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The redefined push for infrastructure and digital growth and financial inclusion continues to be a strong focus area for the government and this is clearly reflected in the renewed interest among consumer companies to demystify the rural enigma and start riding the growth wave that lies beyond the traditional urban market. The rising influence of the consumers in the hinterland has been one of the strongest drivers for this growth. The future is very promising for those who understand the DNA of the rural market. 70% of the Indian population lives in villages and if the numbers are to be believed, there are sectors which drive more than 50% of their total revenue from the rural segment.

Rural has evolved, digital is no more a buzzword in a sufficiently mobile rural market and the storytelling medium has changed. Gone are the days of village haats and wall arts, which were good enough to sell products a decade ago. The new age millennial and connected rural consumer has choice and options at his fingertip, and the choice is backed with sufficient information and knowledge available at one’s fingertips.


The FMCG sector in rural and semi-urban India is estimated to cross US$ 100 billion by 2025
Rural FMCG market accounts for 40% of the overall FMCG market in India, in revenue terms
Automobile market leaders Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and Mahindra generate about 35-50% of their sales from rural India
India’s hinterland consists of about 650,000 villages inhabited by about 850 million consumers, all of whom contribute almost half of India's GDP
India’s per capita GDP in rural regions has grown at a CAGR of 6.2% since 2000
The Government of India is looking to install Wi-Fi hotspots at more than 1,000 gram panchayats across India, under its ambitious project called Digital Village
More than half of all Internet users will come from rural communities and rural India will constitute about half of all Internet users by 2020
NABARD plans to provide around 200,000 PoS machines in 100,000 villages & distribute RuPay cards to over 34 million farmers across India, to facilitate cashless transactions


Rural or Rurban, organizations cannot afford to have a lacklustre strategy for the strongest growth segment in an ever evolving India and a one size fits all approach is not going to work. Companies need to have a prudent plan to tap into the world of opportunity before them.



Through the most unconventional formats of discussion, interaction with the thought leaders and exclusively designed content, The Economic Times Rural Strategy Summit has clearly established a benchmark for leaders to deliberate on the plethora of opportunities that the rural market offers. Over the years, experts have come together, deliberated and gone back with very concrete thoughts and fresh ideas on ways to expand their share of the rural pie.

The 2018 edition of the summit, to be held in Delhi, will scrutinize every link in the value chain, right from the policy makers to the newly empowered consumer and leave you with some brilliant ideas to execute your rural strategy better.



  • The only summit with a rural theme for the perfect experience
  • Full of case studies and experiences from actual rural practitioners
  • International case studies for cross border learnings from equally complex rural labyrinths
  • 1.5 hours of unconferencing sessions to help you interact one-on-one with your peers
  • Deep dive into sector specific opportunities and challenges through parallel tracks


Day 1
09.00 – 10.00  Registration
10.00 – 10.05 Welcome from ET Edge
10.05 – 10.20 Chief Guest Address – Strengthening the implementation and monitoring of existing Rural Schemes
Much has been talked about the positive intention of the existing government and there has been no dearth of rural schemes aimed at solving some of the most pressing rural problems to bring the millennial rural population at par with their urban counterparts. However, the effectiveness and last mile delivery of these schemes is something that India Inc. tracks very closely. This opening address will have the government address their challenges and ways in which they want to work with the citizens and corporate alike to ensure flawless delivery of these schemes
10.20 – 10.25 Audience interaction with the Chief Guest and QnA Session
10.25 – 10.40 Opening Keynote Address – The Rural Renaissance and navigational challenges in the Rural Labyrinth
Prasun Basu, President, South Asia, The Neilsen Company
10.40 – 11.30 Inaugural Panel Discussion – The flipside of going Rural and circumnavigating your way around it An objective introduction to the challenges in cracking the rural market
Rural India does present immense opportunity but for everyone trying to make millions out of it, there are a few words of caution on the challenges that the landscape presents.
  • Distribution and Logistics
  • Payment Collection
  • Scaling Across Geographies
Ramesh Iyer, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services
P.K Sinha, Former Professor - Retailing and Marketing, Chairperson - Centre for Retailing, IIM - Ahmedabad
Balkrishna Archarya, Chief Executive Officer, Patanjali Ayurved
Sunil Dutt, President, Reliance Jio
Rajesh Jejurikar, President Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra
Moderator: Amit Bali, Leader - North India Market & Nepal, The Nielsen Company
11.30 - 11.40 Case Study
Balkrishna Archarya, Chief Executive Officer, Patanjali Ayurved
11.40 - 11.50 Networking Chai Break
11.50 – 12.30 Roleplay – 5 Actual Rural Influencers and 5 pitches to the Influencer Panchayat
Influence the Influencer – From dour old sarpanches and local political leaders, the rural influencer today is a mobile savvy, social media enthusiast who has equal access to information as his counterpart in the metro cities. What does a successful influencer marketing campaign look like.

