UPSC Exam Preparation-Gist of Kurukshetra January 2019 Issue: Empowering Rural Youth

UPSC Exam Preparation: Gist of Kurukshetra January 2019 Issue: Empowering Rural Youth

Table of Contents: Empowering Rural Youth












Chapter 1: Introduction

In India, more than 65 per cent of the population is below the age or 35 years. This favourable demographic dividend has unlocked ample opportunities for India to channelize the energy of youth in the right direction.


It is evident from the various schemes being implemented by the government for empowerment of the youth, in particular rural youth, that it is committed to reap the benefits of this favourable demographic dividend. The focus of the government, right from the beginning, is on empowering rural youth through various rural-centric schemes. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, MGNREGA Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), Make in India, Skill India, Start-Up India, Stand Up India are some of the major schemes.


The empowerment of rural youth depends largely upon the development of villages. The government has taken constructive measures for the development of villages by empowering Gram Panchayats financially. Increased flow of funds to Gram Panchayats has boosted the pace of development of infrastructure in rural areas, setting up of small scale manufacturing units, food processing centres, and small scale business units, this has provided alternative employment opportunities to rural youth and their dependence on agricultural activities as the only employment avenue has been reduced to some extent.


Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin has motivated the rural youth to live in the villages by providing housing facilities like urban areas and contribute to local development instead of migrating to cities to seek employment. Large scale construction activities under the scheme have opened enormous employment opportunities for youth in rural areas. Through MGNREGA, non-agricultural activities are being promoted in rural areas which not only provide alternative employment opportunities, but also increase income of the youth engaged in such activities.


Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in India have the potential of providing employment to a large number of youth every year. Realizing this vast potential, particularly of micro enterprises, the present government is paying special attention to Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programme which promotes setting up of such enterprises by giving them several incentives. Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), a sub component of National Rural Livelihood Mission, of the Ministry of Rural Development aims at helping the rural poor, including artisans and weavers, to set up enterprises at the village level generating employment opportunities for rural youth. Village Adoption Programme (VAP) is another such unique programme under Ministry of Food Processing Industries, which promotes entrepreneurship in food processing and agri-business in rural areas thus empowering rural youth.


In education sector, Samagra Shiksha launched by the government aims at enhancing learning outcomes at school level with the use of technology to empower teachers and students both. This scheme provides adequate opportunities for rural youth to participate in technology based educational and teaching programmes. To impart digital literacy among the rural youth, PMGDISHA has been launched which is proving to be a boon to rural youth.


There are several such measures taken by the present government in all possible fields aiming at empowering of rural youth. PM MUDRA Yojana is one such path breaking scheme. Taking advantage of the loans distributed under this scheme, the youth of rural India have not only set up their own enterprises, but they have also become employers by providing employment to many others in their micro enterprises the need to empower rural youth for a better tomorrow is connected to their financial empowerment as well as improving the quality of living. Various schemes of the government for rural youth aim at empowerment of villages leading to the empowerment of rural youth which is imperative for all round development of the country.

Chapter 2: Empowerment of Rural Youth

Today, 62 per cent of India’s population is below the age of 59 years. More than 65 percent of the country’s population is of the youth below the age of 35 years. This makes India the youngest country in the world. While most developing countries are facing the challenge of ageing population, India’s demographic situation is very favourable.

  • It is estimated that by the year 2020, the population of India would have a median age of 28 years only as against 38 years for United States, 42 years for China and 48 years for Japan.
  • In fact, this favourable situation of demographic dividend in itself has opened the floodgate of vast opportunities for India, but to tap its full potential, it is crucial that the country’s economy has the capacity to handle this increase in labour force.
  • Besides, youth should be equipped with appropriate education, skill, positive work attitude, the spirit of commitment and devotion for innovative contribution in the economy.
  • Economists estimate that developed countries may have to face a shortage of more than 5 crore 70 lakh semi-skilled human resources while in India, there is a possibility of generation of about 4 crore 70 lakh manpower in surplus.
  • This will not only meet the requirements of the domestic industry sector, but India will also be able to contribute significantly in meeting the demand of manpower at the global level.
  • About 70 percent of the country’s population lives in villages and agriculture is one sector which is providing employment to the largest number of people.
  • Despite this, the contribution of agriculture sector in the country’s gross domestic product is only 13 percent.

“Skill Development and Productivity of the Workforce”:

  • In the report of the NITI Aayog on “Skill Development and Productivity of the Workforce”, it has been mentioned that 70% of India’s labour force inhabits the rural areas, which is dependent on low productive agricultural activities and where employment opportunities are very less. This causes decline in quality of production.
  • The report has expressed happiness over the fact that it is through MGNREGA, efforts are being made in rural Report to coordinate laid down priorities for rural development with the training system and promotion of those non-agricultural activities which might increase the income of the rural people.
  • This report also affirms that most of the rural households engaged in farming have disguised unemployment.

What has to be done to reap the benefits of Demographic dividend?

