8th Dr. V. Kurien Foundation Day Lecture” delivered by Dr. S. S. Meenakshisundaram on 20th November, 2014

“Second Level Institutions (SLIs) for inclusive and sustainable growth”

Dr. S.S. Meenakshisundaram

The 3rd National Rural Management Symposium got to a flying start with Dr. SS Meenakshisundaram, Former RD Secretary, GOI and currently vice chairperson of MYRADA delivering the “8th Varghese Kurien Foundation Day” lecture. Dr. Meenakshisundaram spoke on “Second Level Institutions (SLIs) for inclusive and sustainable growth”. He started his lecture by giving 3 reasons for agreeing to deliver the Foundation Day Lecture – firstly, revisit the use of management techniques in institutions like KSRM for rural development in meeting the needs of rural people, secondly, an admirer of Dr. Kurien and having worked closely with him for few years from 1983 onwards. Thirdly, my belief that the best way to remember Dr. Kurien is not only to recall what he did for the Dairy Sector but also find out the ways to carry that legacy forward.

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Dr. Kurien realized very early that the millions of small producers need to be organised to be able to protect and promote their interests and benefit from these new marketing system, unless he / she is organised into institutions owned and controlled by them. These institutions will allow them to aggregate, add value and market these products. Therefore, Dr. Meenakshisundaram referred producer companies, cooperatives and informal collectives as Second Level Institutions (SLIs). He went onto suggest that dairy experience shows that SLIs need a supporting ecosystem to take off like the one made available by Dr. Kurien under operation flood program.

Dr. Meenakshisundaram also gave examples of MYRADA, which helped the small producers to market their “Tur” in Gulbarga District. He also suggested that series of measures and policies are required to adequately and appropriately support the SLIs. Further, SLIs open up enormous opportunity for rural entrepreneurship.

He called upon the young Rural Management students to provide managerial expertise and support  to SLIs through their entrepreneurial skills. He was of the opinion that with arrival of a substantial number of SLIs in rural India will pave the way for establishing more and more Rural Management Schools catering to the needs of the rural producers.  That perhaps is the best way to cherish Dr. Kurien’s contribution to rural management.

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He ended with a pious hope that adequate human and financial investments get injected soon into the organizational and financial support systems for SLIs to ensure that the small grower gets included in the growth that he/she aspires for.

He concluded by thanking KIIT for giving him an opportunity to share his thoughts through this lecture.

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