Every country has certain characteristics. India has many such characteristics. With second largest population in the world, it is among the fastest growing economies across all continents. Although urbanization is taking place in a big way, India still is primarily an agrarian economy and majority of population still lives in villages. All of us in our school days must have come across the statement that India lives in villages. The statement still holds good.
But lot many changes are taking place on the rural horizon of our country. Agricultural production is on the increase. Construction of roads in and around villages has made them better connected. Massive electrification has taken place and medical facilities have also improved. For various reasons rural income has substantially improved over the last two decades giving rise to higher disposable income. The growing purchasing power has given boost to demand for vehicles (both two and four wheelers), fast moving consumer goods and also things like construction material etc.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for 58% of Indian population. Gross Value added by agriculture, forestry and fishing was to the tune of Rs 17.67 trillion in the financial year ending 2018. But as we all know rural economy is not only about agriculture .It is fast catching up with urban markets in terms of demand for various consumer goods and services like telecommunication etc. as described above. With emergence of rural economy new career opportunities are also being generated.
Education for a rural management career
To make a career in rural management there is no compulsion to have a formal qualification necessarily in the subject of rural management. With a higher educational background in any of the following subjects you may plan to have a career in rural sector-
* Agricultural Science
* Agricultural Engineering
* Social work
However considering the abundant opportunities with regard to development and business potential of rural sector many institutes have come out with specialised programme in rural management/development and related disciplines like agri business. In fact there are institutions and faculties exclusively created to train manpower to work in this domain. In many of the institutes, companies/ organizations visit to make campus placement offers.
Subjects of study
The course curriculum of a rural management course includes everything that is taught in a regular management course. However, here the emphasis is on implementing the theories, principles and concepts in rural settings. Additional subjects specific to rural segment are also taught. In general you will come across topics like theories of development, structure of rural economy, development administration, women and child development, social research methodology , public health, sanitation disaster management, project management, management of non-governmental organizations, management of land and water resources, corporate social responsibility, livelihood promotion, forestry and land resource management, livestock promotion, management of rural financial services, rural entrepreneurship, crop production and impact of climate, social justice, social action and human rights, etc. Field exposure is an essential part of the curriculum to make it practical.
Given below is a list of institutions offering specialized courses in rural management and allied disciplines offered by well known institutions .This is an indicative list.
Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) at Anand in Gujarat is the best known institute for professionalising rural management education in the country. It has four courses viz. Postgraduate Diploma in Rural Management, Fellow Programme in Rural Management, Executive Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Rural), Certificate in Rural Management.
National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad- Postgraduate Diploma in Rural Development Management.
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad- Postgraduate Programme in Food and Agri Business Management.
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow- Postgraduate Programme in Agri Business Management
Assam Agricultural University-University, Jorhat- MBA Agri Business
Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur-University- MBA Agri Business Management
National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, Hyderabad- Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Agribusiness Management), Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension Management
Faculty of Management Studies, Institute of Rural Management, Jaipur- Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Rural Management)
Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa, Samastipur- MBA Rural Management
National Institute of Agriculture Marketing, Jaipur- Postgraduate Programme in Management (Agri Business Management)
KIIT School of Rural Management, Bhubaneshwar- MBA Rural Management
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar- MBA Rural Management
Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi- PGDM (Rural Management)
Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology- MBA Agri Business
Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur- MBA Agri Business
Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneshwar- MBA Agri Business Management
Vaikunth Nath Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management, Pune- PGDM Agri Business & Management, Diploma in Cooperative Business Management
Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal- Postgraduate Diploma in Forest Management
Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics- M.Sc. Agribusiness Economics
Areas of work
Rural development has multiple dimensions and your area of work may depend on the education and specialization you had undergone. By and large, as a rural management professional one may get to work in one or more of the following areas:
Marketing: Considering the huge business potential in rural India, many of the companies, both Indian and multinational, engage people to formulate and execute strategies exclusively for rural sector. In these companies, under the overall marketing plan , there is a rural marketing plan. It may be surprising but manufacturers of cars, motor bikes, mobile phones, biscuits, are leaving no stone unturned in penetrating the rural markets. Research on changing preferences of rural consumers and other dynamics of rural markets can also be one area of work.
Project Management: Government and private sector have come out with various projects for the benefit of rural India. Many of such projects are under public-private partnership. Projects may be related to power plants, road construction, housing and production plants etc. Under project management the job will relate to day to day monitoring of project execution and ensuring timeliness and cost optimization etc.
Farm Administration: India's farm sector has enough diversity. There are farmers with small holdings and also with big holdings. In many cases farm activities are conducted like business. The idea of contract farming has also got a big boost in a decade or so. To manage big farming activities, professionals are required.
Social Change: There are various bodies involved in social change or transformation of villages. These include Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating at state and national levels. There are organizations operating globally (example Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation etc.) also. Under Corporate Social Responsibility many business organizations spend a part of their profit on social welfare and much of this expenditure is diverted towards villages .Big corporates both in public and private sector have their own corporate social responsibility or community service departments.
Rural Finance: Social and economic development are intertwined. The major objective of bank nationalization was to use the services of banks in socio-economic development of our country. Public sector banks have vacancies of rural development officer or agricultural or agricultural finance officers. These banks also appoint business correspondents in rural areas who work under a supervisor. Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) have also expanded their network to small towns and villages. One should not ignore the opportunities created by microfinance institutions who mostly provide small amount as unsecured loans to poor people and also manage their savings. These work as per RBI guidelines.
Rural Entrepreneurship: There is an entrepreneurship and start up mini revolution in India. Many young people with fire in their belly, want to do something new and work on their own. Some of such people have their eyes on unexplored opportunities in villages. There are venture capital funds who are ready to invest in such products. Depending on the potential offered by the project, institutional support from other sources can also be available.
One should not be under the myth that to pursue a career in rural management one has to stay and work in villages. Many managerial positions are based at urban centres/metros. However these positions require frequent field visits to have a hands-on experience of rural settings and understanding of ground realities in the sector.
Big corporates like Hindustan Unilever, ITC etc. require rural management professionals. Following are few of the organizations and companies who have recruited through campus placement recently. This list can tell you about the places where you can possibly work after having a professional education in rural management and related subjects.
Jeevika-Bihar Livelihood Promotion Society, Rajasthan Gramin Ajeevika Vikas Parishad, Bharat Insecticides Limited, Bayer Cropsciences, Rallis India Ltd, Reliance Retail, Dhanuka Agritech, Disha Microfinance, Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd, IFFCO, Eid Parry, Krishak Bharati Cooperative Llimited, NCDEXe Markets Ltd ,Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable (P) Ltd Milk Cooperatives like GCMMF Ltd (AMUL) The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd ; Tamilnadu Co-operative Milk Producers` Federation Limited,Mahindra Agri Solutions; National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) Ltd. Godrej Agrovet Limited, Yes Bank (Agri Rural and Social Banking), Ujjivan Financial Services Pvt Ltd, NABARD Financial Services Ltd, Microsave, Fincare Business Services Ltd., Gujarat State Women's Sewa Co-operative Federation, State Bank of India (Agri Business Division), ICICI Bank Ltd. (Rural and Inclusive Banking Group), Milk Cooperatives like GCMMF Ltd (AMUL) The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd , Tamilnadu Co-operative Milk Producers` Federation Limited, among others.
By choosing a career in rural management/ development you may contribute in nation building and improving the might of people who need it most.