  • On the one hand, unskilled workers are required to be given appropriate skill-training, while the workers of the vast unorganized sector are required to be brought under the ambit of the organized sector so that they can get the benefits of social security.
  • Empowerment of rural youth is directly related to the empowerment of villages. The faster the pace of village empowerment and the wider its scope, the empowerment of rural youth will be as comprehensive and effective.
  • After the economic reforms, the country’s rural areas have witnessed transformation and in this era of technological revolution, the youth of rural areas have access to communication and other facilities. In a scenario where urban migration has been causing double damage to the country, it is imperative to empower villages. On one hand, there is an unnecessary burden on the already limited infrastructure and resources of the urban area, while on the other hand, his own village becomes a victim of neglect.
  • The 14th Central Finance Commission has increased the grant for village panchayats for the development of villages for a period of five years.
  • Dependency on agriculture as a major employment avenue of rural youth has reduced, and the income of the rural households is now supplemented by activities like small scale manufacturing, construction, food processing, repair and semi-skilled or unskilled services. Agriculture Clinics, Agri-Business Centers and Common Service Centers are also helping in the socio-economic empowerment of rural youth
  • Nearly half of our country’s population is dependent on agriculture or allied activities and this sector provides only partial employment. Thus, full or proper use of capable man-power in the form of rural youth is not being made. Providing skill training to such a large unskilled human resource is no less than a challenge. If efforts are made to showcase agriculture as a profitable business, a large number of educated and trained youth will be drawn to this business. For this, it is necessary to give industry status to agriculture.

Steps taken to support MSMEs:

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of the Indian economy. These enterprises have to play a decisive role in making India an economy worth 50 trillion US dollars by 2022 and providing employment. Together, in micro, small and medium sectors, there are (51%) operating in rural areas and (49%) in urban areas.

  • The government has implemented two-point program for making micro, small and medium enterprises and start-ups as engines of development for India.
  • Under the first program, with the aim to improve country’s large economic indicators, emphasis was given on ease of doing business and on top to bottom improvement programs. It has benefitted all entrepreneurs especially MSMEs and start-ups.
  • As a second step, a policy was adopted to give special incentives at the lower level of these enterprises and start-ups so that they can accelerate the pace of development, and mobilize employment opportunities for nearly one million Indians who emerge as labour force every month.
  • Initiatives like introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), institutional mechanism for settlement of debt relief and bankruptcy cases, liberality in FDI, strict and effective action in the case of bad debts of banks and massive investment in infrastructure have proved as life giving force for MSMEs and start-ups.
  • The ‘e-market place portal’ has been launched to streamline the government procurement system.
  • Apart from this, under long-term government purchase policy of the Government of India, it is now mandatory for every Central Ministry/Department/Public Sector Undertaking to procure at least 20 per cent of the total annual procurement of goods and services from Micro and Small Enterprises.
  • “Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion” has launched a start-up tour program, under which a mobile van is sent to second / third tier towns to identify and promote entrepreneurial talents there.

Other steps taken by the government for rural development:

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has helped increase the agricultural productivity as well as the income of rural households.
  • Through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, availability of at least one, all weather road-link is being ensured for every eligible settlement in all the districts of the country. This has ensured easy access to amenities like education, health and market for the rural areas and its youth. This has remarkably contributed in empowering the rural youth.
  • Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission is being implemented with the aim to improve the quality of life of households under this, special attention is being given to the rural poor families, people who carry human faecal waste, victims of human trafficking, deprived tribal groups, differently-abled and legally released bonded labourers. At least one female member of the specified rural poor family is included in Self-Help Groups and related organizations in a time bound manner.
  • Through introduction of the Startup Village Entrepreneurship Program (SVEP) rural poor are being supported to set up enterprises, thus bringing them out of the poverty line.
  • Pradhan Mantrl Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyan (PM-YUVA) is an ongoing scheme of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Under the scheme, entrepreneurship education is given to encourage entrepreneurship and help people to become self-employed within the country.
  • Further, an end to end customized entrepreneurship orientation module has been integrated under the Life Skill Course module in the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) Courses so that candidates undergoing PMKVY skill training receive orientation in entrepreneurship.
  • In Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) courses, the module on Entrepreneurship is already integrated as a section in the employability skills.
  • Among several measures of youth empowerment, MUDRA Yojana is the one through which crores of youth have gained employment. Under this, women in large number have also adopted self-employment.

The concept of “New India” free from poverty, unemployment and corruption is intrinsic to our culture and national values, but to achieve this, every Indian will have to come forward with strong determination and willpower.

Chapter 3: Empowerment of Youth through Skilling

In today’s technology-driven labour market, there is an immediate need to integrate ICT knowledge into formal school learning. The employers also have a major role in providing skill training and exposure to latest technology through apprenticeship and on the job training.

