Promotion of Rural Off Farm Sector assumes significance in the context of the pressing need of reducing rural India’s over dependence on agriculture by providing alternate livelihood options and thereby curbing large-scale migration of small and marginal farmers and agricultural laborers to urban areas. Over the past three decades, NABARD designed several refinance and promotional schemes for development of Rural Off Farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base and refine them in response to field level needs. The focus has been on greater 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 the decentralized sector in the rural areas.
Building an entrepreneurial culture and necessary skills among the rural youth and women has been a priority area for NABARD along with developing markets for the rural Off Farm sector. NABARD has also been actively involved in promoting innovations in rural areas in Farm and Off-Farm sectors.
Policy on Rural Off-Farm Sector
As per extant policy, NABARD provides financial support for providing end to end solutions for promotion of activities which generate or enhance livelihoods under the Rural Off-Farm Sector. A project is expected to cover potential survey, capacity building, support services, marketing aspects, etc., for viable activities under Rural Off-Farm Sector. One or all activities could be covered for support, depending on the availability of multiple stakeholders as part of end-to-end solutions.
Financial support is provided in the form of grant depending on the nature of the project and activities within the project, stakeholders, etc.
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.
To enable the artisans not only to market their products but also to benefit directly from the market feedback for better value realization of their products in future, financial assistance by way of grant is provided on selective basis.
NABARD supports and provides marketing platform to rural artisans and producers to exhibit their traditional art crafts, produce and products through exhibitions and melas which facilitate the artisans to showcase their talents through their product to urban India and also enable them to sell their products directly to the consumer without middlemen.
Rural Hart / Marts
In order to provide rural producers trading opportunities locally and in nearby town, NABARD has been supporting setting up of Rural Haat and Marts through grant assistance
Geographical Indication. Geographical Indication (GI) is a form of Intellectual Property that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location. A GI right allows the holder to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. Darjeeling Tea, Basmati Rice, Banarasi Sarees, Lucknow Chikan, Pashmina Shawls, Madhubani Paintings, Makrana Marbles, Madurai Malli, to name a few, are some well-known examples of GI in India.
GIs can play an important role in rural development through empowering communities, acting as product differentiators, supporting brand building, creating local employment, generating spin-off effects in tourism and gastronomy, preserving traditional knowledge, and conserving biodiversity, among others.
To give a boost to these products on the export front, NABARD has provided financial support for the creation of dedicated product catalogue in three international languages for 10 GI products of Varanasi. The GI tagging has helped in generating interest and better price realisation to the artisans.
Skill Development Initiatives
As an effort to institutionalize the Entrepreneurship and Skill Development initiatives, NABARD provides support to specialised institutions viz., RUDSETI/RUDSETI type of Institutions & RSETIs, which provide entrepreneurship development and training to rural youth/women on various skills, which can generate better livelihood options. Assistance is provided to these institutions, which comply with the criteria stipulated by NABARD.
In order to broad base the skill initiatives , in addition to RSETI/RUDSETI, new set of partner agencies (NSDC affiliated training institutes, Government agencies, Corporates under CSR, NGOs, Trusts and other voluntary agencies) have been included so as to cover the skill requirements of different segments of society.
Rural Innovation & Tourism
Recognising the need for imparting necessary entrepreneurial skills to the rural youth, NABARD initiated capacity building measures through the introduction of Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (REDPs) & Skill Development Programme (SDPs). In order to broad base our skill initiatives through partnering with new set of institutions as also through undertaking skill activities in emerging areas, NABARD supports skill initiatives through RUDSETI/RSETI, NSDC affiliated Corporate Partners, NGOs/ VAs etc.. However, NABARD continues to support rural innovations”.