Kurukshetra December 2018 - Science & Technology for Rural India (Part 1) (Download PDF)

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Science and Technology for Rural India - Kurukshetra December 2018 (in English)

Modern Technology in Implementation of Rural Development Plans

  • In order to achieve desired results of all rural development schemes, greater emphasis has been laid on adopting modern technology, cutting edge techniques & scientific methods in their implementation.
  • ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ has created employment opportunities in country & also catalysed skill development in rural areas.
  • In fact, it is not only a Programme, but an important nation-building campaign.
  • Under this scheme, target is to construct 1 cr. residential units till March 2019.
  • 👌Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, construction of 52.26 lakh houses has been completed by 19th November, 2018.
  • All transfers of funds to beneficiaries are done on basis of Electronic Funds Transfer Order (FTO) .
  • To monitor progress of housing construction, showing geo-referenced photographs w/help of mobile-based application -Awas app & uploading them on Awas Soft has been made mandatory.
  • All photographs uploaded are geo-tagged & time-stamped.
  • These assets can also be seen on Geo-Coordinated Bhuvan.
  • ISRO has developed this software application thru which 2-D/3-D images of Earth՚s surface can be seen.
  • In India, when era of planned development started in year 1951, road connectivity in villages was negligible because only 20 % of villages had all-weather roads.
  • Rural Housing Knowledge Network (RHKN) has been started in collaboration w/IIT Delhi w/objective to prepare multilingual wed-portal in public sector & to prepare comprehensive nationwide compilation of information related to business houses, institutions & practices associated w/affordable & sustainable solutions of rural housing.
  • Subjects of “Rural Roads” is included in Constitution under State List.
  • 👌Govt. had, as part of poverty-alleviation work plan meant for assistance of States, launched Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana” on December 25,2000.
  • Main objective of this scheme is to provide all weather roads to habitations included in core network of plains areas not connected w/roads & having population of 500 & more (as per 2001 Census) .
  • On a special initiative of Ministry of Rural Development, Indian Roads congress has published a Rural Roads Manual IRCSP: 20 on geometric standards, design, construction & maintenance of rural roads.
  • Standard Bid Document (SBD) has been prepared on basis of best national & international systems for construction contracts under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana & tendering process for all construction works is carried out on basis of this document.
  • Asian Development Bank approved technical assistance of US $ 500 million in December last year to emphasize on sustainability, innovative technology & anti-disaster mechanism in development of rural roads in country.
  • Under World Bank-assisted PMGSY-Rural Road Project-II, emphasis has been laid on adopting innovative & simplified methods of maintenance of rural roads.
  • Under this, a mobile application Aarambh has been developed which helps in collecting necessary data for preparation of inventory of roads, GIS based mapping for survey of road surface, cost estimation & annual road maintenance plans & monitoring work.
  • Modern Web-based on-line mgmt. , monitoring & accounting system, OMMAS has been set up to effectively monitor entire program, bring in more efficiency in implementation & increase responsibility & transparency in system.
  • Using dot-net technology, new version of OMMAS 2.0 has also been started.
  • National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj has issued guidelines on technology in construction of rural roads using new materials, waste materials & locally available material.
  • 👌To fulfill objectives of e-Governance & Digital India, a new mobile application Meri Sadak has been launched on July 20,2015 for resolving complaints related to PMGSY roads.
  • Meri Sadak app is available in 10 regional languages along w/English & Hindi.
  • Scheme of providing at least 100 days of unskilled manual labour to each family in form of guaranteed employment in a financial year according to demand in rural areas is well-known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act- MGNREGA.
  • It is an important program to ensure inclusive growth of rural India.
  • An exclusive initiative named Geo-MGNREGA was introduced in financial year 2016 - 17 to strengthen scheme & also to underpin transparency & monitoring mechanism in implementation.
  • Secure (Software for Estimate Calculation Using Rural Rates for Employment) is an online application, specially designed & developed to prepare online estimates of MGNREGA works.
  • In financial year 2017 - 18, an Android-based mobile application Jan-MGNREGA was launched which has a large-scale feed-back mechanism for public.
  • 👌Ministry of Rural Development has started National Electronic Fund Management System (NE-FMS) from Jan 01,2016 to further simplify fund flow system.
  • 12.55 million Job cards have been issued to MGNREGA workers & about 10 cr. workers have been linked to AADHAR.
  • 6.95 cr. workers have been linked to AADHAR based payment system.