Some of the Government initiatives in this regard are:

  1. National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS):
  • It was launched with the objective of providing Apprenticeship Training to 50 lakh youth by 2020.
    • Under the scheme the Government will share 25% of prescribed stipend subject to a maximum of Rs 1500/- per month per apprentice with the employers.
    • It has a user friendly on-line portal designed to facilitate easy processing of entire apprenticeship cycle.
    • State Apprenticeship Advisers (SAAs) and Regional Directorates of Apprenticeship (RDAIs) act as implementing agencies in their respective state/Regions.
    • Apprentice training in Optional trades is delivered by the National skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
    • To improve the industry connect, Directorate General of Training (DGE&T), M/o Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has adopted the German model of Vocational Education system in India by Introducing Dual System of Training (DST).
    • Dual System combines practical training in the industry and theoretical training along with foundation practical in ITI(s) which leads to better ITI — Industry linkage.
    • Under this, ITIs are required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with industries under information to the respective State.
  1. Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP):
  • Government is implementing the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) with the objective of helping the rural poor including artisans and weavers to set up enterprises at the village level in non-agricultural sectors.
  • It is a sub-scheme under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).
  • It was launched with the objective of helping rural poor by helping them set-up sustainable enterprises.
  1. Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs):
  • Ministry of Rural Development has been implementing the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) for rural youth, which seeks to diversify household income of rural poor.
  • RSETI is a three-way partnership amongst Ministry of Rural Development, State Government and Banks.
  • RSETIs provide training in Agriculture, Process, Product and General Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) courses to candidates leading to self-employment.
  • Some candidates take up wage employment as well.
  1. National Employability Enhancement Mission:
    • The objective of National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) is to offer on-the-job practical training to enhance employability of a person either pursuing his or her graduation/diploma in any technical or non-technical stream or discontinued studies of degree or diploma course to increase their employability.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC):

  • NSDC has entered into a strategic partnership with Facebook to empower youth and entrepreneurs with digital skills in India.
  • The partnership, signed in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, will enable Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to incorporate Facebook’s training on Digital Marketing Skills in its courses, besides providing trainees with access to local, domestic and international markets.
  • The programme includes courses on digital marketing, online safety and financial literacy in regional languages with Facebook imparting training to people nominated by the NSDC.

Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY):

  • The scheme aims at enhancing the skill sets of potential emigrant workers in select sectors and job roles, in line with international standards, to facilitate overseas employment.
  • As part of the scheme India International skills centers (IISCs) have been set up in various parts of the country to exclusively focus on skilling, assessment and qualifications that are internationally acceptable.

Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS):

  • Jan Shikshan Sansthans earlier known as ‘Shramik Vidyapeeth’ have been established to concentrate on empowerment of unskilled persons, women, persons belonging to SC/ ST/OBC communities and Minorities.
  • JSS organizes two types of activities:

(i) Vocational Courses: Training programmes involving skills/practical application leading to market demand and Income generation.

(ii) Conduct suggestive activities other than Life Enrichment Education components. The unique advantage of JSS is that it is able to deliver skill training; vocational training at the doorsteps of beneficiaries and it is also present in a lot of interior parts of the country.

National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET):

  • The Union Cabinet approved the merger of the existing regulatory institutions in the skills space viz; National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).
  • The primary functions of NCVET include:

(i) Recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers

(ii)  Approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs); (iii) Indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies; etc.

To sum up, for long term employability of the rural youth, it is essential to ensure that youth complete at least the required secondary level schooling that is essential for pursuing skill development courses that would provide sustainable employment. In the era of rapid technological development, the emphasis of skilling should shift from short-term courses to long term courses so that the youth are able to sustain in the rapidly evolving job market.

Chapter 4: Education Initiatives for Rural Youth

The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UNCHS-Habitat) defines youth empowerment as “the circumstances and factors which enhance the development of citizenship and productiveness among young people as they move into adulthood. It is concerned with the adaptation of government structures and institutions to protect and deliver children’s, youths” and human rights, including the right to participation”. The word ’empowerment’ means giving power.

Empowerment through education has two key strands:

  • First, education is a powerful driver for effecting cultural change. Education is the key to developing and delivering an equitable society.
  • Second, among other things, education helps individuals prepare themselves for the challenges they might later face in life. Education aids economic independence, enhances the ability of decision making and provides opportunities to connect and communicate.

The ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity to India. However, in order to capture this demographic dividend, it is essential that the economy has the ability to support the increase in the labour force and the youth have the appropriate education, skills, health awareness and other enablers to productively contribute to the economy initiatives taken in education for youth empowerment.

Samagra Shiksha:

  • Under this Scheme, school education is treated holistically from pre-nursery to Class 12.
  • Samagra Shiksha has been prepared with the goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
  • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Two very critical components of this programme are Digital Education and Skill Development.

Saakshar Bharat Programme:

  • Saakshar Bharat Programme is another initiative of Government of India that goes beyond Reading, Writing & Arithmetic.
  • It seeks to create awareness of social disparities. It aims to create a literate society through a variety of teaching learning programmes for non-literate and neo-literate of 15 years and above.
  • The objective of the Scheme is achieving 80% literacy level at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy so as to reduce the gap between male and female literacy.
  • The four key elements of the programme are:
  1. Imparting functional literacy and numeracy to non-literates
  2. Acquiring equivalency to formal educational system
  3. Imparting relevant skill development programme
  4. Promoting a learning society by providing opportunities for continuing education.

Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS):

  • The scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) is a unique scheme of Government of India.
  • The Jan Shikshan Sansthan are unique in a way that they do not provide just skill development, but link literacy with vocational skills to provide Life Enrichment Education (LEE)
  • The aim is to shape their beneficiaries into self-reliant and self-assured employees and entrepreneurs.
  • They provide need based and literacy-linked vocational training in most courses without insisting on age limit or prior educational qualifications.
  • They offer a multi-faceted skill-knowledge-awareness enhancement and outlook formation trainings and inputs and empowerment-oriented interventions in respect of social, economic and health status improvement of women and adolescent girls.
  • Today, there 221 Jan Shikshan Sansthan in the country and they are expected to act as district level resource support agencies especially in vocational training and skill development programmes for the neo-literates and other target groups of the continuing education programme.

Digital India:

  • Another programme linked to youth empowerment is the Digital India campaign.
  • It aims to ensure that the Government’s services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology.
  • The initiative includes connecting rural areas with high-speed Internet networks.
  • Digital India consists of three core components:
    1. The development of secure and stable digital infrastructure
    2. Delivering government services digitally
    3. Universal digital literacy

National Scholarship:

  • The National Scholarship Portal is the Government of India’s initiative to provide financial assistance to deserving students by awarding them scholarships to pursue higher education.
  • It is taken as Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan (NGP).
  • The initiative aims at providing a Simplified, Mission-oriented, Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) System for faster and effective disbursal of scholarships applications and the delivery of funds directly into the beneficiaries’ account without any leakage.
  • The primary objectives are to ensure timely disbursement of scholarships to students.

National Apprenticeship Training Scheme:

  • The National Apprenticeship Training Scheme in India is a one year programme equipping technically qualified youth with practical knowledge and skills required in their field of work.
  • At the end of the training period, the apprentices are issued a Certificate of Proficiency by Government of India which can be registered at all employment exchanges across India as valid employment experience.
  • National Apprenticeship Training Scheme is one of the flagship programmes of Government of India for Skilling Indian Youth.
  • The Scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Under the Department of Higher Education.
  • The Scheme is only for Freshers. Candidates who are already having work experience cannot undergo Apprenticeship Training and the Apprentice can join for Apprenticeship Training only once in his lifetime.

Schemes under All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE):

AICTE has various, schemes and special scholarship to promote technical education.

  • Post Graduate Scholarship Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) which aims to build up capacities in youth of J&K;
  • Pragati Scholarship for girls pursuing Diploma and Undergraduate Degree level AICTE approved institution programmes / courses;
  • Sakshom Scholarship for differently abled students;
  • AICTE-Inoe Travel Grant Scheme for engineering students who want to present papers abroad;
  • Prerana Scheme for preparing SC/ST students for higher education;
  • Samriddhi Scheme for SC/ST students for setting start-ups;
  • National Doctoral Fellowship (NDF) for scholars who seek admission to Ph.D. in AICTE approved Technical Institutes/University Departments for carrying out research;
  • Support to Students for Participating in Competition Abroad (SSPCA) aims to provide travel assistance registration fees to a team of students for attending competition at international level;
  • Smart India Hackathon and M.Tech Projects as Internship with Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) Scheme to nurture an innovation ecosystem

The National Post-Doctoral Fellowship:

  • The National Post-Doctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) is aimed to identify motivated young researchers and provide them support for doing research in science and engineering.
  • This is given by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • The Department also has a Women Scientists Scheme wherein women are given Fellowships to conduct research in the area of science and technology.

Chapter 5: Financial Inclusion for Rural Youth

Globally, financial inclusion is considered as the most effective tool for development and well-being of all sections of the society especially, the youth. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognized the role of financial Inclusion in achieving 15 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include alleviation of poverty, creation of jobs, gender equality, good health, etc.

One of the main goals of financial inclusion is inclusive and sustainable economic growth, by freeing the poor sections of the society from the clutches of the money lenders. Large scale access of financial services like credit, savings, insurance facilities and easy cash by way of ATM facility have positive impact on household consumption, self-employment, poverty as well as overall well-being of the common people.

India’s progress:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) initiated by the government is an addition to the long term mission of financial inclusion.
  • India’s digital inclusion depends on ‘Bharat Net’, a project expected to provide high-speed ubiquitous broadband connectivity on optical fibre to Gram Panchayats at low tariffs.
  • The latest edition of the Global Findex (GFX) which was conducted by the World Bank in 2017 shows that India’s GFX was at 35 in 2011, increased to 80 in 2017. Interestingly, China’s GFX too stood at 80 in 2017. This reflects a speedy improvement in financial inclusion suggesting that relevant Indian policies in the last few years worked well.

What is financial literacy?

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), financial literacy is: understanding of financial products and concepts by consumers/investors, their ability and confidence to appreciate financial risks and opportunities, capability to make informed choices, and enable them to take other effective action to improve their financial well-being.

