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TECH TALK: Transforming Rural India: Village Vision (Part 2)

April 1st, 2003 · No Comments

From a village administration viewpoint, the solution should:

Help in village planning and monitoring. It should assist in identifying and tracking the resources that a village has. In case any of these resources has a problem, there should be a way the village can notify the appropriate government department for action.
Share and discuss best practices with other village administrators. This is a peer-to-peer interaction model which is not possible today, except for sporadic gatherings. Think of this as a community weblog (like Slashdot.org) which helps bring out good ideas and success stories from what others are doing.
Provide a microcredit facility to enable villagers to save money and get loans when required.

This is what the state administration would like to see in the solution:

Two-way information flows: the administration can update the village and its residents on various government programmes and schemes (this is typically done through the publishing of gazettes), and in turn get regular updates from the village on progress on key parameters reflecting the health of the village (this is typically done by sending government officials for periodic visits to the village).
Electronic accounting for the funds which are disseminated by the state/district administration for village activities.
Ability to provide better services to the citizens (for example, telemedicine).
Provide comparisons across villages on various parameters, to be able to identify success stories and enable their replication across other villages. [In a way, this is akin to how Walmart uses business intelligence from its various stores to identify consumer purchase trends.]

Rural marketing organisations would like to:

Use a medium by which they can reach out to villagers for their products and services.
Get a distribution point for eCommerce (delivery could take place through the postal system).
Have a mechanism by which they can collect payments for their offerings.

One can think of the state (or district) as managing an enterprise with multiple branch offices (the villages). To ensure a successful and profitable business, there needs to be a right mix of centralisation and decentralisation. This is what the solution will have to offer. This is the first step towards the transformation of the rural economy and its people.

There are three key ideas in using technology to transform Rural India. First, set up a TeleInfoCentre in every village. Next, network these TeleInfoCentres to create a Village InfoGrid to ensure a peer-to-peer communication network between villages. Finally, computerise key government operations in an eGovernance initiative, starting with those that can have the greatest impact for the villagers.

Well begin by first looking at the TeleInfoCentre.

Tomorrow: TeleInfoCentre


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