January 2022


Cover Story: Potters’ Wheel Turning the Potters to Shape
Online Training Programme on Combating the Challenges of Rural Informal Sector through Public-Private Partnership Strategies
Online Training Programme on Designing Customised Village Projects and Implementation Strategies
NIRDPR Conducts Regional ToT on Social Audit
Online Training Programme on SMART Methods and Techniques for Effective Implementation of Rural Development Programmes

Republic Day Celebrations at NIRDPR
Sabjikothi – Solution for Extending the Shelf life of Fruits and Vegetables

Cover Story: Potters’ Wheel Turning the Potters to Shape

Image for illustration purpose

This is a case study of how appropriate technology intervention improved the lives of many potters in Tamil Nadu, when in fact, they were almost mentally preparing themselves to give up the vocation and got packing up to migrate in search of wage employment.

Traditional Crafts Persons

Do you remember the mud pots that our grandma’s used to cook in, or the ladle made from coconut shell with a long handle that helped serve food from that mud pot? Till a couple of decades back, people used to cook food in mud pots and mud vessels. Large mud jars were used for storing seeds and foodgrains as traditional storage structures. Village temples had deities, tall horses, and idols made of clay. Pottery is a traditional occupation of a particular community in Tamil Nadu. Where are the rural potters, who were making all these mud pots, mud vessels, and clay idols?  What happened to pottery as an occupation? What’s happening to these traditional occupations and those families that depended on such occupations for a living – the potters obviously. Where are the carpenters after the advent of glass doors, sliding aluminium partitions, glassy or classy wardrobes, and acrylic kitchen cabinets? Where are the goldsmiths after the launch of jewellery showrooms? Where are the blacksmiths after the arrival of tyre-wheeled bullock carts that replaced the traditional bullock carts that had wooden steel-rimmed wheels?       

Fashion and Trend

Perhaps, this is what the livelihoods researchers call ‘fashions and trends’ making the existing outdated or old fashioned. In the evolutionary journey, humans acquire and drop certain things, which is natural to human species.  

Image for representational purpose

Coming back to our story of potters, catching up requires a lot of upskilling, technological assistance, market identification, etc. Keeping pace with the changing fashion and trend is inevitable to remain afloat. The stainless steel vessels have largely taken the place of mud pots and mud vessels. Glittering granite idols grace the sanctum sanctorum of temples, which were dolled up by clay idols until a decade or so ago. These days, people start searching for potters or mud pots only during Pongal/Sankranti. Mud-pots are to be seen – even in villages – only during Pongal/Sankranti.

After the arrival of cooking utensils – cookware as they are called today – in a variety of materials starting from stainless steel to non-stick pans – people started appreciating the durability, price and abundant availability of such items. Our potters and pottery as a skill were not much in demand and their products got sidelined/shelved without any takers for it.

The only product diversification the potters knew were mud horses, clay elephants, and idols for Hindu temples in villages and these became their hope of sustenance. But there was no continuous demand to provide them with remunerative employment as construction of temples do not occur every month for the potters to get business orders. This threw open the livelihood challenge of many potters’ families, who knew nothing other than this handed-down skill of making mud pots, mud vessels, clay idols, and temple horses. Potters’ community faced a situation where they had to look for some alternative means of earning their livelihoods, or else migrate.

Image for illustrative purpose

Modern Overshadow the Traditional  

These are the days of stainless steel stoves and non-stick tawas. Therefore, it sounds seriously funny if we expect people to place a clay pot on a stainless steel stove that burns with LPG. Thus, pottery as an occupation is fast declining. An occupation on the decline is no small matter because it involves the livelihoods of thousands of artisans. And there are many of them in Tamil Nadu, and the fact is that the government has not done any survey to be able to give a figure. However, putting in efforts to make pottery regain its original place would be an exercise in vain. Most often, fashion and trends are irreversible unless after several years, proverbial old wine got into new bottles and make another round until some other trend takes over. 

