Home / Opinion / Views /  Social entrepreneurship could speed up our Amrit Kaal journey

There is a saying, “You may live in an unknown small village, but if you have big ideas, the world will come and find you!" This is especially relevant in the context of India. Recently, we celebrated the grand 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with national festivities. However, nationalism is no one-day game; it must be continually driven, particularly by the youth of our country. While addressing the nation on the occasion of India@75, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “India must become a developed nation before it marks the Centenary of Independence." In his address, the Prime Minister called upon the people to move forward with five pledges to fulfil the dreams of freedom fighters by 2047—a theme that President Droupadi Murmu had also underscored in her speech on the eve of Independence Day. The five pledges or “Paanch Pran" for India@2047 are: achieving a developed India, removing any sign of servility, instilling pride in our heritage, fostering unity and fulfilling our duties. The transformation must take place better and faster. Social entrepreneurship and innovations have a high potential to achieve that far-sighted vision.

India should focus on those five pledges for the next 25 years of our Amrit Kaal (auspicious period) to ensure we become a developed country with no trace of a colonial mindset, take pride in our roots and cultivate a sense of unity and duty among citizens. Social entrepreneurship and innovations have a significant role to play in ‘Make in India’ and the India@2047 vision, as well as in self-reliance. We must also foster cooperative and competitive federalism to ensure a healthy spirit of competition among states.

Social entrepreneurship is a crucial driver in the economy as it opens up new prospects. This is mainly through its impact on economic sustainability, social integration and the cause of a fair society. It is not just about processes of creation, change and sustainable development; it is also a significant social problem-solving mechanism.

During this new phase of Amrit Kaal, Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhaan, i.e., Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer, Hail Science and Hail Innovation must drive our actions. While the PM Krishi Yojana has been given importance and the government is providing massive support to farmers through progressive policies, a participatory approach among citizens is key to unlocking the hidden potential of India. Agricultural social entrepreneurship holds enormous potential for fostering an enabling ecosystem for farmers. Value chain management, organic farming, agri-decision support systems, and input and product management are some of the prospects for development driven by agricultural social entrepreneurship in India. Currently, the major hurdles in the agriculture sector include a lack of appropriate understanding of social enterprise, cultural complexity and asymmetries vis-a-vis urban enterprises, among others. From developing plant-based ‘meat’ items to empowering farmers through technology, there is an opportunity to build an ecosystem in which social innovators can develop solutions to address the multifaceted challenges of our food and farming system. The idea should be to bring in champion products from champion farmers, and to eliminate farm hurdles of productivity, growth and sustainability. Farmers need to be better informed about affordable financial products, high-quality inputs and the adoption of technology. They also need to be equipped with improved market data and have better market links across the value chain.

To close gaps and help Indian farmers prosper, social enterprises can play a major role by implementing innovative solutions in agriculture. Social enterprises often address a particular pain point in the value chain, often with the expectation that the cost of their services or products will be recovered from the benefits those farmers get. Given India’s intent to double farmer incomes, sustained efforts are being made to sort out challenges of access to finance, cultivation productivity, post-harvest produce value and value chain and market linkages.

We need to leverage a bottom-up approach to uplift agri-business growth in India. The present government is continually replacing colonial-era set policies with new ones, along with boosting the country’s culture of innovation. We should promote the convergence of technology, people’s skills, training, capacity building, traditions and the entrepreneurial spirit to act in favour of integrated sustainable development in rural communities and support villages in becoming socially equitable, financially viable and eco-friendly.

If India’s youth unfurl their wings, we will be able to achieve our vision of India@2047. Startups, social enterprises, businesses, civil society organizations, public-private partnerships, academia and government institutions can collectively support the nation on a progressive path to socioeconomic independence (not just at the national level but even at the global level) by taking an active participatory approach.

Kirit P. Solanki & Sumit Kaushik are, respectively, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and a researcher at O.P. Jindal Global University.

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