Rural Entrepreneurship-Opportunities and Challenges

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India lags behind the first world countries and some of its new world counterparts in the organized sector. An average Indian is widely believed to be a risk-averse individual and this tendency has traditionally led a huge section of skilled and semi skilled population of the country to look for a secure ‘naukri'(Job). However, this has primarily been an urban phenomenon. Some facts can help clear the picture. According to the NSSO data (2006-7), there are 16.5 million service sector enterprises in India, which employ about 33.5 million workers. Out of the 16.5 million service sector enterprises, 85% are own account enterprises (OAEs). Over and above that, out of the 33.5 million workers, 76% are rural workers. The shares of the annual gross value addition (GVA) of the rural and urban sectors are 15% and 85% respectively. What does this picture add up to? If we analyze the above facts carefully, we will notice that despite being the employer of 76% of the total service sector workforce, the rural segment contributes only 15% of the total GVA of the services sector. The urban segment, though working with only 15% of the total workforce in the services sector, contributes a staggering 85% share of the total GVA. This shows the scope of increase in the productive capacity of the rural workforce of the services sector in India, a huge percentage of which is involved in own account enterprises (meaning entrepreneurial ventures, mostly informal-unregistered ones). The above facts conjure up an interesting collage. Can the above facts be used to build up a term as ‘informal entrepreneurship'? We believe our rural counterparts indeed outdo us as far as the number of entrepreneurs is concerned, though they may be informal OAEs. Gandhi's vision of India as a self-sufficient village economy could not be realized. However, the figures mentioned above reveal the fact that not much has changed as far as the preferences of the rural population are concerned. Most of the...
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