In fact, the idea of sustainable living favours a life using mud pots and clay vessels, in contrast to the carbon footprint generated by stainless steel and other modern cookware. However, a trend once got set moves further on and on, and it never switches to reverse gear. Thus, the only alternative seemed intelligible was diversifying pottery into other product lines that might consume similar skills that the potters already possessed. Upskilling the potters or technology upgradation were felt possible.      


Image for illustrative purpose

A market survey coupled with a series of brainstorming exercises identified the clay products on demand, points of sale, the techniques needed to promote market for such products, etc. A technology survey on pottery in other parts of the country revealed the ways to enhance the quality, finishing and marketability of decorative pottery articles. The Gandhigram Trust, based in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, drew up a participatory course of action, and the strategies that might work.  

The idea was to enhance the marketability of pottery articles and the income of the potters through introduction of terracotta technology. Gandhigram Trust, with its experience of ‘terracotta technology,’ could lend a helping hand and thus, it introduced decorative pottery using terracotta technology. Potters underwent skill upgradation training on product diversification using terracotta technology. The potters were sent for participation in Rural Crafts Fairs and melas for an exposure. They were involved in a survey to find out the varieties of pottery articles on demand at fairs and meals, potential buyers, and the unique features of such products that entice someone to make a purchase. Potters came with many ideas on the products they could make or emulate, and the segments of customers they need to focus and entice/cater to.   

Skill Upgradation

Potters underwent skill upgradation training in their own work sheds for six months, guided by master craft persons hired by Gandhigram from other States and institutions, specialising in decorative pottery and terracotta technology. The type of training was such that the potters were regularly (on a daily basis) involved in making a variety of products and marketing them at potential market places such as weekly markets, and melas. After returning from markets, they reported the customer feedback and improvise products to the taste and demands of the customers.

The potters underwent six-month training in terracotta technology. Since the conversion of clay into attractive articles was in their veins, it was easy for them to pick up the skill. They became ace players in the use of terracotta technology to produce a wide range of articles.

Technology Intervention  

They got the technologies upgraded with the following machines and tools.  

  1. Sheila Powered Potter’s Wheel
  2. Ball Mill
  3. Improved fuel-efficient kiln

The requirement of machinery to do the job better with ease was analysed. Potters were provided with a ball mill to grind the clay; a mechanised potter’s wheel was introduced in place of traditional hand operated potter’s wheel. There was an improved kiln set up in order to ensure consistency at the time of firming up through baking pottery articles on fire. The upgraded skill, coupled with the new technology, gave them a new level of confidence to take up the decorative pottery work with high enthusiasm. The variety of products, and the quality of finishing started converting even the onlookers into buyers.    

Product Range Expansion

The encouragement offered by the market, along with the newly acquired skills and technology gave the traditional potters a new outlook, and the impetus to expand the range of products. From producing cooking pots, mud horses and temple idols, they moved on to producing a wide range of products including articles on display at star hotels. Using terracotta technology, they produced tiny animal figurines like bulls, horses, camels, happy man, flower vases, variety of lamps, including magic lamp, that was sold in the market like real magic. Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna idols in different poses and different sizes became a hit in the market. Meditative Buddha in any size seemed another attraction in the market. The new found enthusiasm among new house owners in the towns to grow ornamental flowers in roof gardens makes such people buy clay flower pots and vases. This is a thriving market that only seems to grow in the days to come. The stacked home-composter pots for converting kitchen wet waste into organic manure, which could be used for plants and terrace gardens, became another hit in the market.  

Economy of Production

Loss due to damages came down considerably as the sturdiness of the articles increased after the introduction of improved fuel-efficient kiln. The person-hours spent in each of the processes had reduced significantly. These factors increased the productivity and the cost of production per article significantly came down. The amount of firewood used for baking got reduced to almost half because of the introduction of the improved kiln.