Some Policy Initiatives of the Government:

There are various initiatives taken by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in order to achieve financial inclusion. They include:

  • Introduction of lead scheme (1969)
  • Nationalisation of Scheduled Commercial Banks (1969),
  • Regulation of interest rates on the bank loans extended to weaker sections (1972),
  • Establishment and expansion of Rural Credit Co-operatives (1980),
  • Establishment of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in (1975),
  • Nationalisation of another six banks (1980),
  • Launching of Self Help Group Bank Linkage Programme (SHG-BLP) in 1992,
  • Issuance of licenses to new private sector banks (1993)
  • Implementation of PMJDY (2014)

1.Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

  • The scheme offers incentives such as insurance coverage, RuPay cards, and over draft (OD) facility apart from Direct Benefit Transfers (DBTs).
  • Mere opening of account is not financial inclusion. There should be a continuity and consistency in use of banking services at a reasonable cost to every citizen of the nation.
  • Besides PMJDY, there are three social security schemes namely Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) targeted especially for the poor and the under-privileged.
  • While the total number of savings bank accounts witnessed a phenomenal growth of over 20 times, savings bank deposits increased by more than 7 times during the period 2010-2018

2. Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Loans:

  • MUDRA, a financial institution was set up by the Government of India for development and refinancing of micro enterprises.
  • The scheme aimed at providing micro-finance to the non-corporate small business sector through various last-mile financial institutions.
  • It covers credit plus services including financial literacy and other social support services, in order to achieve the goal of “Funding the Unfunded”.

Loan Category

1. Shishu (loan of up to Rs 50,000)
2. Kishor (loan of above Rs 50,000 and up to Rs 5 lakh)
3. Tarun (loan of above Rs 5,00,000 and up to Rs 10 lakh)
  • Among the three categories, Shishu loan had the highest share of 42 per cent in terms of sanctioned loan amount which was followed by kishor (34%) and Tarun (24%).
  • Recently, the Government of India announced a scheme for sanction of loan of up to Rs 1 crore with 59 minutes to MSMEs, which are registered under Goods & Services Tax (GST) in order to boost entrepreneurship and increasing access to institutional credit to MSMEs.

3. Payments Banks

  • The Government of India’s latest initiative of issuance of licence to Payments Banks is mainly to encourage micro savings and inculcate banking habits among the rural poor and the financially excluded.
  • The Postal Payments Bank is expected to achieve the last mile in financial inclusion given its wide office network of more than 155000 branches mainly in remote and far-flung areas.


  • It is essential to achieve financial inclusion in every aspect namely savings, credit, insurance, pension, remittances, and financial advisory services.
  • This is the pathway to empower the rural youth and financially excluded.
  • Imparting financial literacy and ensuring consumer protection are very important in the journey of financial inclusion since credit without skills and financial knowledge may result in debt trap for the poor.

Chapter 6: NABARD: Building Capacity of Rural Youth

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):

  • NABARD is an apex development bank formed by an Act of Parliament in 1982.
  • It is wholly owned by the Government of India.
  • The mandate of the organization is promoting sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development through participative financial and non-financial interventions, innovations, technology and institutional development for securing prosperity.
  • The functions of the organization are aimed at building an empowered and financially inclusive rural India.
  • NABARD plays an important role in skill formation and capacity building of the young men and women in rural areas.

1.Capacity Building through Microfinance Movement

  • NABARD has launched the self-Help Group Bank Linkage Programme (SHG-BLP) in 1992 with a target of linking 500 SHGs in a year’s time.
  • The programme aims at improving access of the weaker and other sections from format financial institutions and also their livelihood the programme has helped the social and economic empowerment of rural people, especially women, causing significant up-scaling of social capital while at the same time, delivering financial services since 2006, NABARD has started enabling graduation of SHG members to the next higher level of livelihoods through the Micro Enterprise Development Programmes (MEDPs).
  • It was understood from the experience of MEDPs that skill training is successful when it is combined with right selection of trainees, proper hand-holding and motivation, timely credit, marketing support and mentoring by NGOs, Banks and Government agencies.
  • Therefore, from December 2015, Livelihood Enterprise Development Programme (LEDP), a holistic approach form livelihoods and enterprise development for creating sustainable livelihoods among SHG members was introduced.
  • Similarly, Joint Liability Group (JLG) is another innovative microfinance product developed by NABARD. This programme has emerged as one of the easiest and collateral-free mode of purveying institutional credit to the landless and tenant farmers/artisans by the formal banking system.

2. Capacity building in Farm Sector: Formers Clubs:

  • NABARD has been implementing the Farmers’ Club (FC) Programme aimed at forging linkages of farmers with banks and agricultural technologies.
  • In 1982, Vikas Volunteer Vahini (VVV) programme was introduced to propagate the five principles of “Development through Credit”
  • In 2005, the VVV programme was renamed as Farmers’ Club Programme.
  • The goal of this programme is capacity building and empowerment of the farming community and more particularly the small and marginal farmers across rural areas.
  • During the year 1998-99, NABARD has introduced the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Scheme in conjunction with Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks to smoothen and strengthen the credit delivery system and to make available timely and hassle-free bank credit to the farmers.

Agri-Clinic & Agri-Business Centre (ACABC):

  • Of late, start-up training is also offered to graduates in Agriculture or any subject allied to Agriculture like Horticulture, Sericulture, Veterinary Science, Forestry, Dairy, Poultry Farming, Fisheries, etc.
  • Select Graduates interested to open the Centre are given intensive training on various aspects of agriculture such as method of practices, entrepreneurship, management and skill improvement.
  • After completion of the training, they can apply for special start-up loans for their venture.
  • The centers give advice to farmers on crop selection, best farm practices, post-harvest value added options, price trends, risk mitigation mechanism, crop insurance, credit and inputs access etc.

