Wasn’t the Mahatma Correct?
“The future of India lies in the villages” - Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma was very clear in his thoughts when he spoke on the rural development and economics. He strongly advocated the idea of making the villages self sufficient and reliant. The empowered villages, according to him would become the building blocks of modern India. Like one of those Whatsapp messages that we read, APJ Kalam and Mahatma Gandhi are like Lord Krishna, everybody likes them, but, no body follows them.
India, after independence in many possible senses neglected the rural parts. At least did we plan our cities well? No. Poor sanitation, bad water supply system, backward waste management techniques, low safety, high cost transport are common features of many Indian cities. Does that mean India has become Naa Ghar ka, Naa Ghat ka types? In a way yes.
Is it true that rural India lacks potential? According to 2011 census, 83.3cr Indian population dwells in more than 6,40,867 villages. We are in an age which refer to people as Human Resource and Human Capital. If people of a country are really a resource, rural India which has such massive population cannot be without potential. At present, low literacy, connectivity, poverty, low per capita income may be the features of rural India but it wouldn’t be the case for a long time is the feeling one gets when he reads about Akodara village of Gujarat.
Akodara is the first digital village of India it is in the Sabarkantha district of North Gujarat. ICICI bank under ‘Digital Village’ program launched the digitalization of the village. The village has 220 families and a population close to 1500 people. While cotton, castor and wheat are produced by the villagers, they are also engaged in cattle rearing. The village is also proud of its own animal hostel.
The digitalization of the village started on the 15th Jan 2015 and it stands completed now. When big cities of India stood in queues after demonetization, when trade and commerce came to a standstill and when GDP of the country is expected to slip below 7% and go as low as 6.5%, Akodara had peaceful and normal life. Thanks to digitalization.
From shops to cooperative societies the transactions are cashless at Akodara. The village has its own Website and a Facebook page. Skill development for girls, smart schools, school management software, school curriculum, agriculture produce price are all available online. It is a comprehensive digitization program that has taken place in Akodara village. The internet facility is extended by a Wi Fi tower set up by ICICI bank.
Arisal is a village in Maharashtra and it is at the verge of becoming a digitized village. Vijaya bank has adopted Chandagalu village of Karnataka on 29th April 2016 to make it a digital village. Panchayats in Maharashtra and Tamilnadu too are going digital.
Is the wave of change and modernization blowing from the rural India? It appears to be so. The rural India’s growth seems to catch up with urban India, in the years to come, India would shine in the world economy. Rural India has huge potential. The harvest has just seem to have begun. Mahatma was correct… “The future of India lies in its villages.”