Gist of Kurukshetra November 2023 Issue: Talent in Rural India

Kurukshetra Magazine is a vital source of study material for the UPSC IAS exam. It is a monthly magazine that gives information about important government schemes and programmes in various sectors. Kurukshetra is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Kurukshetra, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Gist of Kurukshetra November 2023
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1. PM Vishwakarma Yojana
2. Encouraging Micro-Entrepreneurship
3. Sustainability of Rural Enterprises - Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward 
4. Developing Talent in Healthcare

1. PM Vishwakarma Yojana

Context: PM Vishwakarma Yojana is a central sector scheme that aims to empower rural artisans and blend tradition and modernity.

About the Scheme:

  • The scheme aims to empower artisans by providing them with certificates and ID cards which recognise them as Viswakarma and providing collateral-free loans, skill development support, marketing support, incentives for digital transactions and toolkit support.
  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Department of Financial Services are converged as co-implementers of the scheme.
  • The state governments also have an active role in the verification of prospective beneficiaries and in the implementation and monitoring of the scheme.  
  • Empowering Auditions also result in the betterment of the social and economic conditions of rural parts of India.
  • The Scheme covers artisans and craftspeople engaged in 18 trades, viz.(i) Carpenter (Suthar/Badhai); (ii) Boat Maker; (iii) Armourer; (iv) Blacksmith (Lohar); (v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; (vi) Locksmith; (vii) Goldsmith (Sonar); (viii) Potter (Kumhaar); (ix) Sculptor (Moortikar, stone carver), Stone breaker; (x) Cobbler (Charmkar)/ Shoesmith/Footwear artisan; (xi) Mason (Rajmistri); (xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver; (xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional); (xiv) Barber (Naai); (xv) Garland maker (Malakaar); (xvi) Washerman (Dhobi); (xvii) Tailor (Darzi); and (xviii) Fishing Net Maker.
  • The minimum age of the beneficiary should be 18 years on the date of registration.

The Scheme envisages the following six interventions:

  1. Recognition: Recognition of artisans and craftspeople through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.
  2. Skill Upgradation: Basic Training of 5-7 days and Advanced Training of 15 days or more, with a stipend of Rs. 500 per day.
  3. Toolkit Incentive: A toolkit incentive of up to Rs. 15,000 in the form of e-vouchers at the beginning of Basic Skill Training.
  4. Credit Support: Collateral-free ‘Enterprise Development Loans’ of up to Rs. 3 lakh in two tranches of Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 2 lakh with tenures of 18 months and 30 months, respectively, at a concessional rate of interest fixed at 5%, with Government of India subvention to the extent of 8%. Beneficiaries who have completed Basic Training will be eligible to avail of the first tranche of credit support of up to Rs. 1 lakh. The second loan tranche will be available to beneficiaries who have availed of the 1st tranche and maintained a standard loan account and have adopted digital transactions in their business or have undergone Advanced Training.
  5. Incentive for Digital Transaction: An amount of Re. 1 per digital transaction, upto a maximum of 100 transactions monthly will be credited to the beneficiary’s account for each digital pay-out or receipt.
  6. Marketing Support: Marketing support will be provided to the artisans and craftspeople in the form of quality certification, branding, onboarding on e-commerce platforms such as GeM, advertising, publicity and other marketing activities to improve linkage to the value chain.

Read more on the PM Vishwakarma Yojana in the link.

2. Encouraging Micro-Entrepreneurship

Context:  Encouraging Microentrepreneurship can solve the problems faced by rural India and some of the direct benefits are the creation of employment reduced rural-urban migration and increased rural income.

Need and Impact:

  • More than 60% of the population is dependent on agriculture and this over-dependence has resulted in reduced land size which in turn affects the investments coming into agriculture.
  • Some of the impacts of over-dependence on agriculture are the limited scope of use of machinery, limited bargaining power and reduced output.
  • Encouraging micro-entrepreneurship can result in increased income for rural parts of the country and result in more investment in agriculture.
  • Micro Enterprises are defined as those that invest in plants and machinery up to 1 crore and the turnover does not exceed 5 crore. Micro Enterprises cater to the community or local market by selling goods and services thereby boosting the local economy.
  • Micro enterprises fill the gap left by official Enterprises and provide employment with additional income and convenience.
  • Micro entrepreneurship is also associated with low entry barriers and people with limited resources can also start a viable entity.
  • It is generally found that micro-enterprises are more innovative than larger enterprises.
  • Micro enterprises can also be resilient during economic downturns due to their small size and agility.

Schemes Promoting Entrepreneurship:

  • Aspire
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)
  • Startup India
  • SIP Protection in Electronics & IT (SIP-EIT) Scheme
  • Multiplier Grants Scheme
  • Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprise
  • Single Point Registration Scheme (SPRS)
  • Zero Effect Zero Defect Scheme

3. Sustainability of Rural Enterprises – Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward

Rural Enterprises are the backbone of India’s economy. They play an important role in the holistic development of the rural economy promoting economic and social development at the grassroots level which in turn contributes significantly to the country’s growth. 

What is Rural Enterprises?

Rural enterprises are business entities that promote revenue generation and act as agents of social change at the grassroots level. 

Rural enterprises can be broadly classified into two types:

  • Proprietary ownership
  • Group entrepreneurship: SHGs Cooperatives, and Producer companies.

According to official data released on April 30, 2022, India has more than 63 million MSMEs, out of which about 94% are micro-enterprises. This shows how important small businesses are to the economy of India.

Rural entrepreneurship holds immense potential to independently address significant socio-economic challenges at the grassroots level. However, it is currently hindered by various challenges that demand immediate attention and action.