Tribal Development Fund:

  • Under this Fund, assistance is given to tribal households to have a wadi (small orchard), allied and Off-farm activates.
  • Training and capacity building, processing, marketing, micro enterprise for women/landless, community health improvement, women empowerment and building community organizations are the other components of the TDF projects.

Farmers Produce Organisations (FPOs):

Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) is an entity formed by primary producers, viz. farmers, milk producers, fishermen, weavers, rural artisans, craftsmen. An FPO can be a Producer Company, a Cooperative Society or any other legal form which provides for sharing of profits/benefits among the members. The likely benefits of farmers joining and promoting Farmer Producer Organisation/Company are the following:

  • Brings farmers together and gives them strength and confidence.
  • Provides a platform to collectively voice their opinions and concerns.
  • Helps the members in negotiating for a better position.
  • Supplies crop inputs to farmers at a reduced rate.
  • Offers financial, technical and extension support.
  • Improves capability by demonstration, training and exposure visit.
  • Aggregates the crop produce and improves the bargaining power.
  • Helps in reducing distress sale by providing pledge loan facility
  • Provides additional employment by adding value to the produce through cleaning, grading processing and packing
  • Links with processors, wholesaler and consumer for direct sale

Skill Development in Non-Farm Sector:

  • The focus has always been on skill updating and capacity building of the rural entrepreneurs on different activities such as small, cottage and village industries, handloom, handicrafts and other rural crafts and service sector.
  • Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programme (REDP) is one of the important Non-Farm Sector (NFS) promotional programmes supported by NABARD for creating sustainable employment and income opportunities in a cost-effective manner for the benefit of educated unemployed rural youth.
  • The objective of the programme is to develop entrepreneurial and activity-oriented skills among unemployed rural youth willing to set up small/ micro-enterprises by assisting Voluntary Agencies (VA)/ Non- Governmental Organisations (NGO)/ Development Agencies (DA)/ RUDSETIs etc. with good track record in conducting REDPs.

Other assistance by NABARD:

  • NABARD extends financial assistance by way of grant for setting up of Rural Haats and Rural Marts.
  • It also provides support to specialized institutions such as RUDSETI/RSETIs for providing entrepreneurship development and training to rural entrepreneurs, which can generate better livelihood options.
  • NABARD through its three training establishments, i.e., Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD) — Lucknow, Mangalore and Bolpur offers skill training and capacity building of bankers and officials of NGOs in farm, off-farm and micro finance sectors that would have the potential to promote livelihood opportunities and employment in rural areas.

Chapter 7: Skilling Youth through Suryamitra

Renewable energy is one of these targeted sectors, and National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) is assigned with the responsibility to execute the various skill development programmes throughout the country in the field of renewable energy technology.  It is the apex National R&D institution in the field of Solar Energy.

Suryamitra Skill Development Program:

  • Government of India intends to achieve the target of 175 GW which includes 100 GW from Solar Energy by 2022.
  • NISE is conducting “Suryamitras” training program to provide skilled technicians for installation, commissioning, operation & maintenance in the field of solar technology.
  • The objective of this program is to provide employability and entrepreneurship to rural and urban youth & women.
  • Suryamitra is a residential program which is 100% funded by Govt of India and implemented by NISE across the country.
  • It is a Solar PV Technician course which has been designed to develop skilled and employable workforce (Suryamitras) catering to the needs of Solar PV industries and EPC Projects in installation, commissioning, and operation & maintenance of solar power plants and equipment.
  • Higher qualified participants such as B.Tech etc. are not eligible.
  • The course teaches the basics of electrical, SPV applications and solar power plant including standards preventive maintenance, troubleshooting etc.
  • This course is designed and oriented as per requirement of solar industry.
  • At the end of the Suryamitra program, the host institute arrange for placement of the “Suryamitra” by inviting, solar industries, EPC companies, marketing companies, large contractors working with Transco, Discoms etc.
  • Suryamitras are also capable of taking assignments as entrepreneurs for self-employment.
  • Suryamitras with the help of NISE ensure standard functioning and servicing of Solar PV and thermal systems to all customers.

Surya Mitra mobile App:

  • Surya Mitra mobile App has been launched to connect Suryamitras with entrepreneurship and larger section of society.
  • This innovative mobile approach shall enhance the employment of trained youth in solar PV technology and also improve the businesses of solar entrepreneurs because of quality servicing, maintenance and repairing professionals are now available to customers at the click of a button on their mobiles.
  • Under NABARD scheme of off-grid Solar PV system, few lakhs of off-grid systems have been installed and systems do require regular maintenance.
  • To keep the system in good condition skilled manpower is required, therefore, the proposed technical platform of Suryamitra Mobile App can be utilized for this purpose too.
  • It would come handy with respect to operation and maintenance, repair and maintenance of solar pumps.

Chapter 8: ICTs for Empowering Rural Youth

Information and Communication Technology

The information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) consist of hardware, software, networks, and media for the collection storage, processing, transmission, and presentation of information (voice, data, text, image), as well as related services early access to (ICT) spurring innovation and economic growth. Through ICT information can be provided for better input use, cropping decisions, management of pests and diseases, animal husbandry, and marketing.

