Rural business hubs in India gear up for 846 products

846 products slated for rural business hubs

Published: Saturday 15 July 2006

the Union ministry for panchayati raj (mopr) has identified 846 products for which the business community can now have a partnership with panchayat s for establishing rural business hubs, panchayati raj minister Mani Shankar Aiyer said in a recent statement.

Launched in 2004, the scheme aims to upgrade and encourage skills and products made by villagers, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (cii). "We have received a pretty good response from industries. Seventy-two companies have evinced interest in the scheme and 32 memorandums of understanding (mous) have already been signed in Karnataka, Haryana and Uttaranchal," says Babu Khan, head of the rural business hubs division, cii.

The first such hub, set up near Nainital on an experimental basis, is in collaboration with itc for food and agro-processing. Three mous have also been signed between private companies and panchayats for cultivation of jatropha for bio-diesel.

While the panchayat will be a signatory to the mou between industry and farmers, cii will be the facilitator. " Panchayats will facilitate the backward linkages and the industries will extend the forward ones to encourage the business," says Khan. "The supply chain has to be cut short to take the industry close to the raw material sources," he adds. The ministry hopes to have 30,000 such hubs in the forthcoming years.

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