Importance of Rural Entrepreneurship in India

  • Rural industries maximize local resources like raw materials and labour, boosting productivity and mobilizing rural savings to enhance rural funds.
  • Creates jobs in rural areas, addressing unemployment and underemployment, discourages rural-urban migration and curbs urban issues.
  • Preserves rural heritage through handicraft and art promotion via rural entrepreneurship.
  • Tackles social ills like poverty, slums, and pollution.
  • Empower rural youth by introducing them to entrepreneurship as a career choice.

Rural development sparks positive changes:

  • Sustainable farming practices
  • Agro-industries flourish
  • Traditional crafts revive in niche markets

Challenges Faced by the Rural Entrepreneurs

  • Initial challenges for rural entrepreneurs:
    • Social and gender biases
    • Limited business knowledge and skills
    • Difficulty assessing market viability and competition
  • Ongoing challenges:
    • Inconsistent market connections
    • Stiff competition from urban businesses
    • Inadequate infrastructure and logistics
    • Misunderstanding of government support programs for unskilled labour

Recovery Roadmap

India needs key initiatives to accelerate entrepreneurship: Essential rural skill and entrepreneurship programs are needed to grow the skilled workforce, foster economic activities and increase the number of rural enterprises. 

Three approaches can be adopted for Skilling and Entrepreneurship Development: Project Mode, Cluster Development and Incubation.

  • Project Mode Approach: Select participants, and provide training and support.
  • Cluster development fosters holistic development by creating forward and backward linkages.
  • In the Incubation approach, rural participants attend skill development training at an incubation centre, followed by a six-month to one-year incubation phase for product development and marketing.

Role of Government

  • The government’s initiatives, such as Start-up Village  Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP)  and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIS), play a pivotal role in supporting and scaling rural enterprises.
  • Other government schemes like Pradhan Mantri-YUVA and DAY-NRLM aim to expand entrepreneurship by supporting existing enterprises and fostering group women entrepreneurship in rural areas.
  • Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIS) offer skill and entrepreneurship training to rural unemployed youth, aiding them in starting their own businesses.
  • The Indian government and Tata Trusts have partnered to form the Foundation for Development of Rural Value Chains (FDRVC), which promotes large-scale producer enterprises and implements value chain projects.


  • To nurture rural entrepreneurship, and enhance access to resources, including mentorship and incubation centres. Government leadership is vital, but collaboration with civil society and NGOs is essential for sustainable support.
  • There is a need for sustained and focused efforts to promote rural entrepreneurship and create a conducive environment for aspiring rural entrepreneurs.

4. Developing Talent in Healthcare


India’s vast rural population faces healthcare challenges due to a shortage of trained professionals. The pandemic exacerbated this issue, prompting the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to launch a rural healthcare training program to address the shortfall.

India’s Healthcare Landscape: A Glimpse into the Current Situation

India’s healthcare workforce, especially in rural areas, is inadequate to meet the growing demand. The country’s current doctor-to-population ratio of 0.65 per 1,000 falls far below the WHO’s recommended ratio of 2.5. 

Initiatives like Ayushman Bharat and the National Health Policy are expected to further amplify the need for skilled healthcare professionals. To address this gap, India aims to increase the number of trained health personnel to at least 2.5 doctors and 5 nurses per 1,000 people by 2023-24. 

Vocational education in India, crucial for skilled manpower, faces challenges like content-industry mismatches, trainer scarcity, and limited accessibility. As a result, around 82% of the rural population lacks formal vocational training in healthcare and related sectors, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2021-22).

The government’s actions to address the problem

In response to this, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has collaborated with various ministries and organizations to initiate a project addressing the shortage of skilled healthcare workers in rural India. The ‘Skill for Life, Save a Life’ initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has standardized the curriculum for ten short-term courses in the health sector.

The National Education Policy (NEP) aims to integrate vocational education into the secondary and higher education curriculum. Every student should experience at least one vocational field, and the government will set up a committee to oversee this initiative. Incubation centres and a detailed National Skills Qualifications Framework will also be established to support vocational education.

Under the Skill India Mission, MSDE is conducting a Special Training program that encompasses fresh skilling, up-skilling, and training of drivers in handling life support medicines/equipment. The trained professionals can secure jobs in various healthcare sectors.

Additionally, the Pradhan Mantri YUVA (PM-YUVA) Yojana and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) aim to create an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurship education and regular monthly-wage jobs, respectively. The MSDE has also undertaken initiatives for the empowerment of women, partnering with Ayushman Bharat and Swachh Bharat Mission to equip women with market-relevant skills in healthcare.

The Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC) plays a pivotal role in evaluating and certifying healthcare sector candidates, ensuring a quality skilling ecosystem. 

Elevating Performance: Government’s Path to Improvement

Beyond existing schemes, there is potential for collaborations with NGOs and the corporate sector to increase productivity in various areas such as early childhood care, geriatric care, and nutrition counselling. Entrepreneurs, especially women, can be trained to produce nutritious food items, generating income for themselves. Rural youth can be trained in physiotherapy and sports nutrition to provide health and wellness services to villagers.

Moreover, educational loans at concessional interest rates can be provided for candidates joining nutrition/health-related courses, with loan repayments waived for those serving rural populations. 

To strengthen the rural health infrastructure, effective collaborations between NGOs, the private sector, and village administrations are essential. 

Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG-4 and SDG-8, these initiatives aim to ensure equal access to quality education, eliminate gender disparities, and enhance employability by providing relevant skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship.


Prioritizing skill development in healthcare and allied sectors for rural masses is crucial for India’s progress. The collaborative efforts of various ministries, organizations, and councils are making strides in bridging the gap between demand and supply of skilled healthcare workers, ultimately contributing to the well-being of the nation.

Related Links
Skill India Mission PM PRANAM
Green Finance Digital India
National Action Plan on Climate Change World Bank


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