Sep 16, 2008

The Rural Indian Consumer - hungry for energy ?

Another chance encounter with a young enthusiastic person that allows a glimpse into the rural psyche…- this time, its from within the interiors of Bihar – a small village in Vaishali (also near the birth place of Mahavir Jain and Guru Gobind Singh)

The village hardly gets an hour or two of electricity during the day, although infrastructure exists for electricity distribution.

Most people do not pay the mandatory INR 25 for electricity dues per month

People have electrical appliances at homes, which run on ‘batteries’ 6V / 12V cells and which are charged at the local flour shop / mechanics shop, for as little as INR 10 ( 25 US cents) and these typically last for 12 hours of TV playing time.

People in villages have paid up to INR 5000 for getting infrastructure set up. The payments have been made, through borrowed funds from friends or the rich landlords within the villages ( as donations).

The gentleman who I spoke with was quite sure that there is a huge paying capacity in villages, provided the right product is made available. This person is well educated ( having done his primary schooling from the village – according to him, the village school does an excellent job which was contrary to my beliefs) and spoke excellent English. He has stayed in the cities (like Kolkatta and Hyderabad) over the last 4 years and till very recently was employed with a top BPO organization in Hyderabad.

When I asked him – on whether he considers himself fortunate at having made it – with a well paying job (excess of INR 25 K p.m., part of which he religiously sent home) AND if he is planning to do something for his school – his simple answer was an emphatic ‘yes – something very big’ and the look in his eyes conveyed the rest !!

I wonder how many of such people are out there !

And perhaps in ten years from now, how the face of villages would likely change ?

2 comments:

Manuj said...

Sir,

Appreciate the in depth writeup. True-this is the position for most of India. Am on your RSS feed. Thx.

Manuj

Selina said...

Interesting to know.

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