Quality of Production

The ball mill enables grinding of clay to fine dough and the improved baking kiln helps in uniform baking. Simple Plaster of Paris moulds are used specifically for the purpose of arriving at consistency in sizes. Introduction of technology has enabled the potters to produce any number of articles of the same size in a variety of designs having consistent quality. The appearance and sturdiness of products were better when moulds were used.

Reduction in Drudgery

The main drudgery in decorative pottery work lies in preparing the clay. Now, the Ball Mill (a new technology introduced) does the clay preparation without having to toil stamping the clay for hours. The old manually-operated potter’s wheel used to drain the energy of workers and the introduction of powered Shila potter’s wheel has eased their work. Thus, the introduction of these technologies has simultaneously reduced drudgery and given a sense of confidence that they could produce more in less time.

Price of Articles

Before this intervention by Gandhigram Trust, the potters who were supplying pottery articles in temples, received their payments after several reminders by repeatedly visiting the houses of the temple committee members. Moreover, during the price negotiation, the potters always remained on the losing side, whereas the demand for a variety of decorated terracotta articles is so much that the buyers often send demand drafts along with the order. These include retail sellers [of decorative terracotta article] in the towns and cities. As these articles are mostly decorative pieces, the consumers are affluent. Potters are now able to dictate the price and even those retailers who buy for second sales bear in mind only the affluent consumers who would not indulge in bargaining.

Market Responsiveness

The market for traditional pottery was almost static, and even potters did not have the required skills to be able to respond to the demands of the market. Hence, vessels of other make (stainless steel, etc.) took over the market and mud pots and articles got sidelined. This was a serious threat to a traditional skill that was about to face its natural death, putting to risk the source of income of several families for whom pottery was the only means of livelihood. Upskilling and technological upgradation in traditional pottery have been developed in tune with the demands of the market. Market responsiveness has come about to cater to the needs of a variety of buyers, most of whom are affluent. Potters no more are on a losing race with the modern cookware. Potters have diversified products, and enhanced the quality, durability and presentation of a variety of decorative terracotta articles to cater to the needs of a major large emerging market – rightly identifying the societal trends.  

But for this intervention, many potters would have migrated to urban areas looking for wage employment in the construction industry and large vegetable markets, only to add to the urban poor population. Interventions such as new market identification, introduction of appropriate technology coupled with skill upgradation training to convert (or rather to upgrade) traditional pottery to decorative terracotta works, have given a new lease of life to the traditional potters in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Development is not merely about income, it’s in the dignity of life one leads.

Dr. R. Ramesh
Associate Professor & Head, CRI
National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj

Online Training Programme on Combating the Challenges of Rural Informal Sector through Public-Private Partnership Strategies

A slide from the training programme

More than 80 per cent of rural India’s employed population earns their livelihoods in the informal economy. A preponderant majority of non-agricultural enterprises are part of the informal sector. These units and workers operate outside the ambit of formal institutional set-up. Informal workers and economic units, although contribute to economic and social development, are not protected, regulated, well recognised or valued. This leaves a majority of informal economy workers and their families outside the benefit of public policy. To ensure employment generation at a rising level of productivity, skill development of entrepreneurs and workers engaged therein will be crucial. In view of this, the said training programme was designed to equip and empower the rural informal entrepreneurs to upgrade their knowledge and approaches to be part of formal institutional network and gain from these institutions. The training programme aimed to facilitate detail understanding on the informal enterprise sector and various issues such as skill, technology, marketing, finance and so on. It was also aimed at improving our understanding on the role of formal institutions in supporting the informal enterprises to transcend to formal sector and expanding their scale of operation and local employment. The possibilities of partnership among various stakeholders operating in rural landscape such public, private and local institutions were also discussed.    

