Millennial Farmers Making More Money From Alternative Jobs Than Farming
Farmers hold a hosepipe while spraying fungicide in a field of rice on farmland near Sirsa, Haryana, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

Millennial Farmers Making More Money From Alternative Jobs Than Farming


A large number of millennial farmers in villages around the Nashik district of Maharashtra are making more money from alternative jobs like electricians, plumbing, and fabrication than from farming itself.

Most of these farmers are earning between Rs 7,000-15,000 per month from alternative jobs in construction-affiliated industry, which they said is "good enough money" to support their agriculture-dependent families.

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These millennial farmers, who are mostly educated till 12th standard, are gradually emerging as talented professionals, thanks to the vocational skill training intervention by PNB Housing Finance Ltd. as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative implemented with the support of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India and Vivekananda Institute at Nashik.

Looking at the uncertainty in agriculture, a matric-passed farmer Sagar Nivruthi Bodke (22 years), who assists his family in a 2.5-acre farm land located at Tadwade village in Trimbakeshwar Taluk, took up the 45-day free training course on fabrication at Vivekananda Institute last year.

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"There is not much income from agriculture. Both monsoons and markets are unpredictable. Despite efforts of the entire family, the return from a piece of farmland is very low. Youth like me cannot even think of asking salary for my share of work," Bodke told PTI.

Stating that farming is becoming difficult with increased water woes in Trimbakeshwar, he said an alternative job like fabrication comes handy to sustain during offseason. "Now, I have my own work. I earn Rs 14,000 to Rs 15,000 per month. My family is happy that I earn from this new job and at the same time help them in agriculture activities," he said, adding that he was able to learn fast as the course syllabus was more on practical knowledge than theory.

Sharing a similar story, 20-year old Abhishek Mohan Daghar said he has become a certified electrician after getting the training at the institute and been working with a building contractor for the last three months. "I am getting Rs 7,000 per month, which is not bad for a 12th Class fail youth. We have 5 acres of farmland and I help my father in agriculture and also doing electrician job," Daghar said and added that he was ready to join a company if he was offered a better salary.

There are many millennial farmers like Bodke and Daghar in and around Nashik who have either become entrepreneurs or got placed in companies after the training. The objective of the intervention, Punjab National Bank Housing Finance Ltd.’s Chief People Officer Anshul Bhargava said, is to build inroads for upgrading skills of construction workers and creating a conducive environment for them. The purpose is to improve the socio-economic condition of this community.

Now, the demand for such courses is increasing not only among millennial farmers but also from youth belonging to economically weaker groups who want to acquire new skills to find job opportunities. For instance, 21-year old Vinayak Rawat (12th class pass) after the training course got placement as an electrician at Chinese home appliance giant Haier in Nashik and is earning as much as Rs 15,000 per month.

"I did the course in June-July 2019 and now working with Haier. My salary is Rs 15,000 per month. Gradually I started earning more money because of incentive given on marketing of the company's products," Rawat said, adding that additional skills that were taught at the training helped him deal with customers, market the company's products and earn incentives.

Under this partnership, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India President Satish Magar said it has been able to directly reach out to 40,000 unemployed youth from underprivileged backgrounds, helping them access entry levels job opportunities in construction affiliated industries.

Since many of the existing plumbers, electricians, and fabricators have picked up skills on the job and are not trained at all, Vivekanand Institute Executive Officer Sandip Kuyate said, "Such courses help the supply of trained workers who can provide better services keeping safety on priority."

"Along with the course, we teach additional basic skills like computer, soft skills, entrepreneur development skill, financial literacy, and career counselling," he said, adding that such skills give them the confidence to deal with customers. As per the latest data, PNBHF has trained over 1,500 youth in electrician, plumbing and fabrication skills in the last three years in Nashik district alone, while a total 41,744 youth between 2015-16 and 2019-20 across India.

There is a 70-75 percent placement after the training. Besides Maharashtra, PNBHF is offering such training courses in 10 states -- Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Orrisa.

The certificate courses are recognised globally as it is accredited by the National Skill Development Council, and Construction Skill Development Council Of India. The courses are offered free of cost to people belonging to economically weaker sections. PNBHF is investing Rs 8,000 per candidate for the training and aims to train 13,000 persons this fiscal. Many students travel 20-25 km from Nashik city to attend classes and Vivekananda Institute is also offering hostel and meal facilities here.

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