Building Agriculture Innovation System

  • More specifically, India needs to rapidly move towards ‘innovation led agricultural growth’ .
  • This has to be achieved w/speed, scale & sustainability.
  • We have benefited from our established ‘Indian Agriculture Research System’ .
  • However, we need to understand that any National Agricultural Research System (NARS) is activity based.
  • 👌Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems (AKIS) are output based.
  • 👌National Agricultural Innovation Systems (NAIS) , however, are outcome based.
  • From transfer of technology we must move to learning by using ‘collective intelligence’ .
  • Combination of scarcity & aspiration had helped India develop its own brand of innovation- getting more from less for more people- not just for more profit.
  • 👌This was called MLM paradigm, i.e.. ‘More from Less for More’ .
  • Indian demand for good grains would increase from 192 million tonnes in 2000 to 342 million tonnes in 2030.
  • Challenge is that this ‘more’ has to be created w/ ‘less’ .
  • Diversion of arable lands for urbanization, industrialization & also for producing bio-fuels will mean less availability of land for agriculture.
  • Availability of ‘Less land’ is also due to degradation caused by soil erosion, soil salinity & water -logging problems.
  • GM crops present a great opportunity of getting ‘more from less’ as is evident from Indian success in Bt Cotton.
  • W/reference to GM crops, different nations have adopted different strategies.
  • Some use ‘preventive’ policies.
  • No matter what, do not allow GM crops.
  • Others use ‘permissive’ policies.
  • Precision agriculture could be achieved w/use of advanced GIS/GPS & sensors can guide planting/irrigation.
  • Farmers can have real time market information by using mobile communications.
  • Again we can achieve ‘more from less’ by using leakage-free public distribution system, which uses computerized allocation of food grains.
  • 👌2nd powerful way of getting ‘more from less’ is to empower more & more farmers, w/more & more knowledge.
  • 👌3rd way of getting ‘more from less’ is by using power of ‘collective intelligence’ .
  • We must have more innovators becoming active players in Indian agricultural innovation ecosystem going beyond our formal research & innovation systems.
  • Dadaji Khobragade from Nanded was one such as ‘grassroots innovator’ . NIF identified him & honored him.
  • Improved paddy variety, HMT, developed by him has now diffused to several states covering more than one lakh acres.
  • It has been included as a standard reference for thinness by Protection of Plant Variety & Farmer՚s Rights Variety (PPVFRA) .
  • 👌4th Strategy is that more ‘collective intelligence’ of innovators must be used in enhancing productivity of workers in agriculture, while reducing or removing drudgery in their fields.

Way Forward:

  • Reverse innovation & even ‘Indovation’ ! & all these refer to India՚s ability to do ‘more from less for more people’ .
  • That means India is creating its own imprint on global innovation scenario.
  • We will achieve dream of moving rapidly from ‘green revolution’ to much needed ‘evergreen revolution’ & ‘nutritional revolution’ .

Krishi Vigyan Kendra: Promoting Scientific Temper

  • 👌Indian govt. has set up a big chain of over 700 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVFs) across country.
  • KVKs are integral part of national agricultural research & extension system & strength of this entity is embedded in its multidisciplinary structure, multi-stakeholder ownership & multifarious activities.

