Inner India

As I was travelling through much of rural India, I couldn’t help thinking (as I always do when I am there) how little has changed in the interiors of India. Yes, there are more schools, STD-PCOs, Cable TV, higher literacy levels. But, village/rural life in India has been laregly unaffected by the modernisation that India’s cities are going through. The same is perhaps true even in places like China.

I got thinking on the problems and what can be done. The goal must be to make villages self-sufficient. Only then will migration to the urban and semi-urban areas stop. Villages have to be given access to the opportunities of the world outside. Have some thoughts on these – which I will perhaps build out into a Tech Talk series.

In a nutshell, what’s needed is water, electricity, food, connectivity, and perhaps more importantly, a future. For water, one could look at rainwater harvesting. For electricity, consider solar power. For food, better agricultural techniques to increase effciency of the land cultivated. For connectivity, think of telecentres with computers and Internet access. On providing a future, one must think of providing the local people opportunities to use their talents (especially at making art and crafts) which can be marketed to audiences outside their geography and even internationally, via a site like eBay.

Admittedly, these are simplistic ideas. I havent lived in a village for 20+ years – have just been an occasional traveller through some of them. But I cannot help feeling that we have to think solutions of how technology (and Emergic) can make a difference to their lives. After all, much of India (and the populace in emerging markets) still resides in villages.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.