More than 60 years of independence has passed by yet the dream of equitable growth evades us. Measures have been taken and implemented to achieve this dream. Government, Corporates, Social Organisation everybody has contributed its share in realising the equitable growth. Still there exists a huge gap between rural and urban India. In this paper we aim to identify the major areas where development is to be done to fill this gap and in effect removing the division. Here we also try to find out what innovations Information Technology can use in these areas and achieve the growth objective.
Reasons for “The Gap”
In this modern age Information has become a powerful tool. Access to information and its proper usage contributes significantly to growth. Urban India has access to information. It is connected with the outside world and thus can use the knowledge available for its growth whereas rural India does not have proper access to the information. Lack of proper education has incapacitated them to understand the power of information. So they are underutilising this powerful tool and hence the gap exists. Also the geographic and social fragmentation presents hindrance to commercial access of various ITenabled services.
Factors for Development
To reduce the gap between rural and urban India growth of rural people is needed and the most important component of this growth is infrastructure development. India being a predominantly agricultural economy requires strongest protection and development of its agricultural resources. So infrastructure development centring agriculture will play a crucial role in the development of India. The impediments which are to be removed by infrastructure development in agricultural sector are mentioned below: Lack of awareness regarding improving the agricultural production and suitable agricultural methods.
Insufficient support facilities like irrigation, power, communication and transport.
Underutilisation of the financial services available.
Absence of “Common Platforms” for the farmers.
Being poorly educated or uneducated, rural population lacks appropriate skills. Women in villages are not are not given their due importance and contribute in the rural growth. Also the entrepreneurial spirit is poorly developed.
Inappropriate use of Information and Communication Technology for agricultural purposes.
IT industry can utilise its resources innovatively to address these problems. In effect it would create an environment which would be supportive of reduced inequality along with increased efficiency and growth. The benefits that can be drawn are not only increased market based economic activity but also development in terms of the health, education and nutritional capabilities of the rural population. In the next section, we examine the technical and organizational issues in implementing widespread rural IT use in India. Rural IT: Issues and Conceptual Framework
Here we examine the potential for rural IT use, both from supply and demand perspectives. On the supply side, we examine the technical and organizational issues that arise for delivering IT-based services to rural populations in India. On the demand side, we examine the potential benefits that IT can bring to these populations, if the implementation is successful. We begin with the demand side, as a way of motivating the supply side issues.
A simple flow diagram representing the decisions of a rural household (engaged in farming) will be used to explain the demand sources.
Figure1. Rural Household Economic DecisionsMaterial inputs (like seeds, fertilisers etc.) and Capital inputs (like tractor and land) forms the input block for a farmer. Operations include decisions with respect to agricultural productivity and the risks associated with it. Next comes the selling of the produce which provides income for consumption, investments and inputs. So pricing of product is very much important. Consumption...