To deliberate upon various dimensions of the informal sector and possible pathways to formalise strategies, the Centre for Agrarian Studies and Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Financial Inclusion, NIRDPR jointly conducted a 5-day online ToT on Online Training Programme on ‘Combating the Challenges of Rural Informal Sector through Public – Private Partnership Strategies’ during 06 – 10 December, 2021. About 30 participants from 22 States and UTs attended this ToT. The selected participants were faculty members from SIRDs, ETCs, RSETIs, officials and young professionals from SRLM, bankers, and representatives from NGOs and CSR affiliates and few faculty members from colleges and universities. The following sessions were arranged in the training programme: 1) Nature and Characteristics of Informal Sector 2) Role and Relevance of Informal Sector in India 3) Strategies for Informal Sector in a GST Regime 4) Financial Inclusion Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship going Digital 5) Challenges for Informal Sector Strategies and Options for Improvement 6) Role of Skilling in Formalisation Process 7) Collectives – Role of FPOs and 8) Public Private Partnership for  Rural Informal Sector: Empirical Examples.

Detailed discussions were carried out on various skill development, enterprise promotion and employment generation schemes and programmes announced both by the Central and State governments, especially during the pandemic times. To keep participants engaged, due care was taken to conduct each session on an interactive platform and participants were encouraged not only to ask questions but also to share their experiences. Based on the feedback from the participants (collected via Training Management Portal) and resources persons, it may be concluded that the said programme was satisfactory in all respects, and the objectives and goals envisaged in the programme were duly realised. The five-day online ToT was jointly coordinated by Dr. Surjit Vikraman, Associate Prof., CAS and Dr. Partha Pratim Sahu, Associate Prof., CEDFI.

Online Training Programme on Designing Customised Village Projects and Implementation Strategies

Participants attending a session of the training programme

Development being a multifaceted phenomenon, India has been refining its rural development programmes since independence through various ministries to address the raising needs. Factors like population, poverty, natural and man-made disasters, geographical location, etc., are enabling to focus more on strengthening rural development programmes. In these aspects, local governance is also trying to support the community to plan for their own village by involving all stakeholders. Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Rural Development’s programmes encourage social and economic village development projects. According to the demand of villagers, personalised village projects would be designed with technical expertise at different stages like proposal preparation, implementation, monitoring, and reporting.

Hence, updating knowledge about ongoing schemes, upskilling about the latest available technologies are essential for building the capacity of officials who are involved in panchayati raj and rural development. The Centre for Panchayti Raj, Decentralised Planning and Social Service Delivery, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, organised an online training programme on Designing Customised Village Projects and Implementation Strategies in two batches. Batch-I was conducted from 17th to 21st January, 2022 and Batch-II was conducted from 31st January to 4th February, 2022.

This online training programme focussed on the nature, scope and significance of Designing Customised Village Project, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Programmes, Essential Designing Components for Customisation, Funding Sources for Village Projects, Framework of Project Proposal, Customised Village Project Models, Management of Village Projects, SWOC Analysis of Village for Customisation, Zero Cost Development Initiatives: Experiences from Grassroots, GIS Applications for Project Planning, Project Proposal for Village Development, ISRO Applications in Rural Developmental Programmes, Community Based Disaster Management Planning, Mobilising Resources for Village Projects, GPDP and Framework of Project Proposal in RGSA.

The training contents were delivered applying different methodologies like lectures, documentary presentations, group discussions, PowerPoint presentations, assignments, and practical exercises like SWOC analysis.

Apart from Dr. S. K. Sathyaprabha, Programme Director, Dr. Srinivas Sajja, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Audit, Dr. Kiran Jaleem, Assistant Professor, Centre for Natural Resource Management, Climate Change and Disaster Mitigation, Dr. Jayanta Choudhury, NIRDPR- Nort Eastern Regional Centre, and Dr. Mohammed Taqiuddin, Consultant, Centre for Panchayati Raj, Decentralised Planning and Social Service Delivery handled sessions as NIRDPR Resource persons. Dr. K. Gireesan, Director, School of Government, MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU), Pune and Dr. Hiranniya Kalesh. P, Asst. Professor & Head, Centre for Geo-Spatial Technology in Good Governance from Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur handled sessions as external resource persons.

