Rural India has gone through a major transformation over the last few decades, with continuous migration of young men to cities in the hope of better employment and opportunities. Women are left behind to take care of families and work in agriculture fields. Rural India is also witnessing a change in the pattern of resources, with disposable Income reducing exponentially it is becoming hard to have quality education, healthcare, and quality of life for people residing in these areas.
However, in Rural Rajasthan with the support of Rajeevika, women have taken it upon themselves to create alternative sustainable incomes for their families and support their husbands and families financially by forming Self-help Groups and setting up micro and small businesses that are catering to the urban markets.
On our visit to rural Rajasthan, we encountered such brave and enthusiastic women who are currently involved in various spectrums of employment generation. One of these women is Ms. Jayshree who has set up a small-scale detergent soap manufacturing unit, despite suffering from financial and family loss in the past. She has taken up the responsibility of standing up for her family. Currently, the soap manufactured in her backyard is being sold to 3 different Tehsils in Jaipur, she with her team can manufacture 10 thousand soaps in a month. Breaking the stereotype of women running a successful business, she has been able to generate employment for 10 women and men and is also supporting her young Son and daughter to pursue higher education in metro cities. Jayshree all alone has given major competition to large players in the market, during our discussion with her, she confidently mentioned that she is not concerned about fighting big players rather it is the thought of maintaining the quality of product and finances for upscaling that scares her.
Anyone who would have ever thought of starting a business in India would understand the pain one has to go through when they are planning to apply for a loan in the bank and this even becomes more difficult when you’re a woman with no records of salary or a history of continuous cash flow. You are directly and indirectly subjected to discrimination and insensitive treatment at banks which affects the morale of women who are working hard to come out of the vicious cycle of poverty. However, Government Institutions such as Rajeevika are trying to help such women but still, it is a long way to go.
In Today’s scenario when India is looking forward to becoming a global player, it will not be possible to achieve this target if the Government and the business ecosystem do not include 50 % of India’s Population in its strategy and decision-making process. Rural India holds major potential for growth but presently everyone is focused on taking advantage of them by taking out money from their pockets and not creating a source of income generation.
Kapish Singh Sanga – Strategy and Research Specialist