Rorko Technologies on Deccan Chronicle, Our Managing Director Parag Masteh’s view on Internet Marketing,Rural Sector and more
In Raichur, Bellary and Gulbarga, engineering students are a dime a dozen, each one of them diligent, qualified and capable. That, however, is no cause for complacency. The shocking truth is that 95% of these students remain unemployed. Why is this? Simply because these students don’t know that Google is their ticket to the world. That’s where Parag Maste comes in. A native of Raichur himself, Parag is no stranger to the state of things there.
“I became properly acquainted with the internet only three months before I moved to Bengaluru in 2005,” says the 25-year-old.
When he started Rorco Technologies Pvt Ltd, which provides internet services, he went back to his roots looking for ways of empowering people there. “We provide social media access to rural parts of India,” he says. This means putting rural educational institutions on the map, which would otherwise have had to rely on the mere trickling in of students from neighbouring villages.
Also, there are hands-on sessions in which Parag and his team teach these internet-illiterate students about the wonder that is the worldwide web and just how much they can do with it.
Young graduates who actually make their way to Bengaluru find themselves just as lost as before and are left with no option but to approach a consultancy to look for jobs. These consultancies get information off the internet for free and the naive young job seekers end up paying a lot of money for information they could have got for themselves anyway, if only they understood the power search engines wield. Others remain in their villages, too qualified to return to blue collar jobs and simply too ignorant to make their way up in the world by pitting themselves against the best. “People from bad colleges in Bengaluru end up doing very well for themselves because they scrounge around on monster.com and naukri.com,” says Parag.
The sessions are conducted at frequent intervals and are as basic as helping people create email ids. “There are computer classes where they are taught how to use Microsoft Word and some basic programming, but nothing like this,” says Parag. And so, the internet remains lost on them as they struggle on, oblivious to the fact that making it big means mastering two worlds – the virtual and the physical.
The extent of the problem hit Parag when he approached some industrialists from Raichur, to tell them the benefits of internet marketing. Raichur is the second largest exporter of cotton in Asia, but the awareness levels of the industrialists were abysmally low. “They didn’t know the difference between an internet data pack and a website,” Parag remarks. That spurred him on even further to educate people and do it as fast as he possibly could.
It doesn’t end there. Small and medium enterprises get websites at half the cost, first because they cannot afford them otherwise, and second because they don’t understand the value of it well enough to aspire toward it.
“I went up to a real estate guy sitting in a small shop, who leased out apartments accepting one month’s rent as payment,” says Parag. “I told him about how he could use the internet and he took my advice. In no time at all, he found an NRI who wanted property and they closed the deal at ` 8 crore. That’s what he was able to accomplish.”
Corporate giants like Microsoft and Google behave like parent companies for small and medium businesses in the US, while India still has to make do without any such guardian angel. “That’s why I want to do my bit,” Parag says. Internet penetration still remains at only 24% in India, as opposed to a staggering 85% in the US.
“It’s all about creating a level playing field,” says Parag. And there is no greater weapon on the side of equality than technology. It was Adam Smith who remarked, “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”