The Vision of Smart Village- An Opinion
The idea of making a village smart was relevant even years back.
However, the country like India
may definitely tolerate such delay where I have myself watched the duggi system (beating drum in the streets to inform
people). This delay was rather unimaginable in
any western or developed country. Any technology may be called useful only if it
contributes to the larger section of the society and percolates down to the lowest of its
strata. The village has now become the ultimate unit of development in the country as a
lot of funding of the government is now directly being made to the gram panchayats. In
this perspective, unless information is also made to flow between district, state or
central head offices to the village and vice versa smoothly and speedily, we can not
expect a full growth of the panchayati raj system.
being an agrarian country, about eighty percent of its population either lives in villages
or is somehow related with the people living in those areas. This causes a pressure on the
transport sector on the one hand and the communication on the other. If prompt, exact and
reliable information flow is ensured, there would definitely be a reduction in run to city
or towns by needy people. This reduction if translated in the financial savings will turn out to be substantial.
The major section of these rural inhabitants is poverty stricken and Central
government in coordination with states has launched various schemes for their benefit. The
poor must have the information regarding these schemes if he is to enjoy maximum benefits
out of these. As they have no means to communicate satisfactorily with the concerned
officers who sits away from the village, he is totally dependent upon the people who have
their vested interests also involved. Here illiteracy is not the hindrance for the removal
of his deprived state but it is the lack of information to him. Almost all the families of
now have at least one family member who has got primary education at least.
Now government should move in this
direction and bring advancement by use of IT despite the fact that the benefits reaped would be
intangible in the earlier stages. Moreover, the success of the project would depend on the
will power of administration, spirit of IT professionals to help implement the task as
they would have to coordinate the work in a remote and dusty environment of the village
and the self confidence of the person involved at local level. It is further necessary to
have most of the information of district level available in local language and in standard
format. There should not be any prerequirement attached for utilizing the services of
cyber-hut to avoid adverse propaganda from the vested interests. Standardization of the
format of the information would play a great role in future for planning and nation
building. The server established at the
district head quarter must have the information rapidly replenished by concerned
officials. This server may also provide access to cyber-huts by remote login using dial-up
connectivity as well as to other institutions who wish to publicize their content locally.
Any query made from any village or responded to by related ministry or office must have
provision for automatically be routed to all the relevant and concerned officers or
persons respectively in their own local languages, if required. In such cases where the
matter is of sensitive nature, the technologies of authentication or digital signature may
be incorporated to bind the parties legally. This may be required in cases of transactions
where banks or financial institutions or the departments to whom payments are being made
digitally or agree to receive payments in similar fashion are involved. The benefits of IT
by smart villages may be reaped in cases related to health, education, marketing,
litigation etc. also as almost all the sectors have already been linked to NIC.
The same infrastructure may further be used for catering other IT related needs
such as computer education, desktop publishing, instant photo preparation, and horoscope
generation etc. of the interested persons of the village. IP telephony being cheaper in
comparison to POTS, may also be utilized by local villagers. In future other value added
services like desktop video conferencing may also be established.
Each smart village must have cyber huts depending upon the needs of the population.
Any NGO or local educated youth willing to provide logistic facilities and contribute
financially on the pattern of PCOs may be assigned the job.
NIC may provide hardware, software or other technical support to the pilot villages
for a fixed duration and that also on nominal charge basis. Hopefully this will work and
pave the way for further expansion.
do send your comments to email@example.com