03 December, 2020

A systemic approach to rural transformation across India

Shell and Tata Trusts, through Xynteo’s India2022 partnership, launch the Stages of Development Framework for rural transformation on November 23, 2020

Over the decades, rural India has seen staggered and non-uniform development across sectors. While the government, foundations, NGOs, start-ups, donor agencies, corporates and other stakeholders continue to play an active role in rural development, there are persisting challenges around the difficulty of access, wide geographical spread, lack of infrastructure and low economic standing of the rural population.

This highlighted the need for a systematic approach to rural development that will help to unlock the underserved market through innovative solutions. The Stages of Development (SoD) Framework was conceptualised as a data-driven approach to understand the market potential of rural communities. It informs the design of solutions and delivery models best suited for each village based on its socio-economic conditions.

The framework classifies a village based on its performance against socio-economic development indicators into one of the four categories — underserved, nascent, advancing and rurban. Based on the stage in which the target village / area falls, the framework puts forth solutions and delivery models best suited to the target area as well as synergies amongst the eight core sectors.

This tool will aid in reducing the lab-to-market journey for start-ups, philanthropists and investors working in the rural development space, and to make informed decisions, identify relevant solutions and maximise social impact through an integrated, collaborative approach. Thereby, it will also help identify right partnerships that will aid in integrated rural development.

The SoD framework can help start-ups, the private sector, investors, philanthropists and NGOs to make informed decisions and identify cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder synergies to maximise social impact through an integrated, collaborative approach.

Click here to watch a short video on the Stages of Development Framework, which can help understand it better.

The event

On November 23, 2020, through Xynteo’s India2022 partnership, Shell and Tata Trusts launched the Stages of Development Framework. Close to 100 guests from diverse stakeholder groups attended the event, including start-ups, incubators, investors, non-profits, academics, philanthropy organisations and the media.

Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director of the Atal Innovation Mission, graced the launch as the keynote speaker. Excerpts from his address: “The main challenge we are facing now and will be facing in future is to create a nation of job creators and not just jobs seekers. Any problem which we can solve in a diverse country like India can also be replicated in many countries around the world. India has huge potential to become the innovative nation of world. We need to create a culture of innovation at each level of India … Through the Atal Innovation Mission we are creating many tinkering labs and Atal Community Innovation Centres to spur innovation needed by the local community … The corporate sector needs to play an important role to build and bridge the economic and digital divide for significant development of the rural sector and masses of India … The framework will inspire, enable and implement innovation initiatives and will bring tremendous change for our country.”

The event continued with a discussion between distinguished panellists: Ganesh Neelam, Head, Central and East Zone, Energy Portfolio, Tata Trusts, and Executive Director, CInI; Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder and Chair, Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank; Ananth Aravamudan, Senior Advisor and Practice Lead, Energy, Villgro; Anindya Chowdhury, Country Transition Manager, Shell India; and Osvald Bjelland, Xynteo Founder and CEO.

Ganesh Neelam emphasised that “Partnerships with private or social enterprises is critical for implementing a scaleable programme for the rural aspirational sector. We try to facilitate and bridge gaps between the private, rural aspirational and non-profit sectors for a common goal. The process is a learning experience and we will continue to learn with various partners working for a social cause.”

Read more about the Rural Collaboration Initiative.