Rural India is the future. From Government to the multinationals like Uniliver, rural India is the target. The untapped market for multinationals and the vote bank for the Government, both lies nowhere but in the remote places of this country. Advancing technology is one tool that can bridge the gap between the Urban India and the Rural India. More than 60 % of India’s population lives in the rural region. And to empower India, this 60% needs empowerment.
The prime stigma for India to worry is its poverty and illiteracy. Poverty never dies, illiterates does not find means to survive. If a farmer in a remote village has an acre of land, 6 people of that family depend on that one acre land for their daily bread. 3 people are enough to cultivate the land efficiently, but because of no other work, the remaining three also stay back. This is called Disguised Unemployment. And probably the answer to our question lies here. We need to fight disguised unemployment.
Facts tell us that not more than 30% of India’s land is good for cultivation. But 60% of the population is in to agriculture. That means, there are more people at work for lesser a job. Logically, we cannot expect a crop which will exceed what a 30% of India’s land can grow. What we need is technology. Technology to better the agricultural practices. We need to shift more people to the Industries. At the end of the day, land will remain the same. Size of cultivating land will be same, but industries can expand. The call for Industrialization is thus derived from this theory.
Lack of science and technology (S&T), education and research amenities is the origin of rural backwardness resulting in villages being treated as ‘colonies’ for urban goods. Although tremendous strides have been made in S&T in post-independence India, development is mainly focused on creating big S&T institutions and upgrading S&T infrastructure in major cities (‘big science’, macro-S&T). Rural India, which still accounts for 70% of the nation’s population, has been grossly ignored.
There is an urgent need to implement the notion of ‘small science’ (micro-S&T) tailored for the rural sector to make villagers self-reliant. A beginning could be made by aggressively promoting outreach programmes in modern science education and research for young village students. Also, steps should be taken to establish a number of modest Rural Institute of Science Education and Research (sort of mini-IISER) spread all over the country with the ultimate goal of ‘science for all’. In the present setting, competition between rural and urban youth is uneven and unjust. It is time we provide villagers a level playing field and take them on board as equal partners. This is the only way to prevent emergence of two sub-nations ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’.
Need for Rural Technology brings out major deficiencies we have in terms of Infrastructure, Electricity, Drinking water, health care and Sanitation. These problems and more seek immediate attention. Ministry of Rural Development has to act and act faster to resolve the problems. Backing the small scale industries through Rural Entrepreneurship and job creation is one of the effective ways of adhering to the problem.
Infomation and communication technology sector have already begun the work. The mobile revolution has created a buzz in the rural markets. Farmers are provided special customized messaging services ensuring them about weather conditions and other farming tips. Mobile updates are sent to them about the market prices of the commodities and other agricultural crops. It is a surprising fact that most of the Value added services like Dial for FM, Dial for a Song are majorly used by the rural pool.
Dropouts from primary schools have increased in recent years. This is an unstoppable phenomenon that has been seen over time. The dropouts need to be restricted. Besides regular schools, Government should open Skill Centres where people with less interest in studies build upon their skills and talents. Govt can take help from the Polytechnic colleges to lauch certificate vocational courses for people from remote places. ITI course is still there but it has become obsolete. There is no way an industry would appreciate a person who comes up with old techniques.
Israel is a land of desert, but stil they grow much better crops than India. Their agricultural techniques are world famous. India needs that kind of technology or better. Farmers have to equip themselves with technology to produce better results. Government needs to educate farmers on the latest techniques of water usage in low water areas. The agricultural ministry has to take steps to empower the farmers with better faming techniques.
A developing country cannot turn out to be developed without the development of its rural base. Rural regions are still deprived of electricity and basic necessities. Poverty in rural areas has resulted in suicides of a large number of farmers. Modern technology has not touched the lives of people even after sixty years of independence. Therefore, the rural problems are manifold in nature but the solutions are very less. Technological advancements together with increase in literacy in rural areas can possibly be the best tool to fight the prevailing problems.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also an MBA student at IIFT.
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