Promotion of Off Farm Sector was enshrined in the mission statement of NABARD at the time of its inception. The sector assumes significance in the context of the pressing need for reducing rural India’s over dependence on agriculture income by encouraging alternate livelihood options. Development of this sector also helps in arresting large-scale migration of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labour to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities due to unemployment, disguised employment and distress in the agriculture sector.
NABARD, has evolved several refinance and promotional schemes for development of the Off-farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base, refine and rationalise its schemes in response to the need at the field level.
The focus has been on programmes that enable 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.
2. Core Functions of the Department
- Provide solutions for promotion of activities generating/ enhancing livelihoods under the Rural Off-farm Sector.
- Provide financial support as grant depending on the nature of the project, activities within the project, stakeholders involved, etc.
- Support marketing activities of rural artisans by extending grant assistance for Rural Haats, Rural Marts, Exhibitions and Melas.
- Provide financial support to eligible institutions including government agencies, banks, NSDC affiliated training institutes, Skill Development Council, RUDSETIs/ RSETIs, corporates, companies, 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/ Peoples’ Organisations, Co-operatives (including PACS),Colleges, Research Institutions, Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Marketing Federations, Commodity Boards, subsidiaries of NABARD, etc. for undertaking Off-Farm Sector promotional interventions and whose objectives/activities are catering to the development of Off-farm sector as per the policies approved by NABARD.
- Promote 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 rural artisans for formation of Off-farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) in clusters to take up collective business activities, build capacity and develop market linkages.
- Support innovations in Off-farm Sector through Rural Business Incubation Centres etc
3. Major achievements of the Department at National Level
Skill Development Initiatives of NABARD
In tune with GoI’s goal, NABARD has developed a structured approach for addressing the skill gap in rural India through demand and outcome-based programmes through multiple stakeholders in skill development ecosystem leading to wage/ self-employment. NABARD has developed a digital platform “NABSKILL” (www.nabskillnabard.org) enabling complete digitisation of skill interventions. During 2020-21, NABARD has extended grant assistance of ₹20.00 crore for skilling 31,890 rural youth through 679 programmes. NABARD has so far supported 9.58 lakh rural youth through 35,557 programmes by gainfully engaging rural youth both in wage as well as self-employment.
Agri Business Incubation Centres
NABARD supports eligible institutions for setting up Rural/ Agri Business Incubation Centres (RBICs) to nurture early stage innovative enterprises that have high growth potential in agribusiness by adding value and linking to producers and markets. These centres would incubate the start-ups working in identified areas in agriculture, allied activities to agriculture and off farm activities.
As on date, NABARD has supported 7 Rural/Agri business Incubation Centres and is expected to provide direct and indirect benefit to about 47000 farmers.
Catalytic Capital Assistance to Incubators/Subsidiaries of NABARD
The objective of the scheme is to support Incubation Centres and subsidiaries of NABARD to in turn support start-ups in the stage of ‘Valley of Death’ in farm and non-farm sector to stimulate commercialization of ideas and inventions that will lead to enterprise creation, increased employment and increased income-generating activities in rural areas. The support is available through NABKISAN a subsidiary of NABARD and MABIF, an Incubation Centre supported by NABARD and located in TNAU, Madurai.
Off Farm Producer Organisation (OFPO)
Off-farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs) are legal entities formed by artisans, weavers, craftsmen etc., to promote rural enterprises, generate local employment through value addition, design innovation and development, processing, brand-building, creation of storage and logistics infrastructure, aggregation, mechanization and development of technology, develop strong forward and backward linkages, ensure better income realization, which ultimately brings in sustainable and inclusive development through collectivization and formalization.
As on 31 March 2021, 40 OFPOs covering around 14043 artisans and weavers have been supported across 20 States.
Promotion of GI Products
Geographical Indications (GI) is an Intellectual Property Right that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location. GIs can play an important role in rural development, empowering communities, acting as product differentiators, support brand building, create local employment, reduce rural migration, creating a regional brand, generating spin-off effects in tourism and gastronomy, preserving traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and conserving biodiversity.
NABARD has extended support for enabling GI registration of 72 products including Black Pottery (Nizamabad), Wall Hangings (Ghazipur), Soft Stone Jali Work (Varanasi), Gulabi Minakari (Banaras), Handmade Dari (Mirzapur), etc.