District Panchayat Raj officials, Panchayat President, Panchayat Secretaries/VAOs, District Rural Development Officials, DRDA Officials, PO’s, APO’s & Line Officials attended this training programme. A total of 24 officials in Batch-I representing Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and 23 officials in Batch-II representing Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and West Bengal participated in the training.

The programme was organised by Dr. S. K. Sathyaprabha, Assistant Professor, Centre for Panchayati Raj, Decentralised Planning and Social Service Delivery, NIRDPR.

NIRDPR Conducts Regional ToT on Social Audit

Dr. Srinivas Sajja, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Audit, NIRDPR Hyderabad (front row, 4th  from right) with the participants

The Centre for Panchayati Raj, Decentralised Planning and Social Service Delivery, (CPRDP&SSD), NIRDPR, conducted a regional training of trainers (ToT) on Social Audit of 15th Finance Commission Grant Utilisation at Thakur Pyarelal State Institute of Panchayat and Rural Development (TPSIPRD), Nimora, Chhattisgarh during 03rd – 07th January, 2022.

The 15th Finance Commission (XV FC) has allocated Rs. 2,36,805 crore for RLBs for 2021-26. Such a huge allocation must be accompanied by a participatory, transparent and accountable implementation. Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Govt. of India, in consultation with NIRDPR, has prepared and released social audit guidelines for the 15th Finance Commission grant utilisation. In order to build the capacities of social auditors of different States, NIRDPR has planned to organise regional ToTs.

Four ToTs were organised by National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj – first at NIRDPR campus Hyderabad for southern States, second at SIRD Meghalaya for the north-eastern States including Sikkim, and third one exclusively for Uttar Pradesh social audit resource persons where UP SAU has large number of resource reports. Now, the fourth ToT was conducted at Thakur Pyarelal State Institute of Panchayat and Rural Development during 03rd – 07th January, 2022 for social audit resource persons and SIRD faculty from four western States. A total of 29 participants attended and successfully obtained their certificates.

The 15th Finance Commission, in the first report, had recommended Rs. 60,750 crore for Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) with 50 per cent of the grant as basic grant (untied) and the remaining 50 per cent as tied grant. In its second report for 2021-26, the XV FC had recommended a total grant of Rs. 2,36,805 crore for RLBs. Out of the total grant to PRIs, 60 per cent was earmarked for national priorities like drinking water supply and rainwater harvesting and sanitation, while 40 per cent is untied and is to be utilised at the discretion of the PRIs for improving basic services. The basic grants are untied and can be used by the PRIs for location-specific felt needs, except for salary or other establishment expenditure. The tied grants can be used for the basic services of (a) sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and (b) supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting and water recycling.

Social audits ensure transparency and accountability, inform and educate people, promote people’s participation in planning, implementation and monitoring of projects, provide a platform for people to express their needs and grievances, improve the capacity of all stakeholders, strengthen local governance and promote democratic decentralisation and complement formal audits. Realising the importance of social audit, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Govt. of India had released detailed social audit guidelines in July, 2021.

It is in this context, to equip the resource persons from SAUs to take up the social audits of XVFC grant utilisation, six regional ToTs were designed by NIRDPR. The fourth in this series was the ToT held at TPSIPRD, from 03rd -07th January, 2022 for social audit resource persons and SIRD faculty from 4th western States. Shri P. C. Mishra, IFS, Director, TPSIRPRD delivered the inaugural address. Dr. Srinivas Sajja, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Audit, NIRDPR was Course Director of the ToT, and Dr. C. Dheeraja, Associate Professor and Head, Centre for Social Audit was Co-Director. As part of this ToT, participants facilitated the conduct of social audit of XV FC grant utilisation for the FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 in Dhone Khurd of Raipur Block and Paragoan of Arang Block GPs of Raipur district which culminated in Gram Sabha in both the GPs.

