India is a country of village and farmers where more than 60 percent of its population lives in rural areas. Development process without inclusion of rural India is thus lop-sided and unsustainable. Rural development has always been the prime independence. All Five Year Plans were focused towards the special benefit of the rural community. Some of the objectives have been achieved and others have failed but the effort for further development has not ceased One of the most notable examples in the Operation Flood.
An operation started by the Dairy Development Board, the concept was high production of milk and dairy products. The scheme was very successful in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the production of milk and milk based products jumped exponentially. Further the products were exported yielding high return of foreign exchange. yet another breakthrough was the Green Revolution, which coincided with unprecedented crop of vegetable production in the country. The import of food grains was reduced on-fourth thus saving a lot of money for the country.
Experts say that India, so far has remained untouched with the current economic slowdown. There could be many reasons for it. Fundamentals of financial institutions are very strong in India. Population of India feel more comfortable because of the domestic consumption of India.
Globalization and liberalization have accelerated the pace of transformation, often to complex levels. The agricultural sector employs 70 per cent of the national workforce, contributes a handsome 23 per cent to the GDP, and is no longer regarded to be the poor cousin in India's growth equation. It has now opened the floodgates of opportunity for those interested in making careers in this field. if experts are to be believed, agriculture may actually turn out to be the most under-appreciated driver of India's structural growth acceleration over the coming decade. Factors that can be attributed to this recent upsurge are increasing export potential and rapidly growing domestic demand fuelled by the booming retail market.
One of the pioneering initiatives that have fuelled the demand for qualified professionals in the agri sector is the e-choupal experiment of ITC. E-choupal is a quiet digital revolution that has been reforming the lives of farmers in remote Indian Villages. E-choupals are village Internet kiosk managed by farmers, which enable the agriculture community to access ready information on the weather and market prices. With the introduction of such a concept in the rural market place, the demand for rural managers started moving from the theoretical cooperative space to structured corporate buying. Thus a typical Rural Manager would have the satisfaction of working with farmers, earning a decent pay package and enjoy the prestige attached to working with a reputed corporate. On the retailing front, starting with RPG's entry into the retail segment through its erstwhile partnership with Food world and later with the entry of players like Big Bazaar, Reliance, Bharti and Subhiksha, there has been a demand for managers who can possibly comprehend this type of business better.
Also, the failure of the cooperative banking system led to the private sector banks foraying into the rural territory. As these bank usually do not have a branch network in rural India, they had to come up with innovative solutions to reach the small and remote customers. The knowledge of rural management graduates can thus be very handy in this sector.
India is predominantly a rural based economy and development of rural economy would be the priority area for policymakers and the Government. Rural development has a significant impact on the economic growth of the country. Rural Management, which encompasses rural development, is one of the major areas of management studies. Aim of rural management studies is to make focus attempt on the happenings of the rural economy, at enlightening the students with thought provoking issues, brining out the contemporary viewpoints of policymakers, and helping the mangers to enhance their ability in making sound business decision.
Therefore, professional Rural Managers are required to assist the villagers in their process of development so that the whole nation could achieve progress and prosperity. Recently rural regions throughout the world are drawing more attention than every before, which in turn has led to expansion of ambitious developmental schemes for rural people involving national, international and local agencies along with Non-Governmental bodies. Thus, it is quite natural that rural management is a bright career option to those who are deeply concerned about nation's development.
Today a career in agriculture is no longer synonymous with farming alone. It has grown into a mesh of numerous career opportunities. You have scientists, engineers, MBAs, bankers, manufactures, traders, entrepreneurs and a host of others who are willing to get into the business of agriculture.
Careers in agribusiness, agri-management and agri-insurance are quite rewarding. And it would not be blowing things out of proportion to say that this sector will hold the bulk of world's manpower in the coming years.