In order to support rural artisans and producers to market their products effectively, NABARD provides financial assistance for establishing Rural Haats and Rural Marts and also sponsoring Exhibitions.
NABARD extends support for setting up of new Rural Haats and for creating basic infrastructural facilities in existing rural haats which provide rural communities an accessible market to buy and sell their farm and off-farm produce. Rural Haats have emerged as forward linkages for Producer Organizations, Village Watershed and Tribal Development Committees in trading their produce. As on 31 March 2021, 636 Rural Haats have been supported.
Rural Marts not only provide market access but also help promote entrepreneurship amongst producer communities, SHGs etc. The Scheme provides support towards operational expenditure for setting up of Rural Marts at potential locations. As on 31 March 2021, 1085 Rural Marts have been supported. Realising the need for mobility during the COVID pandemic NABARD came out with a policy for supporting Mobile Rural Mart to FPOs, OFPOs and PACS. 37 Mobile Marts were supported during the year 2020-21.
Exhibitions and Melas at regional as well national level provide a direct marketing platform to the artisans with access to market intelligence, customer preferences and bulk orders. Participation in these melas empower the artisans to face the challenges, cross learning and design development for fetching better prices of their products.
NABARD supports organizing exhibitions independently or in collaboration with major partners. Grant assistance is also extended for enabling artisans and producers to participate in exhibitions at different places in India. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lock down impacted the artisans and weavers hard as public gatherings were prohibited and very few exhibitions could be conducted. NABARD supported e-Exhibition to overcome the problem.
Stand Up India Scheme
Stand Up India Scheme (SUI), launched by Government of India, facilitates bank loans ranging from ₹10.00 Lakh to ₹1.00 Crore to at least one SC or ST borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up an enterprise. NABARD along with SIDBI continues to be the Connect Centre for organizing pre and post disbursement handholding events at district level, to share best practices, review the programme, problem solving and guiding the potential borrowers. The Stand Up India scheme has been extended up to 2025.
Post the budget for FY 2021-22, the following changes have since been approved in the Stand Up India Scheme with immediate effect:
i. The extent of margin money to be brought by the borrower may be reduced from 'upto 25%' to ‘upto 15%' of the project cost. However, the borrower will continue to contribute at least 10% of the project cost as own contribution.
ii. Loans for enterprises in 'Activities allied to agriculture' e.g. pisciculture, beekeeping, poultry livestock, rearing, grading, sorting, aggregation agro industries, dairy, fishery, agri-clinic and agribusiness centers, food & agro-processing, etc. (excluding crop loans, land improvement such as canals, irrigation, wells) and services supporting these, shall be eligible for coverage under the Scheme.
Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS)
NABARD is one of the nodal agencies for implementing the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) for Technology Upgradation of Micro & Small Enterprises of Government of India. The Scheme supports the induction of proven and improved technologies into micro and small units in specified products/sub-sectors. A total of 239 CLCSS subsidy applications pertaining to 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 were scrutinized and forwarded to the Ministry for sanction of subsidy. Subsidy amounting to Rs. 1396.09 lakh was released during the year 2020-21.
Launching of Sanitation Literacy Campaign
NABARD has been supporting the Swachh Bharat Mission of Govt. of India in various ways for making India Open Defecation Free. The support included providing funds to government under SBM- Grameen with necessary funds for construction of household toilets. NABARD had sanctioned and disbursed an amount of Rs 15,000 cr and Rs 12,298 cr respectively which supported the construction of Rs 3.29 cr household toilets in the country. Appreciating the need for maintenance of these assets through credit, creating awareness on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to sustain attitudinal changes for adopting safe sanitation and hygiene practices, NABARD conducted more than 2000 Sanitation Literacy Programmes in NABARD supported project areas across India including the North-Eastern States with the help of jingles, short film, posters etc. Launched on 2 October 2020, on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and culminating on 26 January 2021, the programmes reached out directly to more than one lakh people in 2000+ villages across the country. Besides creating awareness on need for clean water, sanitation and hygiene, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the programmes also created awareness on the availability of credit for constructing sanitation facilities among the bankers and other stakeholders. A refinance product to support the WASH sector was also launched for all eligible financial institutions on an ongoing basis.