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Wharton interviews Ajay Gupta of ruralnaukri.com

India Knowledge @ Wharton features an interview of Ajay Gupta, founder of various institutions that cater to employment necessities in rural India. Ajay Gupta talks about ruralnaukri.com, a job portal for college educated village youth and villegenaukri.com for school graduates.

His views about impact rural employment can have on Indian economy are thought provoking.

Today, we achieve 7% to 8% year-on-year growth without the active participation of more than 60% of [our population]. From the perspective of the Indian economy, more rural jobs mean a contribution to GDP, more foreign exchange, more raw material for industries, more manufactured goods and more services. Hence, rural jobs have the potential to provide momentum to the giant wheel of the economy.

He is not just involved in employment, but also in its precursor – training. Apart from soft-skills training provided for college graduates, he offers distance learning programs in management through his Ruralnaukri Institute of Agribusiness Management (RIAM) for those already employed in the rural and agri-business sector.

For the future, Ajay Gupta contemplates various possible models of extrapolating and fine-tuning RIAM’s training model to a program that equips rural youth for ground-level work (rather than just management).

The most promising model suggests that corporations need to be approached to seek some [funding], the benefit of which will ultimately come to them. Plus, some other corporations may donate in kind — say, the manufacturers of LCDs might give you 1,000 projectors. Or the facilities for offline training may have to be taken as a gift from institutions and corporations. A mix of mostly online and very little offline will have to be worked out. A regular source of income to meet running expenses could be the income derived from the placement of trained staff. This income — say, six months’ salary — should factor in the extra expense that corporations anyway incur on training, because that bit has been done in advance for them.

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