In India, about 48% of the total population is still dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. More than 66% of the farmers in India are small and marginal farmers who are producing mostly for self consumption and who don’t have any surplus to sell. These farmers farm on 39% of the total land available in India. Agriculture contributes only 14% of total national income. The income from agriculture has decreased from 35% in 1983 to 14% of GDP in 2011-12. There is disguised unemployment in agriculture due to non availability of alternate employment opportunities. Hence (plethora of studies shows) poor require 4-5 multiple sources of income to meet their ends. (eg. Farming, dairy, goat rearing, poultry rearing, wage work, small enterprise etc.).
In the above perspective, it is evident that there is a huge need to help the rural populace to move to non-farm based sources of livelihood. Owning a micro-enterprise and running it successfully is one of the multiple livelihood options for individuals and groups. Even after starting an enterprise, the major reasons for the low returns from the enterprise are due to:
Poor skills in business accounting.
Lack of business skills – planning, customer handling etc.
Lack of peer learning from similar entrepreneurs.
Lack of hand holding support post training.
Lack of any platform to support enterprise development in rural areas.