The business opportunity that would come through rural India can get a good boost by giving big importance for infrastructure development in rural areas. Concerned quarters like Planning Commission and administrators overseeing such a huge project all need to work in close coordination for getting the best results.
DURING THE recent press address made by Mr. Harish Manwani, chairman of Hindustan Unilever (HUL), on the eve of the Company's Annual General Meeting, he pointed out that by 2025 the Indian rural market is expected to grow more than ten fold to become a $100 billion opportunity for retail spending. Based on an estimate done by banking circles, it is viewed that rural India, considered the backbone of the national economy, is expected to overtake the urban market in size by 2017.
Solar powered Automatic Teller Machines ( ATM), called "Gramateller Indi" is poised for a big growth in rural India. A single Gramateller unit saves more than 90 pecent of the annual costs of maintaining a conventional ATM, half of whose annual bill of around Rs.1,44,000 rupees goes on air-conditioning, electricity and generator running costs. The Gramateller Indi, which need only about five hours of good sunshine per day, use solar panels to covert sun rays into electrical energy; the electricity is stored in a battery that runs 24 hours a day.
India's banking industry has in recent years identified the potential of the rural market, but logistics and associated costs have hindered full scale expansion. Even so, State Bank of India
more than quadrupled its rural presence in two years, from 12,000 villages in 2008 to more than 50,000 villages in 2010. The Gramateller will help to cut costs by helping banks set up ATMs instead of full service branches in areas where power supply might be erratic or totally absent.