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We’ll take rural industry to high street fashion, says Vishal Chordia, chairman, MSKVIB

It’s been close to seven months since Vishal Chordia, chairman of Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industries Board, MSKVIB, has come on board. An active entrepreneur, Chordia has been dealing with urban and rural parts of Maharashtra since the past 18 years, owing to his food industry business. Over time, he has seen disparity between the urban and rural industries growing. Also, the gap of knowledge is bridging because of the advent and accessibility of Internet, television and mobile. Today, everybody is at one knowledge platform. He speaks to Anjali Shetty on the current scenario of rural entrepreneurs, challenges and forthcoming plans of the board. 

pune Updated: Jul 25, 2017 14:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindutsan Times, Pune
rural industry,high street fashion,Vishal Chordia
As a team we are working on introducing brands Mahakhadi and Mahagram, the first store will be at Papertells, Shivajinagar.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)

What made you take up the role?

I don’t come from a political background but I am a pro development and sensitive Indian. I want my country to have a global impact and out of all this I want to make my people happy. Happiness is the final result of development. If in the process of development, I am not going to make people happy then I am not getting the right result. I may have a less developed nation but a happy nation is a far better situation to be in. It is better than having a progressive nation with unhappy people. India is a rich country with poor people, so I want to make it a rich country with happy people. I am not connecting happiness with economic growth. I am looking at working towards the self-esteem of rural entrepreneurs. I want to give them a satisfaction by recognising and identifying their abilities.

What will your focus be on?

Make in India is already generating funds. I aim to revive this sector. It is very easy to give advice when not in the system and very difficult once in it. I have taken it as a challenge. It is our responsibility. I have involved my peers and acquaintances to become sensitive to the situation and then act on it. I aim to bring my business and corporate experience in the government structure. As a team we are working on introducing brands Mahakhadi and Mahagram, the first store will be at Papertells, Shivajinagar. When it comes to rural products there are certain things that need to be standardised. Hence, it is important and we have begun to do it, identify the sector, get into detailing, get experts on board, implement a pilot, check success, replicate the success and then scale. We can't jump from pilot to scale. The objective all the way is to go global. We aim to take the rural industry to high street fashion.

What is the current scenario of the rural entrepreneurial sector?

Earlier, a large stability of the rural population came from agriculture. However, now that is on shaky ground. On one hand we are talking about Make In India programmes, which is a great initiative, but what about the section that is already making in India? We are seeing internationalisation happening in India, but we need localisation too. Even though we see development happening, but it is only for the investor and for beneficiary. There is a thin line on how we project it. This is where my inner voice started pushing me. If we are not going to help our real rural entrepreneurs, a time will come where we will lose our economy in the real sense. It is important to revive them. We have so many rural entrepreneurs that it is an alarming situation. We need to work towards providing them with a platform that is relevant to their business. We are facing a challenge of upgrading the entire system. On one side, we see a challenge of upgradation and on the other side, I feel looking at government finances we cannot ask for any more money. So, how do we revive the more than seven lakh entrepreneurs we are dealing with across Maharashtra from 120 different sectors. Every year, we are adding 2,000 plus entrepreneurs to this number.

What are the challenges faced?

My biggest challenges involve convincing the team, government and my rural entrepreneurs. I have to repeatedly tell them not to remain dependent on the government. We have changed the approach and I am trying to build confidence in the team and rural industries.I aim to project the real heroes and their journeys.

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 14:19 IST