Rural India- Government Initiatives
The Government of India is planning to re-launch its most ambitious national program in January 2013 to facilitate electricity through decentralised renewable energy sources. Rural India will be exposed to the world's most efficient lighting system - light emitting diode (LED) in place of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in the subsidised solar powered home lighting systems for rural homes. The Government aims to provide LED lights to around 400 million homes that do not have an electricity connection by 2017. The Government also hopes that the initiative will encourage domestic manufacturers to further slash the prices. For the initial phase, the Government has decided to buy 5,00,000 LED solar lanterns to be provided at highly subsidised rates to people in rural India.
The Indian Government has also allowed the execution of the next phase of India Post's IT modernisation program by earmarking US$ 880 million to be invested in the post office network. The proposal, forwarded by the Department of Posts, involves implementation, operation and maintenance for upgraded IT systems in all of India's 155,000 post offices, with the execution to be completed in a phased manner over a two-year period. The major focus area for the India Post IT Modernisation project is to computerise all post offices PAN-India, including branch outlets in rural areas and create an "urban-rural network spanning across the length and breadth of the country".
Rural Market - Road Ahead
CRISIL study estimates that over 60 per cent of India's population would be residing in rural areas in 2026. A huge chunk of this population will climb the consumption ladder to rub shoulders with today's affluent states. Policy initiatives and support from the Indian Government is expected to give immense boost to rural Indians and their aspirations.
Mr Beni Prasad Verma, the Union Steel Minister, believes that India's rural markets would be bigger than the markets in some of the developed countries in the next few years. These markets would drive the growth of not only the steel industry but of other industries as well. Therefore, steel companies should focus on rural marketing, he said.
Exchange Rate Used: INR 1= US$ 0.01802 as on November 24, 2012
References: Media Reports, Press Releases.