This scenario-based session will have actual consumers from the hinterlands of India listen and evaluate the propositions from the leading brands currently dominating or looking to enter the rural markets and give first-hand experience to the delegates on what it takes to influence the right people
12.30 – 12.45 Case Study 1 – Measurable impact of a successful engagement campaign with the community on the toplines
Vishwajit Kamat, SVP, Head Strategic Business Unit, Zydus Cadila
12.45 – 13.00 Case Study 2 – Breaking the Pricing Paradox – Success story of a luxury brand in Rural India
13.00 – 14.00 Networking Lunch – Rurban Style
14.00 – 14.45 Unconference – Retrofitting the existing and Urban and Rural Mechanism to solve the challenges
3 Scenarios to be given to 3 groups of delegates with an identified leader. The leader will brainstorm with his group and come with innovative ideas to revamp and reinvent the mechanisms for efficient delivery of quality and service in the Rural Markets
  • The Delivery Network – Using the Postal Services
  • The Influencer Network – Tapping into the micro internet influencers
  • Identifying and Leveraging the existing Rurban Clusters
14.45 – 15.00 Special Address – Understanding the Millenial Rural Consumer
Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India
15.00 – 15.15 Networking Coffee/Chai Break
15.15 – 16.15 Sector Specific Parallel Roundtable Discussions
  • FMCG/Consumer Devices
  • Automotive
  • Pharma
  • Telecom
  • Real Estate
16.15 End of Day 1
Day 1 - Evening
18:00 – 18:30 Registration & Networking
18:30 – 18:35 Welcome Address by ET Edge
18:35 – 18:50 Chief Guest Address
18:50 – 19:00 Keynote Address: From Touchpoints to Trust points: Winning over India’s Ambitious Rural Consumers
19:00 – 20:00 Panel Discussion: Making a Difference – Rural Uprising
20:00 – 20:30 Felicitation
20:30 - 21:00 Interactive Music Production with Renowned Nagada Player from Rajasthan
20:30 Onwards Cocktails & Dinner
Day 2
09.00 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.30 Opening Keynote Address:
Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Government of India
10.30 – 11.15 Interactive Panel Discussion - Ecommerce in Rural India – From Untapped Potential to Accelerating Growth
About 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas. For ecommerce giants & start-ups alike, this is where opportunities lie. As a matter of fact, most ecommerce pundits believe this untapped market share is what will ensure a seamless growth of ecommerce sector in the country in coming years
  • Is the Rural market still underserved?
  • The Role of Government in rolling out quality services
  • Bandwidth and Internet Penetration – The Elephant in the room
Vishal Sharma, Senior Vice President, Operations, ShopClues
SubbaRaju Pericherla, Co-Founder & CEO, RealShoppee
Moderator: Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India
11.15 – 12.00 Special Interactive Session - The art of effective storytelling and its impact – Kavad Katha
Kavad is a three-dimensional form of traditional Indian storytelling, originating from Rajasthan. A box unfolds to reveal pictures of episodes in a particular story, or more frequently in a series of stories about a particular character. Traditional Indian Kavads tell stories of the Gods. British equivalents could tell tales of legendary characters such as King Arthur or Robin Hood
Akshay Gandhi, Kavad Katha Specialist
12.00 - 12.15 Networking Rural Food Experience Break
12.15 - 13.00 Fishbowl Panel Discussion - Urban and Rural – The Demand Supply Paradox
Traditionally rural enterprises have supplied to the urban India, but with changing dynamics of the rurban landscape, increasing penetration and connectivity, this may just be turning the other way round. This interactive panel discussion will have a fixed set of panellists along with a rotating panellist from the audience try to unearth the new normal and analyse what is turning the tables
Ullas Kamath, MD, Jyothy Laboratories
Sanjeev Nimkar, VP & Business Head (Power Generation, Industrial Engines), Kirloskar
Sanjay Panigrahi, President (RURBAN and Special Projects), Pidilite
Ajay Motwani, Head Marketing, Adani Wilmar
13.00 - 13.30 Case Study – Rural markets – Evolution, Opportunity, Challenges, Models in FMCG
Gunjan Shah, Head Sales, Britannia India
13.30 - 14.30 Networking Lunch – Dhaba Style
14.30 - 14.50 Flash Presentations – The Impact of Digital, Data and AI on various aspects of Rural outreach
  • Digital Marketing and its impact on Rural Marketing
  • Impact of Digital on Rural Banking
  • E-Governance 2.0
  • Digital Agriculture
Amit Gujral, Head Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics
Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-governance
14.50 – 15.50 Panel Discussion: Making Financial Services Accessible to the Rural Economy
Sharad Mathur, Head - Sales & Distribution, SBI General Insurance Company
Sameer Anil Joshi, President - Sales, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance
Sadaf Sayeed, Chief Executive Officer, Muthoot Microfin
Dr. Bhabatosh Mishra, COO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance
Moderator: Gayatri Parthasarathy, Partner - Head Financial Services, KPMG India
15.50 – 16.30 Concluding Panel Discussion – 4 Emerging Growth Sectors in the Rural Market – Breaking the convention
  • Agriculture 4.0 – How far is India from Automated farms
  • Financial Services – Opportunities with the Newly Banked
  • Healthcare – Keeping the Newly Banked Health with access to world class facilities
  • Automotive – Alternative energy sources to meet the rural demand in Automotive sector
N K Uppal, Vice President - Agri Services, Rallis India
16.30 End of Conference


Amarjeet Sinha

Amarjeet Sinha

Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Government of India

Amit Gujral

Amit Gujral

Head Corporate Marketing
LG Electronics

Balkrishna Archarya

Balkrishna Archarya

Chief Executive Officer
Patanjali Ayurved

Dinesh Tyagi

Dinesh Tyagi

CSC e-Governance

HR Dave

HR Dave


Rajesh Jejurikar

Rajesh Jejurikar

President Farm Equipment Sector
Mahindra & Mahindra

Ramesh Iyer

Ramesh Iyer

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services

Sadaf Sayeed

Sadaf Sayeed

CEO, Muthoot Microfinance
Muthoot Pappachan Group

Subbu Pericherla

Subbu Pericherla

Co Founder & CEO

Sunil Dutt

Sunil Dutt

Reliance Jio Infocomm

Suresh Pillai

Suresh Pillai

BrandIdea Analytics Platform

Veerendra Jamdade

Veerendra Jamdade

Founder, Director and CEO
Vritti Solutions


Amit Gujral
Head Corporate Marketing
LG Electronics


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