Rural management students after passing out from the institute may get appropriate employment opportunity in Government developmental agencies and Non-Government Organizations. They can an also be hired on contractual basis to mange developmental schemes and programmes. However, corporate run developmental agencies are favored destinations for a section of rural managers. Highly talented people can find lucrative job options in UN and its specialized agencies or programmes run by them. Internal NOGs are also preferred destination for many rural managers. Rural Managers can also run their own NGO and thereby directly be associated with rural folk. Today, as India is marching forward to become a developed and prosperous nation in the world, the role of rural managers has become vital to bring about substantial changes in the livelihood of millions of rural poor.
Today, the focus in agricultural studies is on developing the entrepreneurial skills of the students in areas such as agri-business management, post-harvest technologies and marketing. There is also an increasing appreciation of the need for greater synergy between general and agricultural education. With intensive agriculture raking up environmental problems, environmental protection and management have also started receiving increased attention.
Although it is possible to have a career in this sector without any formal training, giving the range and scope of career in the agriculture sector it is essential to obtain formal training to become successful particularly in the areas of research and agro-industry. The essential skill set that one should possess is a willingness to work in rural areas.
As a rural management graduate, you have to look at ways and methods of increasing profitability and sustainability of organizations that are involved in rural management. One will also be expected to overseas large-scale projects in rural development, manage farms, and take care of daily activities. if you find placement in rural consultancies, you may have to plan, budget, market, supervise and even recruit workers.
If you want to balance your career with philanthropic achievements, have the willingness to learn and work in the rural and agri environment, can spend time dealing with the rural and agri customers, have some working knowledge of seeds and fertilizers based setups and have some clue on what distribution is along with fair bit of idea about handling teams, you have a staring advantage.
With a rural management degree in your kitty, you can work in NGOs, co-operatives banks (NABARD, ICICI, UTI, HDFC), insurance companies (ICICI LOMBARD, LIC), retail giants (Future Group, Reliance Retail, Godrej Agrovat, Bharti, RPG), join MNCs or rural consultancies (ITC e-choupal; The SCS group: Grossman & Associates). You can also join research agencies, which include UN and its subsidiaries.
List of NGOs that hire rural management graduates include Action for Food production (AFPRO); Association for Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD), Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP); BAIF; CHIRAG; Devlopment Alternatives and Ecotech Services (ETS), Agricultural Input Companies, Cooperatives, International NGOs, Government development agencies such as DRDA and SIRD, national and international donor agencies, academic and research institutes, academic and research institutes and other foreign aid agencies.
Following the establishment of IRMA, several other institutions have started programmes in rural management. Prominent among them are:
- IIM, Ahmedabad
- IIM, Lucknow
- Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB)
- Xavier Institue of Social Sciences (XISS), Ranchi
- MANAGE, Hyderabad
- XIDAS, Jabalpur
- Indian Institute of Rural Management, Jipur
- VAMNICOM, Pune
- Tata Dhan Academy, Madurai
- Kalinga School of Rural Management
IRMA: All eligible candidates, including sponsored candidates, have to appear for a written test comprising four sections: English Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, Reasoning and Analytical Skills and Issues of Social Concern.
XIMB: Admission to the Post-graduate Programme in Rural Management (PGDRM) is done on the basis of IRMA/ XAT test score, group discussion and interview. Those who have passed or appearing in the three-year bachelor's degree are eligible to apply for this course at XIMB
IIRM, Jaipur: All candidates will be required to appear in MAT/ XAT/ ATMA. Final selection is based on over all scores obtained by the candidates in any of the above exams followed by group discussion, personal interview and academic record.
Almost all students from premier institute like IRMA, IIMA, MANAGE get excellent placement. Remuneration is dependent on your background. However, few postgraduates from professional institutes can expect competitive package in line with their 'urban' counterparts.
According to management guru C.K. Prahlad, the world's most exciting and most rapidly growing new marked is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. In his acclaimed book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Prahald highlight why we can no longer afford to ignore 'Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) markets.
Going with Prahald's views, perhaps, one can safely conclude that those venturing into rural-agricultural sector can hope to have an abundant harvest!