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FabIndia, ITC part of government panel to help grow rural businesses

Fabindia, that sells products made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes, and the ITC Group will help the government prepare a plan to support rural businesses and artisans. The India’s rural population should get access to markets as equal players after removing disadvantages of remoteness and scattered population, which impacts their competitiveness, believes Amarjeet Sinha, rural development secretary.

The committee will be headed by JK Mohapatra, former rural development secretary. The initiative is part of measures by the ministry to strengthen the rural livelihood programme with private sector help.

The ministry recently held talks with online grocery delivery platforms Grofers and BigBasket to source produce from rural groups. Bihar’s Jeevika initiative for rural livelihood has tied up with Amazon to sell handmade products, including jewellery and the famous Madhubani paintings.

Rural credit in India raised by SHGs grew 40 per cent to Rs 30,000 crore in 2015-16 through their bank linkage program. Formed in 2011, the SHGs mobilised credit of about Rs 70,000 crores, nearly half of which was raised in the previous financial year to fund the creation of social capital in villages that could lift non-farm jobs. The government expects demand to grow to Rs 40,000 crores in the current financial year as skill development activities gain traction to facilitate economic activity on the ground.

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