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Technology and Rural development

Technology and Rural development

Introduction

  • Science and technology capabilities are fundamental for social and economic progress of the country.
  • The necessity of harnessing science and technology for transforming rural India has long been recognised. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi had clearly shown an appreciation of this necessity. As early as 1935, at the All India Village Industries Association, Gandhiji initiated a movement called “Science for People”, with an advisory board of national personalities including eminent scientists like J.C. Bose, P.C. Ray and C.V. Raman.
  • India is the nation of villages and the soul of India lives in its villages. In true sense, without the progress and prosperity of the villages, the country’s prosperity and well-being is inconceivable. Realizing this, the Government of India has been taking several initiatives for the all-round development of rural areas and the prosperity of the village folk.

Basic Infrastructure Development

  • With the objective of providing pucca houses with basic facilities by 2022 to all the eligible homeless families and the households living in dilapidated houses, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin was launched on 20th November 2016 .
  • Under this, selection is as per the Socio-economic caste census-2011.
  • Assistance is being provided to those poor families who do not have roof over their heads and are unable to build their houses because of the shortage or lack of financial resources.
  • ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ has created employment opportunities in the country on a large scale and also catalysed skill development in rural areas.

Agricultural development | Technology and Rural development

  • India has achieved a remarkable growth in production and productivity of various agricultural commodities over the last five decades. Major changes in agricultural production took place in mid-1960s with introduction and adaptation of new production technologies which is known as “Green Revolution” technology.
  • Kisan Suvidha Mobile Application- The app facilitates dissemination of information to farmers on the critical parameters viz., Weather; Market Prices; Plant Protection; input dealers (Seed, Pesticide, Fertilizer) Farm Machinery; etc. This helps farmers make informed decisions to sell produce at the right price and right time.
  • Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has compiled mobile apps developed by ICAR, State Agricultural Universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Developed in the areas of crops, horticulture, veterinary, etc., these apps offer valuable information to the farmers.
  • mKisan Portal (www.mkisan.gov.in) for sending advisories on various crop related matter to the registered farmers through SMSs.
  • Launching of e-National Agriculture Market initiative to provide farmers an electronic online trading platform.
  • Implementation of Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure, sub-scheme of Integrated Scheme of Agricultural Marketing, in order to improve/create scientific storage capacity for storing farm produce, processed farm produce and to reduce post-harvest storage loss.
  • Introduction of Soil Health Card Scheme to assist State Governments in providing Soil Health Cards to all farmers across the country once in a cycle of 2 years.
    • Soil health card provides information to the farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving crop productivity and soil fertility.
  • Providing subsidies under National Food Security Mission (Oil Seeds and Oil Palm) to farmers on seed components, transfer of technologies, production inputs and water carrying devices.
    • Financial assistance is also being provided under this scheme for block demonstration, frontline demonstration, farmers training to educate farmers to adopt modern techniques of farming to yield good crop economically.
  • Use of space technology for various programmes/ areas such as Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land-based Observations project, National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System, Rice-Fallow Area Mapping and intensification, geo tagging of infrastructure and assets created under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, and Crop Insurance.

