Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Water-Cycle : a grass-root innovation

I wrote previously about grassroot-innovations in India. Left side photo is about one of such inventions, a bicycle that can not-only travel on land but can also float on water.

IT to agriculture : Helping farmers!

Farmers of rural (web-connected) guys can now dig up relevant demand-driven farming knowledge via, an initiative of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay and its partners. You can find more details here or visit

Food processing: Big corporates romancing with Rural India

According to this news:
There are big plans being drawn up to link India’s farms to the world markets by companies, particularly those venturing into the domestic retail sector like Reliance, Godrej, Field Fresh (Sunil Mittal’s 50:50 joint venture with Rothschild), Snowman Frozen Food, a joint venture with the Mitsubishi group, Amalgam foods and HLL, Radhakrishna Group, DCM Sriram, Gufic Labs, Jain Irrigation, Tata Group, Godrej, Dabur, Blue Star and Voltas, among others.

Tax incentives being given by the government for food processing, including income tax and excise holidays for industries involved in the processing of fruits and vegetables have led to interest in the sector. These companies are establishing direct contact with farmers to source their requirements, by eliminating middlemen, and cutting down costs to offer higher yields to farmers.
My question is : will this move make sure that farmer gets benifited more than now?? Hope so.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Are you a rural entrepreneur seeking funds?

Aavishkaar funds rural ventures that are commercially viable, improve the quality of life in rural people and needing Rs. 1 million to 5 Million. Check its website for more details.

Innovative distribution model for renewable energy in Bangladesh

According to this news:

With a loan in the form of a program-related investment (PRI) from The Lemelson Foundation, Emergence Energy is testing micro-entrepreneurship models for energy production and distribution in Bangladesh. Led by Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Phone, and Dean Kamen, an accomplished inventor, Emergence Energy will combine access to micro-credit with low-cost energy generation technology to test whether rural entrepreneurs can sustainably manage mini power plants at the village level, making use of biogas and the stirling engine.

The proposed mini power plants will use cow manure as input and generate electricity, fertilizer, and heat as outputs. First, cow manure will be converted into methane-rich gas through a biogas business run by a local entrepreneur. This biogas will then be converted into electricity using a mini power plant owned and operated by two other entrepreneurs. All three entrepreneurs will be financed through a micro-credit program. These plants will generate a continuous power output of 1 KW and will supply energy for 70 advanced light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes in their neighborhoods.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Deutsche Mutual Fund looking for companies focused on rural India

According to this news:
Deutsche Mutual Fund plans to turn its attention to companies focused on rural India, courtesy an equity fund titled Deutsche Green India Fund. The proposed scheme will try to generate long-term capital appreciation by investing chiefly in stocks of companies with businesses that revolve around the rural theme. These would also be companies that are expected to benefit from growth in agriculture and allied sectors. eutsche Green India Fund, to be benchmarked against the S&P CNX 500, will invest in companies engaged in agri commodities, irrigation, food processing, fertilisers, agri machinery, and the like.

Besides, rural infrastructure development companies (covering rural electrification, roads and canals) may also be included in the portfolio, along with tractor and two-wheeler makers. The fund's investment universe will include FMCG companies that derive a large part of their revenues from the rural market, while banks and finance outfits too will be taken into account. The offer document filed by Deutsche MF with the SEBI has named Vinay Kulkarni as the fund manager. A minimum 65 per cent of the assets will be invested in equities and equity-related securities of companies that focus on rural India. The allocation may be raised to 100 per cent as well.

Reliance Agri Fund, which Reliance MF had mooted last month, has been a first of sorts on this front although Sundaram MF has actually entered the market with its Rural India Fund. If launched, Reliance Agri will follow Reliance Equity, whose NFO recently wrapped up with Rs 5,700 crore. The fund's investments may span 0-100 per cent in equity as well as 0-100 per cent in debt. The idea, as outlined in the offer document, is to invest in equity or fixed income securities of companies in the agri sector and those in allied segments.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yahoo! India is eyeing rural India

According to this news:
Dr Prasad Ram, CTO, Yahoo! R&D India, said that `livelihood-based' offerings for the rural market would roll out by mid-2006.

