For a Bank specialized in agriculture and rural development like the National Bank for Agriculture and Development (NABARD), hiring new staff with rural and agriculture development background has been always a challenge as applicants usually come from different academic backgrounds with limited exposure to the core sectors which NABARD has been focusing.
To address this problem, the Bank has developed the “Rural Immersion Programme” wherein new officers are trained under reputed non-government organizations (NGOs) which are implementing various development projects at grassroots level. Under the program, the officers stay in villages for three (3) weeks to closely observe rural spectrum with development point of view. The program has a well-defined structure with focus on the nuances related to rural and agricultural development.
In 2017-2018, the program was further developed and has been integrated with the 22-week long induction program for the newly-recruited officers aiming to provide a holistic learning opportunity.
The program covers the entire gamut of learning related to rural areas including stakeholder mapping, participatory rural appraisal, agricultural scenario, policymaking, planning, developmental interventions, rural credits and markets, etc.
Since its inception, the program has already trained 400 new officers, and this has been remarkably effective in helping these officers understand and appreciate, in a very early stage of their career, the concerns regarding integration of rural economy into broader national development agenda.
NABARD’s “Rural Immersion Programme” received a Merit Award in the 2019 ADFIAP Outstanding Development Project Awards under the human capital development category.