New Delhi, August 01, 2023.

Demonstrating its commitment towards sustainable socio-economic development and to fostering positive transformation in tribal communities, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the strategic implementation and knowledge partner for Skill India Mission,and Indian Institute of Management Ranchi (IIM-R) have collaborated to introduce livelihood opportunities for janjati regions through skill-based interventions within respective geographies and promote their holistic development at the grassroot level.

This unique internship programme is designed to provide relevant exposure to 80 interns from IIM Ranchi around social projects by making them an integral part of planning and strategy development efforts of Singi Dai Van Vigyan Kendra, a multiskill development center. The focus of the programme ison key segments such as medicinal plants, horticulture, and aromatic essential oil segments in tune with the local resources and culture. As part of the initiative, the second-year students from the Integrated Programme in Management (IPM), IIM Ranchi completed their five-day visit at Vikas Bharti,Bishunpur, Jharkhand which provided thorough insights on rural development initiatives and ponder, tinker on innovative solutions to promote sustainability,benefiting the locals.

Vikas Bharti Bishunpur, a civil society organization with 40 years of experience in empowering Janjati communities, will be the implementation partner in this project. Also present was Padmashri Ashok Bhagat ji, who addressed the audience with insights into this innovative approach. He mentioned that this opportunity was an eye opener for students and enabled them to sync with their community and find solutions for their livelihoods.

Their cutting-edge approach, out of the box thinking resonated in the solutions they brought. Through an integrative approach, NSDC and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship are helping ground organizations work with IIM and industry experts.

To cement and formalize the programme, the students from IIM Ranchi divided themselves as three enterprises and worked on marketing plans that provided strategies for better agricultural production and community engagement. The one-month internship programme has successfully trained interns across the nine batches,consisting of three groups each from three verticals which worked together on one enterprise.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ved Mani Tiwari, CEO, NSDC and MD, NSDC International said, fostering entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture, medicinal plants and aromatic oils is a crucial step towards empowering the tribal communities and fine-tuning their skills in niche areas. Through our cooperative efforts, we aim to provide skill upgradation, robust training, and the necessary toolkit to the students of IIM Ranchi, extending the mentoring support to India’s tribal communities. This collective effort is aligned with our vision of empowering communities by generating sustainable income. Through this collaboration between NSDC, IIM Ranchi and Vikas Bharti, we will not only establish strong relationships with local governments, NGOs and industry stakeholders but also build market linkages and industry connect for the locals.

The plans submitted by each of the groups have showcased innovative strategies which we will in fact adapt in the programme to serve the tribal communities. I congratulate the students for coming up with their spectacular ideas and progressive approaches.He added.

Prof Deepak Kumar Srivastava, Director IIM Ranchihighlighted the scope and importance of tribal entrepreneurship in Jharkhand.Guided by its strategic plan IIM Ranchi@2030, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ranchi is aiming to become a globally renowned institute which deeply connected with the local community. IIM Ranchi intends to undertake research on tribal entrepreneurship to create a real-world impact on the domain of tribal enterprises in India and bring the scope of the tribal economy to the fore of academic and policy discussions. Therefore, the research on tribal entrepreneurship will represent a comprehensive picture of the enterprises owned by the tribes in tribal areas, which incorporate both social and profit-making enterprises. The research will focus on the evolution of enterprises, success stories of community-based enterprises, exploration of the keys of success and replication, optimization of minor forest products for creating new enterprises, tribal skill development, issues and opportunities in the tribal areas, and socio-economic development of tribes in India.

The initiative also serves as an opportunity for students to fine-tune their basics and fundamentals on rural marketing, cooperative societies, and mutually aided self-help groups under the guidance of faculty members and experts of IIM, enabling them to mark a significant impact on increasing demand for local products in national and international markets. On the completion of the project, students worked on the industry-market linkage plan and the best pitching plan will get implemented in NSDC funded Multi Skill Development cum Women Empowerment centre at Balatu.

Based on the findings, each group submitted thorough report on the viable and sustainable  business models aimed at assisting farmers in establishing market linkages, expanding distribution network, and developing robust supply value chains.

The first report sheds light on the challenges faced by thetribal farmers in the region, including limited bargaining power and inadequate connections to the market. And for overcoming these challenges, the report suggeststhe establishment of a cooperative-based Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) that enables farmers to fetch higher prices for their Shatavari supply compared to individual negotiations, enhancing their collective bargaining power and economic prospects. The second report highlights the potential of producing and marketing lemongrass and citronella oil while leveraging the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) model. The approach aims to foster self-efficiency, enhance product quality, and reduce the influence of intermediaries. The third report underscores the significance of cultivating the Palmarosa (Cymbopogonmartinii) plant for uplifting the local communities as it has numerous therapeutic and healing properties and large yield. 

Furthermore, the students mapped various schemes of Government of India on agriculture, horticulture, andforest produce such asAYUSH, NABARD, SIDBI, Medicinal plant promotion board for enhancing community engagement, inclusive growth and building capacities of the region.