Indian engineers [at Yahoo!] have contributed eight products to the global market. Three of them - Vertical Search, Personalised Anti-Spam Filters and Self Expression - were created, developed and completed here. While the first service offers Internet users the ability to narrow down their search in verticals such as travel, real estate, shopping and automotives, the second works on the premise that people have discrete definitions of spam. By studying their reaction to spam in their inbox, Yahoo! Mail will now be able to `learn' to minimise it using personalised filters. The third product, Self Expression, is a personalised Web page that will be "rich with self expression".

. The company underwent a "rethinking of products" for rural markets. Dr Ram spoke about the probability of people in remote villages and towns adopting e-shopping, since they have limited access to shops. The company is presently undertaking the implementation rounds of the services. Pilot tests would begin in January, he added.

Development of rural enterprises -- China's secret

A book is edited by He Kang and written by experts in this field. According to this news:
This book details the rise and development of TVEs - a leading force that has propelled China's market economy forward, a vital pillar of the rural economy and an important component of the national economy.

According to data contained in the book, the number of rural enterprises stood at more than 22.13 million, they employed more than 138.66 million people, making a great contribution to the national economic development and social stability. The book, in English and 436 pages, presents both a general picture and personal profiles of farmer-turned entrepreneurs, with detailed feature stories.

Well supported by a rich collection of data, graphics and statistics updated to 2004, easily accessible reference with well-indexed names and terms peculiar to China, the book is considered suitable for researchers into the Chinese economy, especially that of rural China, Chinese farmers and agriculture, as well as for anyone who wants a peep at the secrets of China's rapid economic growth.

Title of the Book: China's Township and Village Enterprises
Publisher: Foreign Languages Press, Beijing

Monday, March 20, 2006

Rural Indian been running a radio station and seeking help

According to this news:

Everyone is hooked to Raghav Station in a dusty village in the eastern Bihar, one of India's most backward and impoverished states. The radio station, hugely popular with the residents of Mansoorpur - a non-descript village in Muzaffarpur district, is the brainchild of a local youth Raghav Kumar.

Twenty-two-year-old Kumar, a self-taught radio mechanic, can hardly read and write, but all the programmes on his radio station have struck a chord with the local residents for the past three years. Kumar's passion for doing something creative and unique has remained undeterred by his illiteracy and poverty.

Kumar has ingeniously fitted his transmission kit - a box strung to antenna to a bamboo pole connecting at least three tape-recorders in his thatched-roof repair shop stacked with over 200 audio tapes and electronic appliances. The station plays folk songs and popular Bollywood music. It also broadcasts public interest messages on polio and HIV on requests from social organisations - all without charging a single penny.

The station's popularity has clearly given other FM channels a run for their money within the 15 km radius of Kumar's shop. Everyone listens to the Raghav Station. We take the radio along when we go to work in our fields and listen to the songs while working. Our families also listen to the songs, says Ram Prasad Bhagat, a villager.

The indigenous radio station, however, has yet to find favour from the government, as it has no statutory licence to run such a station. Kumar says with his meagrely monthly income of 2000 rupees (US dollars 45), he cannot pay the registration fees. Kumar seeks government aid to help him register his station and to acquire some advanced equipment to transmit the radio waves to a greater distance.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rural Employment Scheme : yet another political gimmick

Recent proposal : National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme by the current government is a mere political gimmick. This is another scheme which increases the appetite of already-corrupt-administration. Rural youth require jobs creation but not wastage of public money like this.

You may see more detailed analysis : Atanu Dey, Economic Times, Business Today.

Mutual Fund is after companies focussing rural

According to this news:
Sundaram Mutual Fund has unveiled its new equity offering under open-ended category, Sundaram Rural India Fund.

The primary investment objective of the scheme is to generate consistent long-term returns by investing predominantly in equity & equity related instruments of companies that are focusing on Rural India.

