Off Farm Development Department
1.  Genesis
Promotion of Off Farm Sector was embedded in the very mission statement of NABARD at the time of its inception. The sector assumes significance in the context of the ever pressing need for reducing rural India’s over dependence on agriculture for income by encouraging alternate livelihood options. Development of this sector also helps in arresting large-scale migration of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities on account of unemployment/ disguised employment in the agriculture sector.
NABARD, over the years, has evolved several refinance and promotional schemes for development of Off Farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base and refine/rationalise its schemes in response to needs at the field level. 
The focus has been on programmes which enables increased credit flow, provision of credit to the unreached, and provision of linkages for small, cottage and village industries, handloom, handicrafts and other rural crafts and service sector in rural areas.
Developing markets for the rural Off Farm Sector has been an area where NABARD has taken many initiatives. NABARD has also been actively involved in promoting innovations in rural areas in farm and Off Farm sectors by creating a separate fund for this purpose.
Thrust areas of the Off Farm Development Department (OFDD) are indicated below:
Off Farm Producer Organizations
Skill Development Rural Innovations
Marketing Interventions
Agri Business Incubation Centres
Other Off Farm Activities
2.  Core Functions of the Department  
Providing end-to-end solutions for promotion of activities generating/enhancing livelihoods under the Rural Off Farm Sector.
Providing financial support as grant depending on the nature of the project, activities within the project, stakeholders involved, etc.
Providing financial support to Government agencies including Panchayat Raj Institutions, Apex/State Level Corporations and Boards, Individuals/Groups of individuals, SHGs, SHG Federations, Farmers’ Clubs (FCs), FC Federations, activity based JLGs, NGOs/MFIs, Trusts, Registered Community Based Organisations (CBO), Registered Producers’ Organisations/people’s organisations, Co-operatives (including PACS), Banks, RRBs, NSDC affiliated training institutes, Skill Development Council, RUDSETIs/RSETIs, Corporates, Companies (Proprietary/Partnership/Pvt. Limited/Public limited, etc.) including Section 8 Companies, NBFCs, Private Companies as part of Corporate Social Responsibility, Colleges, Research Institutions, Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Marketing Federations, Commodity Boards, subsidiaries of NABARD and such other organizations which approach NABARD for financial support for undertaking Off-Farm Sector promotional interventions and whose objectives/activities are catering to the development of Off-farm sector and approved by NABARD.  The list is indicative and not exhaustive.
Supporting marketing activities of rural artisans by extending grant assistance for Rural Haats, Rural Marts, Exhibitions and Melas.
Promoting skill development by extending grant support to rural training institutions like Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institutes (RUDSETIs)/ Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs), NSDC affiliated Institutes, NGOs having training establishments, Government agencies, Corporate Partners, etc.
Support to rural artisans for formation of Off Farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) in clusters to take up collective business activities, build capacity and develop market linkages.
3.  Broad achievements of the Department at a National Level 
  • Rural Innovation 
OFDD has been extending financial support for innovative, unconventional experiments in farm, off farm and micro finance sectors.
NABARD supports new rural innovative projects and upscaling of successful innovations funded in the previous years.  As on 31 March 2018, 698 projects with financial assistance of Rs 74.07 crore was sanctioned. During the current year, 5 projects were sanctioned for upscaling. 
  • Rural Entrepreneurship/ Skill Development Programmes
NABARD supports Skill Development Programmes (SDPs) for facilitating wage employment as well as self-employment for the rural youth.  During 2017-18, 1498 programmes were sanctioned covering 35,462 candidates on Entrepreneurship & Skill development.  As on 31 March 2018, 32,520 SDPs were supported with grant assistance of Rs.12141.76 lakh and trained around 8.37 lakh unemployed rural youths. 
During the financial year 2017-18, NABARD partnered with corporates like Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), Ashok Leyland Institute for Driving, Training and Research (ALIDTR) and Dalmia Cement Foundation for developing various skill sets for rural youth.  A few of the skill activities were driving, soft skills, plumbing, tailoring etc.
  • Gurukul Training (Pan-IIT Model)
a)  To demonstrate that the entrepreneurs are willing to pay for skill training linked to assured employment, NABARD has supported this model of skill upgradation. This initiative also has financial inclusion and digital technology as built-in components.
b)  As a part of NABARD’s continued developmental interventions for empowerment of rural youth, a loan-based project of Rs.4.76 crore under Rural Innovation Fund was sanctioned to “Pan IIT Alumni Reach for India”(PARFI) for setting up 20 gurukuls, aimed at skill building and providing assured placement for school dropouts from very poor rural households in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, A.P. Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Assam in construction activities like masonry, bar bending, fork lifting, plumbing, air conditioning, electrical wiring, heavy vehicle driving, catering etc. The project has been assisted through grant assistance of Rs.60 lakh towards organizational cost, Rs. 60 lakh towards start-up expenses for setting up 20 Gurukuls and Revolving Fund Assistance (RFA) of Rs. 356 lakh.
c)  The agency has already set up 20 gurukul units as part of the pilot -- 7 in Jharkhand, 5 in Tamil Nadu, 2 each in Rajasthan and Bihar, and one each in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra all of which are targeted to school drop-outs, poor youth from Left-Wing Extremism areas. As part of the pilot project, 5,659 trainees have been trained in 237 batches with 100% placement rate (including self-employment especially in driving and catering.) The total recovery rate has been 58% with some of the Jharkhand gurukuls reporting repayment rates of 75-80%. The per-trainee Revolving Fund Assistance availed comes to Rs. 3,800, showcasing the ‘rotation of capital’ as envisaged in the pilot proposal.
d)  Based on the success of the PANIIT model, NABARD has sanctioned and released grant assistance of Rs. 5 crore to NABFINS (a subsidiary of NABARD) for institutionalizing the project for extending skill loans to trainees through Gurukuls set up by PARFI.