Online Training Programme on SMART Methods and Techniques for Effective Implementation of Rural Development Programmes

A slide from the training programme

The quality of public services in rural areas is being updated by incorporating technology. For the past one decade, this streamlining has been occurring in different dimensions supporting governing system. It is improving the democratic process, making it more inclusive in nature, more citizen-friendly and facilitating efficiency in planning, decision-making, and implementation of public services. In this present scenario, it is apt to apply SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) principles to develop more knowledge about application of innovative technology for the betterment of the governance process. Hence, it becomes essential to give special attention to public officials in apprising them about SMART approaches to increase their work efficiency and better quality of governance in the execution of rural development programmes.

This training programme on SMART Methods and Techniques for Effective Implementation of Rural Development Programmes was designed to develop the participants’ capacity by gaining knowledge on SMART applications, which would be supporting them in solving rural issues in reality during the implementation of rural development programmes.

The focus areas of this training programme were Digital Education in Rural Schools, SMART Health Care for Rural India, Innovations in Public Service Delivery Mechanisms, Emerging Trends in Village Development Planning, Rural Power Supply Models, and Sensor-Based Rural Drinking Water Supply System.

The training contents were delivered by different methodologies like lectures, group discussions, assignments, practical exercises, PowerPoint and documentary presentations.

Apart from Dr. S. K. Sathyaprabha, Programme Director, Dr. T. Vijaya Kumar, Associate Professor, NIRDPR-NERC, Dr. R. Chinnadurai, Associate Professor, CPRDPSSD, and Er. H. K. Solanki, Assistant Professor, Centre for Rural Infrastructure handled sessions as resource persons from NIRDPR. Dr. Bhawna Gulati Muradia, Associate Professor, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, and Shri Ravi Kant, IAS (Retd.), Director, Voyants, Hyderabad handled sessions as external resource persons.

District-level officials from Rural Development and Panchayati Raj departments attended this training programme. In total, 60 participants took part, representing the States of Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the UT of Jammu & Kashmir.

Participants played an active role by showing their interest in learning all the sessions and involvement in the group assignments and discussions. Their feedback in the training management portal showed the overall effectiveness of this training as 86 per cent. The programme was organised by Dr. S. K. Sathyaprabha, Assistant Professor, Centre for Panchayati Raj, Decentralised Planning and Social Service Delivery, NIRDPR.

Republic Day Celebrations at NIRDPR

The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) organised 73rd Republic Day celebrations on campus premises. Dr. G. Narendra Kumar, IAS, Director General, NIRDPR was the Chief Guest of the event. The Director General hoisted the national flag, which was followed by a march-past performed by the security staff.

Later, the Director General addressed the audience. “India adopted the Constitution on 26th January, 1950. The Constitution is binding over all the citizens of the country; it gives rights and governs the country through the directive principles for higher economic, social attainment and development. It is in this task NIRDPR is involved. NIRDPR’s contribution to the 73rd  and 74th Amendment Act or the Panchayati Raj Act is immense. With this Act, the tier-3 Panchayat system has been established. NIRDPR should be an agent of change in the rural development sector not just act as a symbol, which is possible with dedication,” he said.

“There has been a setback in the last two years because of the COVID-19. But the Institute has conducted more number of online training programmes than the regular programmes organised before COVID-19. This way COVID-19 has not affected the ability to conduct courses. The Institute has conducted 1300 training programmes and also events as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. The Institute has contributed to the training needs of the stakeholders and people involved in the rural development sector,” he noted.

The Director General further thanked all the faculty and staff for contributing to the success of the training programmes. The Republic Day celebrations ended with recital of the national anthem. Others present at the event included Shri Shashi Bhushan, DDG (i/c) & FA, Dr. M. Srikanth, Registrar & Director (Admin) (i/c), School heads, Centre heads, faculty members and non-academic staff of the Institute.

