IndiaCSR News Network
The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (NIRD&PR) is well-poised to transform itself into a nerve centre for result-oriented skill training and become a base for low-cost innovations that could help sustain the rural household incomes. In an interaction with N Madhav, NIRD&PR director general M V Rao said the institute would like to distinguish itself as the popular Silicon Valley in its own realm. The institute, which recently concluded its national annual rural technologies mela, has set the agenda to promote research in low-cost sanitation technologies and solar power solutions. Edited excerpts:
What are you doing to improve the strike rate of individuals undergoing skill training?
First of all, all our programmes are result-oriented. Which means we bring into our fold serious aspirants who have the zeal to make the difference and also support others in the community. Our industry partners come with a mission to tap the opportunities aplenty with us, like the human resources we train, professionalism and the network we command.
What has the rate of success in entrepreneurship been?
As against the ministry’s laid out task of clocking a minimum 75 per cent success in churning out new entrepreneurs, we have successfully been doing beyond it. This is possible due to emphasis on supporting ideas that tap the local demand (at the village level) that need an average funding of no more than Rs 15,000-20,000. For those beyond this, we handhold them to get the bank funding, which had been not that troublesome so far.
You expect the rural technology parks (RTPs) to gain Silicon Valley stature?
Already, we can be called a Silicon Valley for skill training. International students from partnering countries come to our centre to get trained. Industry sees a win-win case in tying up with us. So far, the existing tie-ups have resulted in game-changing results. Industry was able to create new technological solutions in solar power, fisheries, food processing and allied sectors, that can help control the exodus to cities and in the meantime double the daily incomes. We expect the current engagement to grow into robust one.
How do you go about upgrading infra at your RTPs ?
While the existing facilities at the RTPs are good enough, we are looking at improving them by tying up with the state governments and expect corporate houses to impart some funds out of their CSR spending. Some work has been done in this area and the initial response has been good. We also plan to set up incubators and run accelerator programmes to help successful entreprenuers scale up to the next level so that they crosspollinate entreprenuership in the hinterland.
What benefit do the partners get in return for their services at the RTPs?
Partnering us allows industry to direct their research in tune with the needs of villages. The heads of the partnering industries come saying their visibility and sales got a boost post the engagement with us. The main advantage they see is the level of our penetration in the hinterland. This helps them identify the demand and design customised solutions to improve their marketability and build the product cycle at low costs. The Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ and Swacch Bharat initiatives would propel new players to partner with us.