About Us

Vision & Mission

Why Gramonnati ?

India is among the youngest countries in the world with a median age of 29 years by 2020 (50% Indians are less than 25 years in age). This is potentially an enormous demographic dividend in a world that is rapidly aging.

To this, we could add the fact that 68% of India lives in its villages, and that they need to develop at a much faster rate for India to be truly and sustainably developed in coming decades. Rural development, with an aim of boosting rural economy and generation of employment locally in villages is already one of the most critical areas identified by the Government at all levels. Numerous policies and programs are being implemented with varying degrees of success.

We believe that in coming years, an ever-larger share of employment opportunities will be in rural areas. Gramonnati, accordingly, aims to focus on supporting rural transformation through technology, skills and entrepreneurship.

  • Right use of technology to help communities to leap-frog to the latest ideas and innovation.
  • Skill development to help people to become self - employable.
  • Rural Entrepreneurship to help them become job-creators instead of job-seekers. We aim to select and train ex-soldiers, youth and women to be rural entrepreneurs.

In our extensive travel and interactions with village communities, NGOs, Government officers, academic experts and entrepreneurs in this field, two observations can summarize the rationale for Gramonnati’s mission and goals:

  1. A lot of innovative and often brilliant solutions are being worked upon to solve rural challenges, being developed by startups, academic institutions and entrepreneurs, but these are not readily or widely available to village communities when they need it and in the manner, they can use it best. The reasons are lack of awareness, poor infrastructure, poor education and many social and local factors.
  2. A study of many well-run rural programs indicates two critical predictors of success:
    • An inspiring leader at grass-root level: whose commitment and tenacity is often central to overcome all challenges and rally the community on the path of transformative development.
    • Quality of execution: Several factors impact quality of execution like deep local knowledge and trust of the communities (social capital), right leadership and technical skills, integrated eco-system approach and so on.

Our Values

To develop rural entrepreneurs and grass-root leaders to transform villages for greater self-reliance.

Structure & Execution

Our Approach

We see ourselves as “connectors” and “enablers” for bringing the right solutions to solve rural problems. We do this by partnering with organizations (NGOs, Academic Institutions, Research Institutions, Government Agencies and Entrepreneurs) who have expertise and experience in knowledge, skills and solutions for the identified problems and bring that expertise to rural communities who can be trained to use these effectively to solve the problems locally; and in the process make the selected youth and women and retired soldiers as rural entrepreneurs. Please see the section on for our Knowledge Partners. This list is continually expanding.

Further, our approach focusses on grassroot innovation as the central theme. We setup and operate Gramonnati Innovation Centres in rural areas. These are the technology hubs through which we aim undertake trainings to develop local youth into micro-entrepreneurs. We see academic institutions as a primary intervention point to pursue our aim of developing rural entrepreneurs.

The process of developing rural entrepreneurs is slow, and in our experience, fraught with early failures. Based on our experience, we have developed a model through our Udyam Program (path – to – entrepreneurship) for development. The same is explained in the section on Udyam Program



Ex- soldiers as rural entrepreneurs

We work with army institutions and ex-servicemen groups to select and train retired soldiers in different areas of rural entrepreneurship. One of the major areas for retired soldiers is organic farming entrepreneurship where we aim to develop 5000 of them as organic farming entrepreneurs in next 5 years. Refer Aurokrishi programme for more details.



Gramonnati Kendra: Execution Focus at Grass-root Level

A Gramonnati Kendra is the nodal delivery point at village / community level. It is the technology and execution hub through which most programs for the rural communities will be rolled out. We aim to have over 1000 Gramonnati Kendras over next five years. In the first year of operation, we plan to roll out 10-15 Kendras. Each Gramonnati Kendra will be led by “Kendra Sanchalak” (selected and trained from amongst ex-soldiers or qualified youth from the same region).

A typical Gramonnati Kendra is equipped with broadband internet, video-conferencing, laptops / PC s for self- paced online trainings and Innovation / Tinkering labs.

Current


Smart
Education

Digital Financial
Literacy

Rural
Entrepreneurship

Organic and
integrated farming

Water conservation
and clean water

Health
care

Planned


Women
Empowerment

Traditional
Livelihood

Rural
construction

Renewable
Energy

Co-Founders

Ved Prakash Sharma
CEO

VP Sharma (Co-founder and CEO) is a Technology professional with over 32 years of global experience in Telecommunications and Networking. He served in Indian Army for 16 years before transitioning to corporate world in 2001. He is experienced in organisational and business transformation having setup, managed and transformed global service delivery organisations for companies like Airtel, Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco. He also volunteers with Sri Aurobindo Society (www.aurosociety.org), a global not-for-profit NGO based out of Pondicherry.


Shyam Kaluve
CTO

ShyamKaluve (Co-founder and CTO) has over 24 years of professional experience and is currently serving as Director of Software Engineering at Cisco Systems and has been part of Cisco’s CSR and community development efforts for over a decade. He is very passionate about use of technology in education, healthcare and sustainable development. He is on a long leave to focus on Gramonnati activities.


Suresh Subbarao
COO

Suresh Subbarao (Co-founder and COO) has strong roots in rural Karnataka and is very passionate about sustainable development with social justice. He believes in resource conservation and living lightly on the earth. He is a 17-year veteran at Cisco systems and has held responsibilities in Engineering, Services and IT. He has been a member of the Cisco India Civic Council - the steering body for Cisco's CSR activities. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical to work with Gramonnati.

Brig Rakesh Kaul
Chief Mentor

Brig Rakesh Kaul has over 33 years of distinguished military experience. He is from Corps of Signals and has led major communications and networking projects for the Army over the years. He is also a wild life and nature enthusiast and has a post-graduation in eco-tourism. He has been instrumental in helping Gramonnati to conceptualize its approach for “path-to-entrepreneurship” program for ex-soldiers. Post his recent retirement from the Army, he has taken up responsibility for setting up and managing all Gramonnati Kendras in Central, North and West India from May 2018.


Core Team

Vandana Malaiya

Vandana Malaiya is passionate about women empowerment and has been working in this area with women at her work place for the last 20+ years. She is now working with underprivileged women to help them develop as micro-entrepreneurs through Self-Help Group model. Hailing from an agriculturist family, she is keen on extending it to rural women engaged in agriculture.She comes with extensive experience of over 30 years in the IT Industry, both as an entrepreneur as well as a change leader in a large corporate. She has worked in companies like DCM Data Systems, VeriFone, EximSoft (which she co-founded) and IBM.


Anuradha Roy

Anuradha Roy has 36 years of experience in Steel Authority of India Ltd, in the marketing wing. She has worked in policy formulation and implementation, interfacing with the Ministry of Steel and it’s allied wings like Joint Plant Committee. As a person from the business side of the company, she was project leader for ERP implementation in the marketing wing of the company. She is a good communicator and very keen to help rural communities develop self-reliance through technology initiatives.



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