ICT empowering Agriculture:

  • Skymet is one of the largest weather monitoring and agricultural risks Solutions Company of the country. They measure, predict, and minimize climate risk to agriculture, thereby limiting losses incurred due to weather abrasions. This website forecast weather information, suggests for crop insurance and related risk management.
  • Frontal Rain Technologies is accessible through computer and mobile devices. It is useful for firms dealing in commodities like groceries, basmati rice, seeds, cattle feed, sea food, dairy products and edible oil. The website creates a scope for demand and supply of agricultural products on the cloud.
  • Agrostar provides genuine agricultural inputs to the farmers at their doorstep. It is a Pune-based e-commerce platform, directly linked to the farmers. Agrostar helps farmers to procure agricultural inputs such as seeds, plant nutrition, plant protection and agriculture equipment’s by simply giving a missed call on the company’s toll free number through their mobile app.
  • Ekgaon Technologies is an IT based network integrator. It provides a technology platform to the farmers with provision of range of services. They provide financial counselling, guide for agricultural input availabilities and provision of government assistance etc. They have mobile banking platform for delivery of financial services.
  • MITRA (Machines, information, Technology, Resources for Agriculture) is a set up, aims to improve mechanization at horticulture farms with the use of highly effective farm equipment. These are created through research and development and launched after rigorous field trials.
  • CropIn Technology Solution offers information on a cloud-based platform through mobile base application. It is known as ‘Smart Farms’. It allows companies to track status of the crops around the country. It helps companies to remotely monitor farms, interact with farmers and make every crop traceable and visible. It also helps farmers in adopting advance farm practices and improves productivity by providing high yield methods and productivity forecasts. It provides smart and safe food supply for consumers around the world by considering agriculture as a business.
  • Eruvaka Technology is a unique way to measure and control water health. It is solar-powered flouting equipment that measures oxygen level, temperature and pH range of water and suggests conduciveness of aquaculture and possible remedies. The information collected by the equipment are uploaded on the cloud and transmitted to individual farmers through mobile app, SMS, tele-call or the internet.
  • BHUVAN is a satellite based reach to the rural people. It acts like a clearing house for satellite data. It is essentially humongous software that integrates and processes ground inputs with satellite data for diverse needs

There are three prominent applications which have remote reach for use of rural population:

1)CHAMAN (Coordinated program on Horticulture assessment and Management using geo-informatics it helps in)

  • Digital inventory of all horticulture zones in the country.
  • Deciding cold storage hubs.
  • Managing inflation through accurate data of food stock.

2)FASAL (Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based observations

  • Monitor crop health.
  • Use to directly study crop locations.

3)NADAMS (National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System).

  • Remote sensing real time information on current or developing drought at state, district and sub district level.

Many Android Apps are new tools in the hands of the officials and farmers:

  • CCE Agri: Revenue officials now use this android app to estimate crop damage and yield
  • Ground Truth: To monitor crop health being used by 18 state governments.
  • Bhuvan Hailstorm App: being used to capture hailstorm losses in states such as Madhya Pradesh.
  • mKisan: It provides farm advisories, such as weather and pest updates on phones to the farmers

Benefits of ICT in agricultural trade:

  • In the context of ongoing economic reforms, empowering farmers with information access may be extremely beneficial.
  • Knowledge of more distant markets and demands for more varied products would be particularly important.
  • Knowledge of new practices, especially emergency practices such as accelerated ripening techniques, rapid evacuation in case of untimely rains, and packing methods can be critical for mitigating risks with high value commercial crops serving distant markets.
  • Drishteehaat kiosk operators are trained to use ICT, identify local handicrafts that might be marketed on the Internet, and to create the relevant content for advertising these products. Farm inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides, available in the choupal, illustrates another aspect of market power and efficiency in rural India
  • National Agriculture Market or eNAM is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India.

ICT in Education

  • Rural ICT kiosk operators are working as teachers with smaller educational modules in many places of MP.
  • The use of ICTs allows for interactive, visually appealing content that creates and enhances student interest, learning and retention.

Economic Development through ICT:

ICT helps in efficient use of scarce resources. This gain is through more effective and lower cost of information storage, processing and communication.

Overview of ICT Initiatives for Empowerment:

  • Drishtee: had its origins in Gyandoot, a government project in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. Gyandoot is offering a range of e-governance-related services in villages by intranet. The most prominent of these is land record certificates, and sale or leasing of land.
  • Aksh: Aksh is essentially a fiber optic cable company, with its core competence in laying and maintaining cable. Its revenue model is driven by the content and data that can be delivered over this cable.
  • n-Logue: It is a profit oriented corporation. This group has been responsible for a stream of hardware and software innovations that enable rural IT-based service delivery, through connectivity and applications. This group is working in the fields of education, health and agriculture.
  • ITC: ITC’s kiosks are called e-choupals, and they have several differentiating features. The key distinguishing factor is that the e-choupals are totally designed to support ITC’s agricultural products supply chain.



