Lifting the rural sector to the top of the pyramid … WeSchool shows the way at AuRum 2013…

Oct 29, 2013 | Posted by admin in Events & Happenings   No Comments »

“Go Rural, Solve community’s problems through industry”

“Sow seeds of education and vocation”

“Have patience and time to understand the rural people”

AuRuM 2013

Prof Anuja Agarwal Head ,PGDM Rural Management(Emerging Economies)  welcomed the members from industry and academia to the roundtable conference . Students of PGDM-Rural Management (Emerging Economies) set the context through a short presentation, giving a snapshot the current global scenario and Indian rural sector, highlighting the challenges and opportunities within it.Mr Ramesh Iyer – CEO Mahindra Finance was invited to moderate the roundtable discussion that saw a number of corporate leaders  devoted to the upliftment of the rural economy and strengthen  it as an engine of growth for India.

The salient points which emerged during the roundtable discussion are summarized here -


“Why Rural?” is not the question now. It is only the how, what, where that we have to define in rural sector. Data about rural sector is available but now we need knowledge. Understanding rural markets is a matter of survival for the companies now. Real challenge is how we reach out to the rural market and implement our strategy. Rural markets are phenomenal and Emotional. Trust building is the most critical factor there.

As a result of the government spending worth Rs. 7,00,000 crores (18% priority sector lending) we are already seeing the rural sector as “Consumptive sector”.


“Who needs whom?” “We need the rural more than they need us.”

Rural folks are more knowledgeable, so they reject a product if it is not useful to them. We should not take them for granted but we must live their challenges and don’t just work from the headquarters alone. If we deliberate on these issues and compile it, it will be the “Strategy Book on Rural”.

Role of the Government is to do the development job, providing the basic infrastructure and role of private sector is to take up business ventures based on that. It is the corporate sector which has to take up business models which will bring “Profits at the bottom of the pyramid”


“Make rural fashionable”

To make the rural sector as the most sought after socio-economic class, we have to lift the income level of rural people and then provide them the goods and services of fairly good quality which they can buy with their increased income.

We need to provide attention to – Basic health assurance, Timely credit availability, skill building, transfer of technology, controlling land fragmentation problem, creating warehouses and other infrastructure. Low ticket finance and easy access to information are key areas for development.


Product innovation for rural consumer needs to done with more human centred approach. Involving all stakeholders including the rural people in creating a solution and providing relevant training to them works the best. Focus of the companies should be to provide solutions to problem “As Is”. We should not just to sell a product but to incorporate the services and knowledge about the product into a complete solution. Companies who wish to enter the rural markets should start living on thin margins.

We should be able to create solutions which will have 20% strategy and 80% skill set development.  There should be business investment in rural areas and not just charity or CSR. People participation through through farmers’ club, SHGs, Producer company should be ensured. Understanding agri value chain and more investment in infrastructure for agriculture is a must.

Rural youth should be empowered by training them for alternate employment options in non-farm activities and using IT & mobile based technology platforms thus reducing over-dependence on agriculture which is not a profitable venture.

More rural focussed internships and research projects will be the key to develop rural insights for the budding rural managers.

We, the industry and academia should together create a compelling learning ecosystem in rural management. Industries can share their challenges and students can work on them.


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