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The 4th Annual Economic Times Rural Strategy Forum is the most exclusive platform for any organization who wants a pie or consolidate their position in the thriving “Rurban” market in India. The forum will bring together the leading stakeholders in a closed door initiative to discuss, deliberate and ponder upon the learnings from the rural strategies of organizations so far, and the best way forward in the myriad of 1000’s of cities that we broadly classify as Rural.

Digital Transformation and the changing outlook of rural consumers are the central themes for this year’s forum. Through a series of interactive panel discussions, real life case studies of successful rural strategies and why they worked, round table discussions focusing on various aspects of Rural strategy and Keynote Presentations from industry veterans, the forum will create an unparalleled platform for everything rural.
In a digitally connected world, with disruptive changes becoming the norm, the line between the rural and urban consumer has been significantly marginalized. The rural consumer aspires to purchase branded, high quality products, being used by their peers in the bigger cities. The rural consumer is now equipped with a multitude of options to proactively seek information while making purchase decisions. The wider reach of media, telecommunications and devices have catapulted rural buyers to the position of informed purchasers who are not just looking for low prices, but also do not want to compromise on the utility, features and aesthetics of the products or services they buy.
The growth rate in rural markets have been notably higher than that in the urban markets for a considerably long time. To simplify things, the rural market in India roughly consists of 850 million consumers in 650,000 villages, making up 70% of the population and 50% of the country’s GDP.

The Government of India has planned various initiatives to provide and improve the infrastructure in rural areas which can have a multiplier effect in increasing movements of goods, services and thereby improve earnings potential of rural areas subsequently improving consumption.
  • The rural segment is growing at a healthy pace of 8-10 per cent per annum and is expected to add US$ 100 billion in consumption demand by 2017
  • The Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector in rural and semi-urban India is estimated to cross US$ 20 billion by 2018 and US$ 100 billion by 2025
  • The Union Government plans to build 2.23 lakh km of roads in the rural areas and has proposed a total spending of Rs 27,000 crore (US$ 4 billion) until March 2017
  • Indian government plans to train 500 million people by 2022, and is looking out for corporate players and entrepreneurs to help in this venture