Information and Communication Technology in rural India | Milaap

Information and Communication Technology in rural India

With Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s recent visit to India, Digital India Initiative might have gained some potential new aspects. This is an era of boom for Information and Communication Technology. But what does that signify in Indian context where around 68.4% population lives in rural regions with virtually none or minimal connectivity. The issue is not only the need to streamline more than 83 Crore people with latest technology, the real question is to efficiently deal with varied requirements of such a widespread and culturally diverse population without compromising their unique identity. After spending most of my life in urban areas, living in rural India was a cultural shock. But once I got over the things I was feeling nostalgic about, a whole new life manifested before my eyes. Here after the day’s work is over, people still gather around on front porches and chat for hours. Gangs of children prowl around on streets playing games of their own inventions. Travelling in public transports, it’s never easy to distinguish between friends and strangers, because everyone has a wide smile for everyone and conversations between two strangers flow as easily as if they were childhood friends. This is a pristine land untouched by the mad rush of the hour, retaining a human character which is intrinsic as well as fragile. But nonetheless, ICT has a few things to offer which might help in eradicating social maligns which plague the life in rural India even after 67 years of independence.1. EducationWith the literacy rate of 68.9%, rural India still has a long way to go. But more importantly, technology may be a way to not only improve literacy rate, but impact the quality of education as well. Centralized fingerprint attendance methodology, video lectures etc are some of the things which can be implemented in government schools.[caption id="attachment_4313" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Children at a government school Children at a government school[/caption]2. Awareness CampaignsFor 3 months I've lived in Raybag working closely with MASS, I've come to realize that more than half of their resources are spent in awareness campaigns and even after that, knowledge about various government schemes etc is limited. With Panchayat’s in every village directly connected to internet, such campaigns can become much more effective and at the same time largely reducing the costs.3. Development of cottage industryThe economic and social benefits of cottage industry remains practically untapped again pertaining to lack of knowledge. With the Panchayat’s having a clear matrix of requirements and availability and thereby promoting and helping appropriate small scale businesses, almost every village in India has the potential to attain self-sustainability.[caption id="attachment_5730" align="aligncenter" width="1500"]A glimpse of cottage industry A glimpse of cottage industry[/caption]The road to digital India will not be an easy one, but if traversed successfully, it could lead to a worthy destination. In retrospect, we just need to remember what we wish to create. Do we wish to use technology as a means to fulfill our ends, or do we wish to become a techno-dependent society.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------References:1)