(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Technology and Development
Technology and Development
- Technological upgradation and inclusive growth have been focal development points in rural India. Higher and better productivity, socio-economic equality, harmonising modern technology, and sustainable growth can be considered the pillars for a nation’s progress.
- Digital literacy and connectivity have strengthened the labour market, provided a platform to people in rural areas and helped them become financially independent. Enhanced innovation has helped the rural areas improve their growth prospects, and the policymakers support reforms beyond subsidies and sector-specific approaches.
Role of agriculture in rural India:
- Agriculture Rural India is home to 65 percent of the total population of our country. Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data from the consumer pyramid household survey shows the share of agriculture in total employment has gone up from 35.3 percent in 2017-18 to 36.1percent in the year 2018-19 and further to 38 percent in 2019-20. The Center has promised to work shoulder-to-shoulder to implement specific schemes and technological advancements in agriculture.
- In April 2016, the Government of India launched e-NAM (National Agriculture Market), an online platform for farmers that integrates agricultural markets pan-India with a theme of one nation, one market. The platform aids farmers and traders to view all Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) related information, commodity arrivals, and buy and sell trade offers thus helping farmers bid for the best prices across markets. The objective was to promote uniformity in agricultural marketing and remove the information asymmetry between the buyers and sellers.
- The Union Budget of 2022 has also pushed for an array of digital technologies and drones to propel growth in the farm sector. The promotion of drones to monitor the produce and spray insecticides will help scale up precision farming massively.
Alternate Sources and Sustainable Livelihoods:
- To effectively realise the positive impact of the fourth industrial revolution, it is essential to use technology to bridge the gap between skilled and unskilled labour. Nearly three-quarters of the Indian population is employed in low-productivity agriculture, making growth and advancements critical in these areas. The use of technology to increase productivity in these sectors would be an essential public policy endeavour in the future.
- As more and more men from rural areas start to migrate to urban areas in search of employment opportunities, the brunt of agriculture is being borne by women who now have to perform highly labour-intensive roles on their own. They further face a lack of access to land, irrigation, credit, inputs, and markets. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana was also launched to improve water-use efficiency and expand irrigation on every farm in India.
- Digitalisation will go a long way in reducing traditional bottlenecks such as shrinking markets and low density that have been roadblocks in building long-term and sustainable rural economies. Often, issues like these can lead to economies of scale, wherein skilled individuals from rural areas cannot find the right employment opportunities, and small businesses lose out on opportunities to grow. Digitalisation can provide new opportunities for growth and better and more diverse occupations in rural areas. Reduced trade times and prices, the exchange of unique sorts of products and services, and disruptive ways to work and join the labour market are some of the benefits of the digital era that might be beneficial for rural communities.
- The economic development of a country relies heavily on the accessibility of the citizens to various financial goods and services. Technological efforts and innovations have played a significant role in this regard.
- Modern information and communication technology (ICT) has acted as a catalyst in establishing a platform that extends financial goods and services even to remote and marginalised regions and individuals. These efforts have also helped commercial banks reduce their cost, increasing customer reachability and efficient management of risk in businesses.
As part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, a comprehensive initiative called PM e-VIDYA was launched, which combines all-digital, online, and on-air education to offer multi-mode access to education. The initiative entails the following:
- DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing and Sharing) is a one-nation, one digital-platform initiative. In states and union territories (UTs), the nation’s digital infrastructure delivers high-quality e-content for education.
- SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) is a Government of India initiative to achieve the three cardinal principles of education policy: access, equity, and quality. This initiative aims to make the best teaching-learning tools available to everyone, particularly the most disadvantaged. For students who have been disadvantaged by the digital revolution and are unable to participate in the knowledge economy fully, SWAYAM aims to bridge the digital divide. It is a platform that allows anyone, anywhere, at any time, to access all the courses taught in classrooms from grade 9 through post-graduation. All of the courses are interactive, designed by some of the finest teachers in the country, and are entirely free.
Government Schemes for Technology Enabled Rural Development:
- Technological Advancement for Rural Areas (TARA): This scheme under the Skill Enhancement Education and Development Program (SEED) is critical in providing long-term core support to science-based voluntary organisations and field institutions in rural and other disadvantaged areas to promote and nurture them as “S&T Incubators” and “Active
Field Laboratories” to work and provide technological solutions and effective delivery of technologies for livelihood generation and societal benefits.
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission: The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) aims to develop the infrastructure necessary to support India’s integrated digital healthcare infrastructure. It will use digital highways to bridge the distance between diverse players in the healthcare industry.
- Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA): Achieving safer and more efficient digital health records originates with ABHA. A digitally secure ABHA permits health data access and sharing with participating healthcare providers and payers. Anyone who wants to join ABDM and has digital health records must first create ABHA. People are identified authenticated, and their health records are threaded across many systems and stakeholders (with their informed consent).
- E-Shram: e-Shram is a platform designed by the Ministry of Labor and Employment to benefit unorganised workers who are not Employees’ State Insurance (EPFO) or Employees’ State Insurance (ESIC) members. Signing up for the Shramik Yojana and acquiring an e-Shram card entitles many benefits. The government’s acceptance of social security measures will also assist workers.
- National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN): All state capitals, districts, and headquarters
have OFC connectivity down to the block level. The country’s 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats would be linked. This will be done by using existing Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) fibres (BSNL, RailTel, and Power Grid) and laying new fibre to connect to gram panchayats
when needed. The gram panchayats will benefit from the increased bandwidth created
by the dark fibre network. This will be called the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). Thus, the connectivity gap between gram panchayats and blocks will be filled.
- Common Service Centres (CSC) The CSC programme is one of the Digital India Programme’s mission mode projects. CSCs serve as the access points for essential public utility services, social welfare programmes, healthcare, finance, education, agriculture services, and a variety of business-to consumer (B2C) services to citizens living in rural and distant areas of the country. It is a pan-India network that caters to its regional, geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, enabling the government to fulfil its mandate of a socially, fiscally, and technologically inclusive society.
- Digital India Programme Digital India is India’s flagship initiative to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy and a digitally empowered society. Digital India covers three essential areas:
- digital infrastructure as a utility for all citizens,
- governance and on-demand services, and
- citizen empowerment through digital technology.
- Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP): The existing commonalities in land records to develop an appropriate Integrated Land Information Management System (ILIMS). Individual states can also add state-specific requirements as deemed necessary and proper.
- In a country like India, where a majority of population still lives in rural hinterland, rural development is synonymous with India’s growth story. While development of our rural regions has always been a priority, the onset of digitisation has accelerated the pace of rural development. What is especially notable about the development that the Indian rural regions are witnessing it the inclusivity and sustainability of this development.
- With schemes like Jan-Dhan Yojana being tremendously successful in rural India and agriculture activity being pushed towards modern, greener methods, inclusivity and sustainability of this development goes without saying.