India is a country of villages. About three-fourth of India’s population are living in rural areas out of which 75% of the labour force is still earning its livelihood from agriculture and its allied activities. Land being limited is unable to absorb the labour force in agriculture. Therefore, there is a need to develop rural industries to solve rural unemployment and rural migration to cities. Growth and development of rural economy is an essential pre-condition to development of the nation as a whole. The gap between rural urban disparities should be lessened.
The standard of living of the rural people should be increased. Entrepreneurship in rural sector provides an answer to the above problems. Indian rural sector is no longer primitive and isolated. Therefore, entrepreneurship in the rural and tribal areas looms large to solve the problems of poverty, unemployment and backwardness of Indian economy. Rural industrialisation is viewed as an effective means of accelerating the process of rural development. Government of India has been continuously assigning increasing importance and support for the promotion and growth of rural entrepreneurship.
Rural entrepreneurs are those who carry out entrepreneurial activities by establishing industrial and business units in the rural sector of the economy. In other words, establishing industrial and business units in the rural areas refers to rural entrepreneurship. In simple words, rural entrepreneurship implies entrepreneurship emerging in rural areas. Or, say, rural entrepreneurship implies rural industrialisation. Thus, we can say, entrepreneurship precedes industrialization.
Rural industries and business organisations in rural areas generally associated with agriculture and allied activities to agriculture. According to KVIC (Khadi and Village Industry Commission), “village industries or Rural industry means any industry located in rural areas, population of which does not exceed 10,000 or such other figure which produces any goods or renders any services with or without use of power and in which the fixed capital investment per head of an artisan or a worker does not exceed a thousand rupees”.
The modified definition of rural industries has been given by Government of India in order to enlarge its scope. According to Government of India, “Any industry located in rural area, village or town with a population of 20,000 and below and an investment of Rs. 3 crores in plant and machinery is classified as a village industry.”
Types of Rural Industries:
All the village industries come under the following broad categories :
Agro Based Industries: like sugar industries, jaggery, oil processing from oil seeds, pickles, fruit juice, spices, diary products etc.
Forest Based Industries: like wood products, bamboo products, honey, coir industry, making eating plates from leaves.
Mineral based industry: like stone crushing, cement industries, red oxide making, wall coating powders etc.
Textile Industry: like spinning, weaving, colouring, bleaching.
Engineering and Services: like agriculture equipments, tractors and pumpsets repairs etc.