  • Cluster Development
NABARD has been implementing the Cluster Development Programme under the National Programme on Rural Industrialisation (NPRI) since 1999-2000. Building on that experience and considering the fact that cluster approach is best suited for the development of small and micro enterprises, NABARD evolved its own Cluster Development Policy in the year 2005-06. NABARD has cumulatively approved a total of 119 clusters in 110 districts across 22 States. Focus was given on development of clusters in north eastern region (NER,) with as many as 23 clusters in the NER and backward regions. Prominent clusters supported under the programme were:
i. Handloom (57)
ii. Handicrafts (43)
iii. Food processing and Rural Tourism (7 each)
  • Off Farm Producer Organisation (OFPO)
In order to provide strong platform to rural artisans to take up collective business activities, including capacity building, business planning and providing marketing linkages, NABARD extended support for formation of Off Farm Producer Organisations (OFPOs) in existing clusters on a pilot basis in 2016-17.
During the year 2017-18, the scheme was extended to new clusters also. NABARD has supported 4 OFPOs in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Odisha. Cumulatively, NABARD supported 08 OFPOs as on 31 March 2018. 
  • Marketing Initiatives
To support rural artisans in utilizing their expertise as a source of livelihood while also helping them to enhance their income, NABARD has been supporting marts and haats, exhibitions at State level and large fairs at National level.  
a) Exhibitions and Melas
NABARD extended support to provide marketing platform to rural artisans and producers to exhibit their traditional art-crafts, and products through exhibitions and melas. During 2017-18, NABARD organized/sponsored 247 melas/exhibitions in different parts of the country. 
NABARD’s support for exhibitions and melas has helped rural artisans and Self Help Groups in showcasing their products, enabling a wider reach and getting more orders, thereby enhancing their income and livelihood opportunities.
b) Rural Haats / Rural Marts
In order to support rural artisans to market their products effectively NABARD provides financial assistance for setting up Rural Haat and Rural Mart. 
Rural Haat
A Rural Haat is an open air market which is considered the nerve center of the economic activities of the rural life of the country.  The project can be implemented by Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) or PACS/POs/NGOs. The financial assistance is given towards creating basic infrastructure. As on 31 March 2018, 36 Rural Haats have been sanctioned in 20 states.
Rural Mart
Rural mart provides a market link to rural people for their household produce besides generating income and employment at grassroot level. As on 31 March 2018, 66 Rural Marts were sanctioned in 26 states.
Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) 
The Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for Technology Upgradation of Micro & Small Enterprises was launched by the Government of India in October 2000. The scheme aims at facilitating technology upgradation of MSE units in the specified products/ sub-sectors by way of induction of well-established and improved technologies approved under the scheme for which capital subsidy is extended by GoI.
NABARD was designated as one of the nodal agencies for channelising subsidy under the scheme for Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Commercial Banks.
So far NABARD has disbursed an amount of Rs.70.97 crores to 1,362 units under the scheme as on 31.03.2018.
  • Stand Up India Scheme
GoI has launched the  ‘Stand Up India scheme’ on 5th April 2016 with an objective to facilitate bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up greenfield enterprises.  A corpus for credit guarantee for individual loans under the scheme and refinance through SIDBI has been approved.  NABARD is a supporting agency of the scheme and the DDM offices of NABARD along with SIDBI offices have been designated as ‘Stand Up Connect Centres’ (SUCC).
The ‘standupmitra’ portal has been created by SIDBI to review and report progress by stakeholders.
NABARD has been coordinating with Regional Offices to review the progress of the scheme and organize pre & post sanction handholding events for the promotion of the scheme.
  • Agri Business Incubation Centres
Agri business incubators nurture innovative early stage enterprises that have high growth potential to become agribusiness by adding value and linking to producers and markets. The significance of Agribusiness Incubation Centres in facilitating an ecosystem conducive for the growth of Agribusiness enterprises is recognized worldwide. Besides   creating direct employment opportunities, it also helps in increasing agricultural productivity and entrepreneurship development by supporting startups and enterprises, which are attempting to commercialize innovations. 
During 2017-18, NABARD sanctioned Rs.11.75 crore and Rs. 12.24 crore to Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU) and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) towards setting up of Agri Business Incubation Centre in their Hisar and Madurai campus respectively.
Additional Information
Contact Information:
Shri Hemant B. Sonagadkar
Chief General Manager
5th Floor, ‘B’ Wing
C-24, ‘G’ Block
Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East)
Mumbai 400 051 
Tel: (91) 022-26530083 / 022 - 26539766
Fax: (91) 022-26530082