India should look at rural economy as source of production: Zoho’s Sridhar Vembu

Bengaluru: India needs to look at the rural economy as a source of production and wealth creation rather than just a source of demand to become a $5 trillion economy, according to Zoho’s Sridhar Vembu.

The country can focus on product innovation and train the talent available in rural areas to get the benefits of demographics and cheaper real estate, he said.

“If you look at our $5 trillion (economy) goal for India, the crucial thing is we cannot look at our rural economy just as a source of demand. We also have to look at it as a source of production and wealth creation. Otherwise rural economies cannot balance,” the CEO of India’s largest software products company said at the Amazon Smbhav Summit on Sunday. “It is very important for entrepreneurs to help balance the rural economy and create and nurture the talent locally.”

Vembu, who co-founded Zoho Corp. in 1996, relocated to Mathalamparai village near Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu in 2019. His company runs the Zoho Schools of Learning there.

According to him, apart from the demographics and cheaper real estate, attrition rate is much less in villages and employees have higher commitment to making such places appropriate for product innovation.

“As a new entrepreneur today if you move to rural areas you can find much cheaper land and cheaper rent and the venture is less burdened with cost… That‘s what we have been doing for the last 10 years,” he said. “To make this work, you have to invest in talent and skilling. The infrastructure is increasingly becoming better and connectivity is really good.”

READ  Mahindra Thar launched at starting price of Rs 9.80 lakh — check features, specs

The Padma Shri awardee said the Zoho Schools of Learning model has been successful, and these schools have been teaching people in villages a variety of streams—ranging from software engineering to marketing. “That takes a year and a year and a half and then they become ready for the jobs at Zoho.”

He pointed out that entrepreneurs would be paid back in loyalty and commitment if they invest in rural areas. “From Zoho’s experience we can say that first you must have faith in the talent available in rural areas. You get a very talented workforce and that is very committed. When you invest in people you get paid back in terms of loyalty and commitment,” said Vembu.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here