Economy

A gamified way to get acquainted with the village economy

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 09, 2021

The role-play game acquaints students and managers with the livelihood challenges a rural household may face.

IRMA’s rural household simulation game Naranpur Express goes digital and open

At a time when the government and corporates both have their eyes on the rural sector — the former to frame farmer friendly policies, and the latter seeking business opportunities — how well do they really know what drives an average rural household?

Here’s a chance for mid-career administrative officers, bureaucrats, corporate managers or NGO trainees to understand and empathise with a villager’s life through ‘Naranpur Express’, a rural simulation game conceived by the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA).

 

In digital mode

The role-play game, which was initially introduced as an on-field simulation activity for IRMA’s rural management students in the mid 1980s, has now gone digital, and is open to people outside the institute as well. On Monday, IRMA Director Umakant Dash launched the digital version of the game after its successful beta test.

‘Naranpur Express’ simulates economic relationships underlying four major subsystems of a village economy including Crop production system, Livestock production system, Household system and Market system. The digital version unlocks the opportunity for anyone in India to have a hands-on experience of India’s rural household in a gamified way.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Harekrishna Misra, a professor who headed the development of the digital version of the game, said the idea was to acquaint students and managers with the livelihood challenges a rural household may face.

“Understanding the village economy is a major issue today. Many people don’t know what are the on-ground issues faced by a rural household,” Misra said.

Main actors

The game, which features 30 rural households and 60 participants (two participants for each household), highlights the decision-making process of farmers. ‘Naranpur Express’ has four main actors — a Game Manager, who controls the external conditions, such as climate, government policies and so on; a Trader, the rural households and a supervisor.

There are some underlying assumptions, such as how decisions taken by large farmers influence the fortunes of small farmers and landless labourers.

The game runs through five cycles (years) of a rural household and the participant has to play along these cycles managing the available resources, and dealing with scenarios such as drought, crop failure, etc. The calculation of the networth from the beginning to the end of the game decides the winner.

The original game was conceived as part of a study post Operation Flood-II by the National Dairy Development Board and designed to understand the impact of dairy cooperatives on farmers’ lives.

Published on June 08, 2021

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