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Technologies for Rural Transformation
5/15/2018 11:01:03 PM
Dr. Banarsi Lal and
Dr. Pawan Sharma

Every year National Technology Day is observed on 11th of May in India. The day highlights the importance of science in our daily lives and encourages students to embrace science as a career option. The theme of this year National Technology Day is the importance of science and technology for a sustainable future. Various events are being organized in different technical institutions to mark the significance of the day. Various competitions, quizzes, lectures, interactive sessions and presentations of various aspects of science are organised across the nation. The day is crucial for scientists, engineers, planners and others who are engaged in nation building and governance. This day is considered as a symbol of pursuit for technological creativity, scientific inquiry and the conversion of that pursuit in the integration of science, industry and society.
The technology has brought massive changes in many fields whether that is agriculture, education, health, space, defense etc. Changes by the technology are quite apparent from our daily lives. Everybody has different opinion of technology. Some consider it as a boon while consider it as a bane. Generally our perception towards science is limited to weapons and automobiles. With the increase in population and urbanization, food and agriculture are becoming an alarming issue, which must be looked at to make the population survive. Recently, the Indian agricultural scientists have developed precision agricultural technologies that increase the agricultural yield and production of crops, analyse soil and seed quality. We have developed the electrostatic sprayer that charges the molecules and enables the farmers to spray pesticides judiciously and not letting it seep into groundwater or cause cancer owing to overuse.
We lose around 30 per cent of the agricultural produce as a waste owing to poor storage facilities. Scientists have developed technologies for increasing shelf life of different crops. We are looking at futuristic technologies like plasma technology to enhance efficacy of germination of seeds and early warning systems for plant health to save crops from certain infestations. We have also developed mobile apps for measuring accurate pH value of food materials recently. With the Kisan portals we are able to send the messages to the farmers to mitigate the agricultural problems at their field.
Many efforts have been made for rural upliftment. We have certain noteworthy achievements in the last 6 decades. We launched green revolution, yellow revolution, white revolution and also blue revolution in our country. But these uni-coloured and uni-dimensional revolutions were not sufficient. We need a techno-colour or multicolour or rainbow revolutions. Our ex-President Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam emphasised that our country can become developed country by 2020.He initiated providing urban facilities in rural areas(PURA) scheme through four connectivities viz., physical, economic, electronic and spiritual to be brought in a cost-effective way. Now many experts are thinking for second green revolution. Now our country needs to move towards ever-green revolution from green revolution. While working scientifically now the aspects of ecology and environment are kept in mind. In agriculture, we need to minimize the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides.
In the 6th and 7th plans there was much excitement with the establishment of many National Technology Missions on certain projects like oilseeds, safe drinking water etc. It was thought that all the rural problems would be solved with the implementation of these projects. But unfortunately that did not happen. Presently we all know the status of rural areas: around three-fourth of our rural population does not have access to proper sanitation, one-third does not have access to clean drinking water, around one half of rural population is illiterate, many villages do not have road connectivity and electricity position is also critical. We all are aware of the rural problems and perhaps we also know how to solve these problems. There are lots of funds for rural areas. There is another barrier. Is it commitment to implement the rural programmes? Is it our mind-set? Is it a problem in prioritization?
Presently our country is moving in the right direction to reach the developed country status by 2020 provided we need to prepare our rural base. Presently we need to adopt the renaissance concept taking advantage of the many advances in science and technology. We have the desired motivation-the mission 2020 vision. We should employ the modern tools of information technology and knowledge management. Now we have to integrate our ideas and design a management strategy to develop a strong rural technology base in agricultural, non-agricultural and service sectors. Rural road connectivity, rural housing, health, sanitation, safe drinking water projects are already in progress. Setting up of more and more rural technology based rural enterprises will help to upgrade human skills, generate employment and create wealth. Also era of growth and development will be ushered by the use of rural technologies. It has been observed that rural technologies are not reaching to the rural people to an extent as they should have to reach. There are various reasons like lack of awareness about rural technologies, lack of resources to access technologies, rural technologies are not cost-effective, not according to the needs of the users, not according to the culture of the people, not skillfully demonstrated etc. responsible for it. Policy makers need to understand rural people's aspirations. Now the time has come to change our mindset for rural renaissance. Technology works for a specific purpose, be it hi-tech or low-tech, hi-investment or low-investment oriented and need of hi-profile or low-profile marketing. Any technology that is developed by an individual or an institution needs to be transferred for field use. For rural development we need to prepare a Directory of Rural Technologies (DRT) which can be a valuable source for rural information. It can be particularly useful for potential entrepreneurs, consultants, promotional and financial agencies and field functionaries in rural areas. Even the research and development scientists should have rural technology information for further improvements. Some rural technologies like handicrafts, artisans and traditional ones are not documented in the conventional sense. The directory of rural technologies should be available in local language of the respective areas.
The choice of an entrepreneur is one of the key elements of successful transfer of rural technologies. A competent entrepreneur can understand and absorb the technology and make transfer of rural technology a success story. A mediocre technology can be translated into a successful enterprise in the hands of a competent entrepreneur where as the best technology can be spoiled by an insincere and incompetent entrepreneur. There are examples when an entrepreneur's aim is only to secure bank loans for selfish purposes and failed projects in such cases often bring a bad name to the technology developers. Business opportunities are abound in our villages. There is much talk about a huge potential of rural markets in our country. Multinational companies are in a hurry to capture this oasis. Packaged mass consumption goods are making rapid entry in rural markets. Marketing in the present context is highly challenging. Without a minimum assured market but with best of rural technologies, the best of entrepreneurial talent and the best of transfer of rural technologies support mechanism, an enterprise has an uncertain future. Hence, while setting up an enterprise, a market potential survey, an effective marketing strategy and a dynamic salesman are must.
There is need an all round development in both rural and urban areas if India has to reach the developed country status by 2020.The PURA (providing urban facilities in rural areas) initiated by Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam has shown significant results. The focus is given on setting of rural technologies based enterprises. In order to get quick results, replication of rural technologies which are successful at one place should be implemented at other places also. The rural technology should be carefully converted into wealth-generating enterprises by motivated, talented and committed entrepreneurs.
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