Sabjikothi – Solution for Extending the Shelf Life of Fruits and Vegetables

A unit of Sabjikothi

Fruits and vegetables are perishable foods and the post-harvest losses are estimated to range from 10 to 35 per cent per year despite the use of modern storage facilities. It is not easy for stakeholders involved in this supply chain to establish such modern facilities that require large amounts of capital, electricity, and extensive logistics. Irrespective of the shortfalls, they have to supply vegetables to the consumers by maintaining the quality. The reduction of losses in perishable products due to post-harvest decay and damage has become a major objective of fruits and vegetable business. As a measure to tackle this problem, Shri Nikky Kumar Jha from Bihar has developed a low-cost innovation named ‘Sabjikothi’. Sabjikothi is a unique storage device that can reportedly extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables from 3 to 30 days without resorting to any refrigeration.

How it Works

It is a wheel-mountable, self-assembled structure supported by four stands to hold the storage devices. It extends the shelf life of horticultural produce through a high humid and sterile isolated chamber. This chamber is incorporated with high-end technology that suppresses pathogens as well as the respiration rate of fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, it inhibits ethylene biosynthesis, which is responsible for perishability. It oxidises ethylene into small molecules, thus delaying browning and ripening, and also regulating the activity of the antioxidant enzyme. This controlled microclimate created inside the Sabjikothi enables the preservation of fruits and vegetables anywhere between 3 to 30 days without affecting the quality of fruits and vegetables. As different fruits and vegetables require different types of microclimates, a regulator is attached inside this device, which can change the microenvironment depending on the commodities stored. This storage device requires 20 watts of electricity either on or off-grid, and a litre of water per day.


  1. Sabjikothi Store up to 200 kg   : Rs 10,000
  2. Sabjikothi Store up to 300 kg    : Rs 15,950
  3. Sabjikothi Store up to 500 kg    : Rs 20,000
  4. Sabjikothi Store up to 1,000 kg : Rs 40,000


When compared with a household refrigerator that can store up to 30 kg to 40 kg of fresh produce, Sabjikothi provides 10 times the household refrigerator capacity and saves 100 times the electricity required. One can transport it on a thela cart. It requires only 20 watts of power which is equivalent to the amount of power required to run a mobile phone. Generally, a farmer takes her/his produce to the local mandi or market which is average 10-15 km away. While covering this journey, say two hours, the weight of produce may reduce about 5 per cent. As far as sabji/fruit wala using thela cart is concerned, this weight loss of produce is quite high. In such condition, Sabjikothi is a boon for the small farmers and door-to-door vendors. This innovation is approved by IIT Kanpur and IIT Patna, given a Gold Certificate by the Indian Innovators Association, and validated by Arunachal Pradesh Government.

Sabjikothi on Thela Cart


  1. Extends shelf-life of horticultural produces by 3 to 30 days.
  2. Requires just 20 watts of power and 1 litre of water per day.
  3. Up to 40 per cent increase in farmers’ income.
  4. Reduction of wastage by 60 per cent.
  5. Low cost, decentralised and portable storage facility.
  6. Non-cooling, non-chemical solution. 
  7. Scientifically proven results.
  8. Reduces contamination from dust, pollens and pathogens.                                                             

Points of Deliberation

  1. Increased sensitisation and awareness will lead to adaptation of this innovation at a higher level.
  2. The Industrial Institutions/ Business Groups dealing with the marketing of fruits and vegetables should come forward for the promotion of this product.
  3. A strategy should develop for more propagation of this innovation in rural and also semi-urban/urban areas. 

More details of the product are available at www.saptkrishi.com, and the innovator Shri Nikky Kumar Jha may be contacted via saptkrishi@gmail.com/8826217394. 

                                    Rural Technology Park (RTP), CIAT & SJ, NIRDPR.


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