Uberization of Rural India

By Manoj Gupta, CEO, Craftsvilla

Since I came back to India in 2006, I have loved trav­elling to rural India, both as an entrepreneur and as a VC. The challenges and opportunities the rural India has, are unique and can largely be addressed by technology interven­tions which is great news as technol­ogy is apolitical and unbiased.

While travelling, you realize the diversity of Indian culture and a large spread of villages dotting the country from east to west and north to south. The disaggregated nature of life in vil­lages offers a unique opportunity to uberize lots of assets in rural India. The biggest benefit of uberization is that it allows you to control the disag­gregated supply and connect that sup­ply to disaggregated demand through a technology driven platform in real time and without really owning the supply.

There are three primary opportu­nities that exist in rural India today:

1. Uberization of Handlooms: There are more than 2.3 million Handlooms in India and close to 10 million arti­sans involved in those handlooms. The demand side market of Hand­looms is urban India and international markets. The biggest benefit of hand­looms is that it allows a customer to get a custom design done on a saree or bed sheets or curtains. This design need of customer and the fact that handlooms are disaggregated creates an opportunity to create a platform which connects buyers, weavers and handloom owners to create an eco­system where the buyer can choose to block a handloom, a weaver and choose a design to get a perfectly wo­ven saree at their doorstep in Canada or Chennai. This will also ensure that handloom utilization goes up which can ensure a weaver charging even lesser for woven saree which is great for consumers.

2. Uberization of Farming Equip­ment: Lot of farmers in India do not have money to own farming equip­ments like tractor etc. As tractor is used for a small duration of whole farming lifecycle, otherwise it is lying idle. There is a potential opportunity to create a mobile app which can help a farmer lease out its farming equip­ment to someone who needs it in real time so that his asset is utilized more and he gets higher income.

3. Uberization of Farming Labour: While sowing, harvesting and irrigat­ing, lot of farmers need help for their day to day activities. While the need is local, farming labour can exist in clos­er towns and other villages. A farmer can use a mobile app to post his/her requirement with wage offers and a farming labour can register to offer his/her services with desired wages. This can help connect the farming labour market in real time where the demand and supply can be matched which otherwise is not concentrated. This can help in reverse migration of people back to villages from smaller towns and even cities.

While there are multiple opportu­nities lying in rural India which can only be uncovered through observa­tion and by being in villages, uberi­zation philosophy can definitely help in analyzing lot of those. Only Tech­nology can leap frog societies like us which are otherwise infested by po­litical, caste and religious biases which hamper growth.

Let’s help rural India through rel­evant technology interventions. Lets uberize rural India!

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