFPOs play an important role in promoting rural enterprises in handloom, handicraft and other off farm activites so as to generate local employment through value addition, design innovation and development, processing, brand-building, creation of storage and logistics infrastructure, mechanization and development of technology plus strong forward and backward linkages. This ultimately brings in sustainable and inclusive development through collectivization and formalization.
As on 31 March 2020, 33 OFPOs covering around 11,678 beneficiaries have been supported with grant assistance of ₹12.88 Crore across 19 states. 18 OFPOs have been registered under Companies/Societies Act and are undertaking business activities through aggregation, marketing and input distribution.
Promotion of GI Products
Geographical Indications (GI) is an Intellectual Property right that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location GIs can play an important role in rural development, empowering communities, acting as product differentiators, support brand building, create local employment, reduce rural migration, creating a regional brand, generating spin-off effects in tourism and gastronomy, preserving traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and conserving biodiversity. 
NABARDs policy for GI interventions include support for pre-registration as well as post-registration activities for GI products leading to better quality, improved market access, awareness creation, strengthen producer’s capacity to enforce their rights, subsidize cost of registration & enforcement and marketing.   
NABARD has extended support for enabling GI registration of 51 products, post registration activities and a marketing outlet for GI products at Deendayal Hastakala Sankul, Varanasi.
Marketing Initiatives
In order to support rural artisans & producers to market their products effectively NABARD provides financial assistance for setting up Rural Haats and Rural Marts as also sponsoring Exhibitions.
Rural Haat
Rural Haats have been vital to the lives of rural communities by providing them accessible market place to buy and sell their farm and off-farm produce. NABARD supports existing as well as setting up of new Rural Haats for creating basic infrastructural facilities.  Rural Haats have emerged as forward linkages for Producer Organizations, Village Watershed and Tribal Development Committees in trading their produce.  As on 31 March 2020, 563 Rural Haats have been supported with grant assistance of ₹34.21 Crore.
Rural Mart
Rural Marts not only provide market but also help promote entrepreneurship amongst producer communities, SHGs etc.  The Scheme provides for support towards operational expenditure for setting up of Rural Marts at potential locations.  As on 31 March 2020, 904 Rural Haats have been supported with grant assistance of ₹15.65 Crore. 
Exhibitions and Melas provide a direct marketing platform to the artisans with access to market intelligence, customer preferences and bulk orders. Participation in these melas empower the artisans to face the challenges in doing business. 
NABARD supports organizing exhibitions independently or in collaboration with major partners.  Grant assistance is also extended for enabling artisans/producers to participate in exhibitions at different places in India.   During 2019-20, twenty Regional Offices and Head Office, Mumbai organised exhibitions independently providing 1765 producers/artisans collectives from rural India to display and sell their products in major urban centres, generating direct and bulk sales to the tune of ₹10.17 Crore. Some of the major exhibitions supported during the year include Mahalaxmi Saras Mela, Mumbai, Surajkhund Mela, Surajkhund in Haryana and Deccan Haat, Hyderabad. These exhibitions have proved to be an effective marketplace for majority of OFPOs supported by NABARD wherein they could get access to bulk buyers as well as gather inputs on improving their products.
Rural Innovations: 
NABARD has been one of the institutions to recognize the importance of grassroot level innovations. More than 700 innovations in rural India have been supported which include product/process innovations and research projects in the field of agriculture, financial services, agro-processing, etc. both in farm and non-farm sector. Few of the innovative projects sanctioned during 2019-20 are:
  • Development of homestays as part of Rural Tourism in Pangi, Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh, aimed at benefitting 263 tribal households.
  • Kaagaz ke Pankh - Production of handcrafted and eco-friendly utility products from recycled cloth, paper and plastic waste in Gurugram district, Haryana.
  • Creation of digital marketplace for tribal handicraft products of West Midnapore district, West Bengal
  • Development and optimization of Natural Dyeing Process with Banana sap as a natural eco-mordant in Tamilnadu.
Stand Up India Scheme
GoI had launched the ‘Stand Up India scheme’ on 5th April 2016 with an objective to facilitate bank loans between ₹10 lakh and ₹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. The scheme has since been extended upto 2025. NABARD and SIDBI Offices are designated as Stand-Up India Connect Centres (SUCC) on, portal. 
NABARD has been coordinating with Regional Offices to review the progress of the scheme and organize pre and post sanction handholding events for the promotion of the scheme. As on 31 March 2020, NABARD DDM’s have undertaken 2199 programmes in 507 districts.
Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS)
NABARD is one of the nodal agencies for implementing the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for Technology Upgradation of Micro & Small Enterprises of Government of India. In August 2019, the Office of Development Commissioner, MSME, GOI intimated continuation of the Scheme from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020. The Scheme supports induction of proven and improved technologies into micro and small units in specified products/sub-sectors. CLCSS subsidy applications pertaining to 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 (upto September 2019) received are scrutinized  as per GoI guidelines and forwarded to the Ministry for sanction of subsidy.
Contact Information:
Shri Devasis Padhi
Chief General Manager
5th Floor, ‘B’ Wing
C-24, ‘G’ Block
Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East)
Mumbai 400 051 
Tel: (91) 022-26530083 / 022 - 26539766
Fax: (91) 022-26530082 
Information under RTI – Section 4(1)(b)