India needs rural economy that provides employment locally: Gautam Adani

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on August 29, 2020

Gautam Adani, Chairman of Adani Group   -  REUTERS

Covid-19 crisis is a chance to rethink on India's rural development model: Adani addresses IRMA students

Calling for a rethink over the structure of India's local economies, billionaire Gautam Adani, chairman of Adani Group asked the management aspirants at Institute of Rural Management - Anand (IRMA) to develop a model of rural economy that employs local populations locally and address the inequality of opportunities due to rural-urban imbalance.

Addressing IRMA's ‘Shiksha Aarambh Vyakhyan’ -- the Commencement Speech welcoming the new batch, Adani said, "More than ever before, we must now develop a model of a rural economy wherein local populations can be employed locally. This will mean that we need to rethink how our local economies are structured and clustered."

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, IRMA commenced its classes online for the 41st batch (2020-22) of its flagship Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Rural Management). In a video address to the students earlier this month, Adani cited the example of Israel that merged learnings from a rural kibbutz (farm)-based culture with modern technology and achieved self-sufficiency.

Referring the mass exodus of workers from cities to villages following the Covid-19-induced lockdown, Adani stated: "One in four workers in India is a migrant. Some migration is beneficial. However, unless we tackle the issue of continued increase in rural-to-urban migration, India's growth will remain hampered." He also said that Covid-19 crisis is a chance to rethink on the rural development model.

Pointing at the emerging opportunities under Aatmanirbhar mission, he stated that while India already had a head start as the world's largest producer in the ares of milk, pulses, banana, among others, there are four underlying challenges - “shrinking arable land as a result of over-cultivation, overgrazing, urbanisation, and chemical overuse; unpredictability as a result of climate change, water availability and the knock-on impact on output; current lack of productivity and supply chain inefficiencies; and shortage of value-adding processing facilities in terms of numbers, scale, and locations," he told the new batch of 252 students, which has about 37 per cent female students.

As a speaker for the event, Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, praised the role of IRMA and its founder Dr Verghese Kurien's vision for rural development and entrepreneurship. "IRMA and we at the Aditya Birla Group share the same vision. The vision and the courage to dare and change the ecosystem. The commitment to create a more equal society, a more just and kind place through serving the underserved segments in our society," she said.

Orientation for the new batch was conducted by Hitesh Bhatt, Director, IRMA and Pratik Modi, Programme Chair for PGDM (RM). IRMA has 8 classrooms with state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to facilitate online learning with use of platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. Under AICTE guidelines, IRMA has retained its fees same as last year.

Published on August 29, 2020

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