The eastern state of Odisha is largely rural and tribal. Hence, the state government has developed a unique programme to promote skill development, which has won numerous national awards.
There is a radical undercurrent of socio-economic transformation in Odisha. Rural economic upliftment measures along with several livelihood interventions have catalyzed the pace of development in the State in recent years. Innovative livelihood support extension along with product marketing strategies in rural pockets have given momentum to State’s quest for economic security, employment creation and enhancement of income.
Leading this surge has been ‘The Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society’ (ORMAS), an autonomous body under Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Odisha. Registered under Societies Registration Act-1860, it has been rendering yeomen services in livelihood promotion and rural product marketing in Odisha since 1991. The Society plays critical role in facilitating marketing of rural products and in giving competitive edge for its promotion. A large proportion of rural households, producers in general and the rural artisans in particular who live in less favoured, marginal or more complex environment get advantage from it. At present, it is functioning in all the 30 districts across the State under the direct supervision of the respective district administration.
District units of ORMAS, known as “District Supply and Marketing Society” (DSMS), are also registered under Societies Registration Act1860, operating in District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) premises. The basic purpose of DSMS is to reach out the rural producers and facilitate marketing of their products by adding value for better economic returns.
With the implementation of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), DSMSs have evolved to focus on financial inclusion of rural poor and marginalised and promotion of non-farm and off-farm livelihoods clusters at the district level. They play instrumental role in planning and implementing placement linked Skill Development Programme of the Government. ORMAS has successfully facilitated implementation of several selfemployment schemes in the past as well. An annual stocktaking of the impact of various initiatives, efforts, opportunities and the enabling environment on the lives and livelihoods of the rural poor by ORMAS is worth making to design the future course of action.
It is imperative to get a glimpse of the humble beginning and development of this Society, which initially cherished to provide marketing support to the rural producer/products for the larger goal of economic empowering of poor.
ORMAS trail a robust intervention strategy on capacity building of the rural producers for role evolution of the community and then gradual withdrawal from it for self-management of enterprises. It ensures empowerment of the rural producers with sustainability. At the micro level, the strategy is to create successful models of enterprises and at the macro level to influence the policy decision in favour of the community.