Origin, Philosophy & Objectives of KVK:

  • 👌 Concept of KVK was given by Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, initiator of green revolution in India & father of Indian agricultural research.
  • Dr. Swaminathan convinced GOI that there is dire necessity to develop KVK in each district of India w/an objective to cater activities such as technology assessment, refinement & demonstration of technology product.
  • First KVK in Pondicherry during 1974 w/financial support & able guidance of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) .
  • Kapgari village of West Medinipur district, first KVK in West Bengal & second in India was established in year 1976.
  • 👌Meaning of KVK is ‘farm science centre’ .
  • Objectives cum activities of KVK can be summarized as below:
  1. On Farm Testing of new Technologies
  2. Frontline Demonstration Centre
  3. Capacity Building
  4. Multi sector Support & Advisory Services.
  • Aligned to strengthen efficiency of KVKs, a study was conducted by National Institute of labour Economics Research & Development (NILERD) , an autonomous institute under NITI Aayog in year 2017.
  • About 40 % farmers reported that they implemented technology immediately after its dissemination by KVK & that 25 % did so from next agricultural season.

KVK: A tool for promoting Scientific Temper

  • Scientific method comprises of five major components i.e.. observation, hypothesis, experimentation, analysis & conclusion.
  • Each KVK has got different demonstration units such as mushroom unit, bio-fertilizer unit, vermicomposting unit, bee keeping unit, fruit preservation unit etc.
  • A farmer who approaches KVK can get information in all relevant areas of his farming.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra Portal: Extended Arm to Farmers

  • For this reason, research over last 25 years has focused on capacity of KVKs to make use of ICT for purpose of a better mgmt. of communications w/farmers.
  • It has also been found that technologies adopted by KVKs led to higher productivity, enhanced income & reduction of drudgery.
  • KVKs aim at comprehensive rural development & hence training on employment & income generating activities like wire basket making, tailoring, preservation techniques, agarbatti making, leather bag production, rope making, candle making.

Knowledge Management thru Digital Technologies

  • Adopting a suitable Knowledge Management System or combination of systems & tool is important to reach-out target audience (84 cr. of rural population in 6,50, 000 villages) w/intended information & knowledge.
  • Knowledge Management (KM) , a process of leveraging collective knowledge in a particular domain/institution/Organisation, traditionally includes four processes, i.e.. , knowledge creation, knowledge storage & retrieval, knowledge transfer & knowledge application.
  • Traditional KM systems including classroom teaching & distance mode programs in rural development sector, mostly resulted in ‘knowledge push’ & very less scope for interactivity.
  • These systems are more ‘process-centric’ rather than ‘people-centric’ .

Web Portal: A Powerful Knowledge Management Tool

Vikaspedia Knowledge Portal

  • 👌Launched in 2008, as part of India Development Gateway initiative of GOI, Vikaspedia portal (www.vikaspedia. in) is aimed at creating versatile collective knowledge repository & demand driven information in rural development oriented sectors including Agriculture, Health, Education, Social Welfare, Energy & e-Governance.

Smart Phones: Dynamic power house of Knowledge

  • 👌As on 31st August 2018, total number of mobile users in India were 1167 million (91 % of total population) , including 519 million subscribers from rural areas, as estimated by Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) .
  • Technology advancement has led usage of mobile phones from mere ‘voice calls’ to other useful services like messaging, internet based data services & Apps.

Expert System: A virtual expert tool providing solutions for common problems

  • An Expert System is basically a software application that attempts to reproduce performance of an expert in a particular domain.
  • Expert system adopts artificial intelligence to solve a particular problem w/help of pre-set conditions in software application.
  • Plantix ′ is a mobile based plant disease diagnostic tool getting popular in recent days.

E-Learning: A solution for large scale capacity building

  • Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) including online courses, remote classrooms, video conferencing etc. plays a major role in rural KM.

Community Radio

  • Community Radio is a broadcasting system established by efforts of a specific community, operated by them for purpose of community՚s welfare.
  • These stations are collectively owned by community, trust or foundations in that locality.
  • ‘Sangam Radio’ started in 2008, by Deccan Development Society (DDS) in Telangana, is first NGO operated Community Radio, successfully operated by women՚s collectives for past 10 years.


  • 👌Expert systems have made knowledge sharing as ‘people centric’ rather than ‘process centric’ .
Science and Technology for Rural India - Kurukshetra December 2018 (in Hindi)

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- Published/Last Modified on: January 10, 2019


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