16th February, 2015: In an interesting initiative to better understand the rural sector of the Indian economy, Jaipuria Noida’s students got an opportunity to interact with and help a group of framers. The day long event was aptly called ‘Rural Day’ was part of E-week, and it involved multiple activities, including spending time with farmers and an agricultural scientist, debating and drama.
The day started with Jaipuria students traveling to go and spent time with nine farmers from the neighbourhood villages of Mahawar, Kudi Khera (Ghaziabad). A health checkup was also organized for these farmers and it was interesting to note according to Dr. Rajesh Kesri, that they were in much better health in their 70s and 80s than their much younger city counterparts. The day was also graced by one of the most senior agricultural scientists in the country, Dr. V Kumar, who engaged in one-on-one conversations with the farmers.
In his talk, Dr. Kumar shared his experience of working with farmers, the issues and challenges they grapple with and the “policy paralysis” of the Government. He then went on to offer solutions that can change things on individual and community level, through means like dairy farming, horticulture, regular soil testing and making the most out of the services offered by the Government. Students also got the opportunity to interact with the farmers and learn about the ground realities in their own words. This was quite an eye-opening experience for many students, as their interaction with rural communities and farmers has been limited.
Two more activities were planned for the day, and these activities were followed by the debate on the question: “Is rural India the new bottom of the pyramid”. There were participants speaking for and against the motion in what turned out to be quite an engaging discussion. Tushar Walia won the first prize speaking for the motion, and Pranjal Srivastava was also awarded the first prize, while speaking against it. At the end of the debate, it was agreed that companies need to look at the poor as valuable customers. In addition, the key to farming in the future lies in sustainable business models, effective distribution channels and working with the right partners.
The finale of the event was a drama titled “Lighting of Rural India”. It was presented by a talented bunch of students from the institute. In keeping with the theme of the event, the play highlighted the divide between city and rural life, while trying to build a new, sustainable connection between the two. The show was high on energy and made good use of humour to convey important messages and themes. Putting the simplicity and significance of rural India and farmers in the spotlight, the day emphasized rural India’s untapped potential that future managers could help realize.