Non-farm Based Livelihoods
Sustain Plus is focussed on enabling micro-entrepreneurship based livelihoods solutions in rural and peri-urban areas. It addresses energy gaps in businesses that reduce productivity, encourages women and men to become asset owners, and reduces the employment gap by supporting other income generating opportunities within the existing business and in the clean energy-zero emission mobility sector. With a gendered approach, it supports these enterprises to expand and diversify their businesses, addresses loss in opportunities due to lack of energy, increases footfalls by enhancing users’ access to businesses, and helps shift from manual to technical solutions.
The Rural Non-Farm Sector in India with its diverse range of economic activities provides a source of income for non-farm households and small and marginal farmers, thereby playing an important role in generating rural employment. Even though the income and productivity from these activities are not homogenous, these household and non-household level enterprises can help bridge the urban-rural gap and stop migration to urban and commercial centres. However, the Rural-Non-Farm-Sector has been unable to effectively grow as a potential employment generator in rural India due to the lack of basic infrastructure, electricity and communication facilities, and lack of access to finance, information, and skilled labour. Most enterprises, therefore, operate at sub-optimal levels resulting in loss of income and opportunity.
The COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 worsened this situation as it created an unprecedented reverse migration of daily wage earners from cities back to their villages increasing unemployment and further putting pressure on local rural economies.