Over 64,000 rural enterprises formed under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) have generated an estimated 1,33,302 lakh employment opportunities across States in two years.

The SVEP is a sub-scheme under the Centre’s Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission to help the rural poor, including members of women self help groups (SHGs) and their families, set up enterprises at the village level in non-agricultural sectors.

The data for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 (till January), presented by the Ministry of Rural Development to the Rajya Sabha in March, reveal that Kerala tops the enterprise chart with 8,816 establishments formed, providing jobs to an estimated 18,250 people. Madhya Pradesh established 6,226 enterprises while Bihar had 5,938, providing jobs to an estimated 12,888 and 12,292 people, respectively. Jammu and Kashmir established 844 enterprises and provided jobs to an estimated 1,747 people. Tamil Nadu is among the States which have formed less than 500 enterprises. Its 472 enterprises have employed an estimated 977 people.

Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam have not established any enterprise under the scheme, and hence no job opportunities have been created in these States during this period.

Job creation

The annual report on Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) (July 2017-June 2018), published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, estimates that the unemployment rate in India is 5.3 per cent for the rural sector. With migrant labourers returning to villages after Covid-19 outbreak in cities, experts have demanded that the government focus on more job creation in villages.

The NITI Ayog discussion paper on changing the structure of rural economy had earlier highlighted that contrary to the common perception about the predominance of agriculture in the rural economy, about two-third of rural income is now generated in non-agricultural activities.

Non-agri rural push

“Similarly, it looks amazing to find that more than half of the value added in the manufacturing sector in India is contributed by rural areas. However, the impressive growth of the non-agricultural sector in rural India has not brought significant employment gains or a reduction in disparity in worker productivity. This underlines the need for a new approach to direct the transition of the rural economy” the paper, published in 2017, had said.

The Ministry of Rural Development is implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and other programmes to facilitate an overall improvement in the quality of life of the people in rural areas, strengthening of livelihood opportunities, promoting self-employment, skilling of rural youth and provision of employment to the youth in rural areas, the Ministry told the Rajya Sabha.