Contribution of ITC e-Choupal Towards India’s
Dream of Inclusive Growth
Faculty of Management Studies-
-Institute of Rural Management (FMS-IRM),
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“A quiet digital revolution is reshaping the lives of farmers in remote Indian villages. In these villages, farmers grow soyabeans, wheat and coffee in small plots of land, as they have for thousands of years. A typical village has no reliable electricity and has antiquated telephone lines. The farmers are largely illiterate and have never seen a computer. But farmers in these villages are conducting e-business through an initiative called e-Choupal, created by ITC, one of India's largest consumer product and agribusiness companies." -Mohanbir Sawhney, Mc Cormick Tribune Professor of Technology, Kellogg School of Management, USA.
Indian economy has witnessed a strong and steady economic growth in the past two decades. However, this robust growth by passed the poor or marginalized groups, resulting in increasing inequality .Reducing this inequality has become a major concern for our countries policy makers, a concern that has generated interest in the concept of Inclusive Growth.
Inclusive Growth”, which emphasizes that the economic opportunities created by growth should be available to all—particularly the poor—to the maximum possible extent continues to be the biggest challenge for our country as it concerns integrating 600 million people living in rural India and several millions living in urban slums, into the mainstream economy.
To face this challenge our government is not alone this time it had the support of many strong private sector companies one of them being the leading multinational company of India ITC.
ITC through its e Choupal initiative has created several economic opportunities for the rural poor and has helped million of rural poor improve their living standards.
The Evolution of Inclusive Growth in India
India entered its Eleventh Five Year plan in the year 2007-08 with impressive economic growth of 8.7 % making India one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The main reason for such strong growth was attributed to strong domestic consumption and investment expenditure, and also to the positive contribution of net exports which increased from $18 billion in 1991 to $123 billion in 2007.  The household saving in India increased from Rs 4371 in 1971 to Rs 12, 61,332 in the year 2008-09 .The per capita income increased to Rs 40,129 in the year 2008 from Rs 8,019 in the year 1971. The industrial sector too had responded well to economic reforms and had shown that it is capable of competing in the global economy. Perceptions about India among global investors had turned very favourable the proof of which are the ever increasing forex reserves which have surged from $5.8 billion in 1991 to $123 billion in 2007. India which is also called a country with two economies, on one side has shining India and on the other side has suffering Bharat and to India’s dismay this gap between the shining and suffering is increasing day by day. For instance the percentage of the population below the official poverty line has come down from 36% in 1993–94 to 28% in 2004–05. However, not only is this still high, the rate of decline in poverty has not accelerated along with the growth in GDP, and the incidence of poverty among certain marginalized groups, for example the Schedule Tribes, has hardly declined at all. Because population has also grown, the absolute number of poor people has declined only marginally from 320 million in 1993–94 to 302 million in 2004–05. This performance is all the more disappointing since the poverty line on which the estimate of the poor is based is the same as it was in 1973–74 when per capita incomes was much lower. Similarly while the literacy rate has gone up from 18.3% in 1951 to 64.8% in 2001, the number...
References: 2. Assisi, Charles, and Indrajit Gupta. “ITC’s Rural Symphony.” Businessworld, January
5. Dollar, D. and A. Kraay (2002) “Growth Is Good for the Poor.” Journal of Economic
Growth 7, pp
6. Forbes, K. (2000) "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth."American Economic Review 90.
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