Financial Inclusion  | Technology and Rural development

  • Financial Inclusion is the way the Governments strive to take the common man along by bringing them into the formal channel of economy thereby ensuring that even the person standing in the last is not left out from the benefits of the economic growth and is added in the mainstream economy thereby encouraging the poor persons to save, safely invest in various financial products and to borrow from the formal channel when they need to borrow.
  • Scope of the financial inclusion is not limited to only banking services but it extends to other financial services as well like insurance, equity products & pension products etc.
  • With a view to increase the penetration of banking services and to ensure that all households have at least one bank account, a National Mission on Financial Inclusion named as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was announced by Prime Minister on 28th August, 2014. PMJDY has been designed to ensure accelerated access to various financial services like basic savings bank accounts, affordable, need-based credit, remittances facilities, and insurance and pension for excluded sections.
  • The use of technology, by way of every Bank A/c to be on-line with RuPay Card & Mobile Banking Facility, use of e-KYC to ease the account opening process, use of Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) for interoperability, support for setting up FLCs, support for demonstrating banking technology (Mobile Van fitted with ATM), on-line Monitoring through system generated MIS and facility of Call Centre & Toll free number has resulted in astounding success of the scheme.
  • To expand the network of ATMs, the RBI has allowed non-bank entities to start ATMs (called ‘White Label ATMs’).
  • Financial Literacy Centers were started by commercial banks at the request of RBI to give awareness and education to the public to access financial products.
  • Direct Benefits Transfer scheme was initiated to facilitate disbursements of government entitlements such as those under the social security pension scheme, handicapped old age pension scheme, etc., of any central or state government bodies, using Aadhaar and authentication thereof, as supported by UIDAI.
  • Payments banks are a new model of banks conceptualised by RBI. The main objective of payments bank is to widen the spread of payment and financial services to small business, low-income households, migrant labour workforce in secured technology-driven environment in remote areas of the country.
  • Today more than 70% of our population owns mobile phone, hence, leveraging it’s penetration to rural areas, with its advantages over traditional banking methods because of breaking down geographical constraints along with immediacy, security and efficiency, it offers an innovative low-cost channel to expand the reach of banking and payment services especially to the large section of rural mobile subscribers.
  • To promote digital transactions for personal consumption expenditure, two schemes viz. Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Vyapar Yojana were funded through Financial Inclusion Fund for consumers and merchants respectively.

Biotechnology In Agriculture  | Technology and Rural development

  • Biotechnology is the use of technology to modify or manipulate any biological system or living system for the development or improvement of products for various purposes. It is widely employed in different fields and agriculture is one among them.
  • Researchers have suggested different options for increasing food production. Genetically engineered crop-based agriculture is an option, others being agrochemical based agriculture and organic agriculture.
  • Genetically modified crops (GMO) are the latest advancement in the agricultural field. These crops result from the alteration in the genetic makeup of the crops. This modification leads to a number of advantages in the crops which include –
    • There is less loss after harvest.
    • The crops can be modified to have additional nutrients value for human welfare.
    • These crops are modified to be highly efficient, i.e, the high yield with less usage of minerals.
    • The decrease in the use of insecticides and pesticides which lead to pollution in the environment.
    • More tolerance to the natural stresses like natural calamities, extreme temperature and weather conditions, lack of water and minerals.

Rural connectivity  | Technology and Rural development

  • Rural connectivity is an important component of socio-economic development of villagers. It offers many facilities like education, health and marketing.
  • In India, when the era of planned development started in the year 1951, the road connectivity in the villages was negligible because only 20% of the villages had all weather roads. During the Fifth Five Year Plan, in the year 1974, the development of rural roads was made a part of the “Minimum Needs Program”.
  • The subject of “Rural Roads” is included in the Constitution under the State List.
  • As a result of the farsighted thinking of the then Prime Minister Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Government had, as part of the poverty-alleviation work plan meant for the assistance of the States, launched the Centrally- Sponsored Scheme of “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana” on December 25, 2000.
  • The main objective of this scheme is to provide all weather roads to the habitations included in core network of plains areas not connected with roads and having population of 500 and more (as per 2001 census).
  • According to the Core network, the habitations not connected with roads and having population of 250 and more (as per 2001 census) in Special category States like North East, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, desert areas, tribal areas included in Schedule-V and 88 selected tribal and backward districts as determined by the Home Ministry / Niti Aayog are to be connected with roads.
  • Under this program, single all-weather road connectivity has been envisaged for all eligible habitations.
  • During the tenure of the present government, the growth of road construction has increased by 27 percent as compared to the last four years of the previous government. The speed of road construction in the year 2013-14 was 75 km per day, which increased to 134 kilometers per day in 2017-18.
  • To fulfil the objectives of e-Governance and Digital India, a new mobile application Meri Sadak has been launched on July 20, 2015 for resolving complaints related to PMGSY roads.

 

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