  • TARAhaat has achieved well-publicized success with internet kiosks in Bundelkhand, a relatively backward region of Uttar Pradesh.
  • TARAhaat’s long-range plans include a comprehensive portal for rural information services and an extended vision of its ‘TARAkendras’ as community centers.
  • TARAhaat has an educational content partner, called TARAgyan.
  • TARAgyan is developing local language content and software for use in TARAkendras.
  • Basic IT education is an important part of TARAgyan’s actual and potential offerings.


  • Akshaya is located in Malappuram district in Kerala, and has many kiosks.
  • Kerala has the advantages of high literacy rates, strong local governments, and high population density.
  • The initiative for the project came from the district level local government, and strong support came from the state government.


ICT is a boon in bringing rich information to the population of rural India. It empowers rural youth by adding value in agriculture, employment, education, market prices, market opportunities, knowledge that improves productivity, health and well-being, and have positive impacts on the material well-being of the rural masses.

Chapter 9: Opportunities in Value Chain & Food Processing

Rural youth entrepreneurs are vital as they can reallocate resources from the agricultural sector to the processing sector through knowledge, skills and food processing technology. The need is to engage rural youth by creating an eco-system and effective entrepreneurial policy framework for promoting entrepreneurship in food processing and value addition.

Rural Youth as Engine for Growth:

Rural development is the real development for an agrarian economy like India. Rural development was central to the national development agenda since the beginning. Our rural youth need to be strategically integrated in development process and be prepared to act as effective agent of change. According to FAO, as future leaders, rural youth need to be prepared and advanced in:

1) Improving their capabilities to produce food and to conserve productive resources in the rural environment

2) Improving their skills and abilities in carrying out income generating activities in rural areas

3) Relieving population pressure and improving nutrition and the wellbeing of farming families and

4) Developing leadership and the ability to work well with others in group and community situations

Opportunities in Food Processing and Agribusinesses;

  • There is considerable potential for promoting entrepreneurship in food processing and agribusiness in the rural areas.
  • The involvement of rural youth in agribusiness and food processing entrepreneurship can make India a world leader in the food processing sector.
  • The food processing involves any type of value addition to agricultural produce including primary processing such as grading, sorting and packaging to increase marketability of food products.
  • Whereas, secondary food processing involves the value addition by transforming raw produce from its original state to a more valuable state with enhanced food quality, safety and shelf life.
  • The food processing and value addition activities predominantly offers a means to increase, rejuvenate and stabilize rural income and beyond that it ensures availability of food products throughout the year and add to food security by minimizing food wastage.

Village Adoption Programme:

The Village Adoption Programme (VAP) is a unique program designed by National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management to empower rural youth and promote entrepreneurship in food processing.  Although, the VAP has several pillars but promotion of entrepreneurship in food processing and value addition is a major focused.

Chapter 10: Murshidabad makes great strides in ODFs

To prevent the practice of open defecation, the district administration of Murshidabad in West Bengal has planned massive ODF Sustainability and Re-verification activities. This exercise brought in a population of more than 80 lakh under review and recorded their behavioural changes.

  • In addition, innovative triggering methods were used – such as Gandhigiri by offering flowers or sweets to those who resist.
  • Appreciating individuals who took the initiative to built their own toilets
  • Walk of Honour by the community
  • Nirmal Tea Stall, Nirmal Barber Shop
  • Safai Abhiyan, Morning and Evening follow up
  • Para Baithak by NRLM to discuss Sanitation
  • Nirmal Roll Call at Classes
  • Oath taking at assembly by students, etc.

The numbers speak of the efforts made to ensure sustainability of its hard earned ODF status.

Significant initiatives undertaken by sanitation teams:

Nazardari and Gandhigiri:

  • Given that both individual efforts and collective action were required for ODF sustainability, Nazardari teams were formed comprising of natural leaders and Self Help Group (SHG) members.
  • They regularly visited OD prone areas morning and evening to check this.
  • They also visited homes to motivate people about toilet usage and cleanliness of toilets.
  • Government officials, people’s representatives have joined the community in these Nazardari activities, mostly to motivate the team members and get feedback of ground reality.

Kachha Toilet Todo Abhiyan:

  • While people understood the need to use toilets, they also needed to know the importance of sanitary toilets. Towards this, after ensuring that all homes had access to safe toilets, a week long programme, ‘Kachha Toilet Todo Abhiyan’ (Demolish the unsafe toilets) was observed across the district when thousands of Insanitary toilets were demolished and areas cleaned.

Focus on educational institutions and Anganwadi Centres:

  • Based on the premise that hygienic practices of children were a key factor in sustaining ODF in long run, triggering was carried out at schools this exercise was so powerful that students started writing letters to their parents pleading for toilets.

Sanitation Cards:

  • Sanitation Cards were issued to every household that was using toilets.
  • While this created enthusiasm among toilet users, open defecations felt left out and eventually conceded.


  • Under the Mukti project, the district identified places of open defecation and made plans to transform and beautify those places by land reclamation, plantation, and greenery through MGNREGS.

Child Cabinet:

  • Child cabinets were formed in all schools with the representation of students.
  • The role of these child cabinets was to check hygienic practices among students and visit nearby villages and promote the continued use of safe toilets.

Read the Gist of Yojana issues here.

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