The new fund offer opens on March 20, 2006 and will close on April14, 2006. Minimum subscription amount is Rs 5,000 and offers both dividend and growth option. During new fund offer it would not charge any entry load while an exit load of 3 per cent would be levied if redeemed within six months from the date of allotment.

Related news: Khosla interested in companies serving rural

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hyderabad university admits school drop-outs

Please see this news. Hyderabad University train school drop-outs so that they can be viable for industry.

No rain but vegetables can be grown : IIM prof feat

According to this news:
Vegetables growing in arid land is unheard of. But this impossible task has been made possible by IIMA professor Dr Girija Sharan. For the past three years, people of Kothara village in Kutch enjoy fresh tomatoes and capsicums grown at a greenhouse farm here. Now, even nearby areas including IAF base at Nalia come here for their greens.

The credit goes to Dr Sharan who designed the Arid Area Greenhouse (AAG), a cultivation technology that departs from the traditional open farms and makes use of the greenhouse’s controlled enviroment to grow vegetables in a place where water is scarce.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Khosla : Looking for investments in sustainable technologies

Vinod Khosla is looking to invest into energy, micro-finance and bottom of the pyramid among others. See his new exclusive venture fund for this.

This is a great news for social entrepreneurs in India.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Poor parents prefer private schools: Why?

This survey research paper answers the following interesting question.

Q. Why would these largely poor parents pay for their child’s education when there is a free government alternative?

1) The private schools are having English medium which is a very important factor to the 96% of the parents.

2) Parents perceive that the private sector provides a better quality of education

3) 98% of the parents indicate the fact that the school is considered to be a ‘good educational provider’ is an important element when they chose their child’s school.

4) Almost 75% of the parents stated that it was unimportant to them if there was a government alternative to which they could send their children They would choose the private school irrespective of the provision of a government school.

5) 78% of the parents stated that they would recommend their current private school to their neighbours, friends or relatives.

6) 93% of the parents rated their private school “very good” or “good” value for money.

7) School owners face 3 or more major competing schools in their area. Local government school is never a competitor. (most owners expressed this!)

8) School official: the teachers in the private unaided schools are accountable to the parents. On the other hand, govt schools teachers and staff are guaranteed a ‘job for life’ owing to the strength of the teachers’ unions and employment contracts.

9) Parents are attracted to private schools glossy brochure and the manager’s office had marble floors and air conditioning ( however class-rooms are no different in schools which charge less or high).

10) ‘Recognised’ by the state Government (thro bribery: even this fact is known to parents).

11) Internal tests in private schools were deliberately providing easier tests to inflate their scores, thus encouraging parents to believe that they were better.

Packaged Rural Foods & a business plan

For the past 10 years, I usually carry hot (Namkeen or Junk Food) (I also carry sweets, but this article is limited to hot varieties) made in my home to my university. Whenever I took such items, all of my friends greatly enjoyed over and above sweets. Till date, I have never seen such wide varieties of items in any city I stayed in India (Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai). I had at least 100 different tasty foods in my own home. And I believe there could be even more items.

Usually these foods are made of rice (main ingredient) (rarely wheat), Dals (pulses), masala chilli powder and some other stuff. Good part of them is that they stay for longer without any preservatives (longer I mean, more than 3 months if packaged).

There is a good market for such items in India and elsewhere in the world. In India, there are very few companies in this domain notably Haldiram. However haldiram's business is limited to few items (10-15 types : and all are not much different in taste).

Rural India can do a lot in this space. In fact, there are some similar packaged items in Japan originating from rural places of Japan.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Who is an entrepreneur?

Today (1st of March, 2006) is one of my happiest days in my life. Reason : I just could understand who a entrepreneur is!! Yes .. I got the real sense of it.

Whenever a person feels a frustation because of a service/facility unavailability, that is the oppertunity to be to be grabbed. If one grabs so he will be called as entrepreneur.

Provide a service which makes people get out of their frustation and that will make you an entrepreneur.

Yes .. I wish & I will become a social entrepreneur through which I will change the lives of bottom most of the pyramid.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited(OSP Global, LLC)