Time is moving fast, the world is changing, every minute and every second! It’s the swift-paced era of digitalization. Change is pervasive, and will go on. The new system is not manual anymore, it is automated and you better learn when and which buttons to push or else you’ll be left behind, probably with a bunch of not-so ‘smart’ people to keep you company.
Indian Villages Transformed Into Tech-Savvy Digital Villages
With the world mastering the art of ‘going-digital’ so swiftly, It has become imperative for India to pick up pace and match steps. Despite the fact that India boasts of sheltering a major chunk of Internet users in Asia, the national average is still a big concern. In a country of a whooping 1.3 billion people, ironically, nearly two-thirds of the population doesn’t have access to the Internet!
To tackle this issue of accessibility and to create a complete digital economy, the government has put up an ambitious “Digital Village” Plan. With an initial budget of INR 420 crore, the scheme is targeted at making the lives in Indian villages ‘digital’ by way of broadband accessibility, connectivity and e-governance.
According to Aruna Sundarajan, an official of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the scheme’s highlight being India’s transformation into a well-connected knowledge economy, it also aims at dispensing basic development services, medical aid and interactive education.
A recent report by CNN also puts this ambitious plan under the spotlight, especially after the government’s November decision of banning 86% of its cash for a gear up towards a more digitalized economy. This challenging pilot project focuses on providing free WiFi hotspots mounted on special multi-tenant telecom towers to 1050 villages. The villagers can connect to this technology through their cellphones.
Digital Village, directed towards an overall rural development offers more benefits than simply broadband connectivity, including: –
- Set-up tower can provide the anchor demand for an ESCO to install a 15-25 KVA energy solution (Bio gas, solar, battery etc.) to serve the power demand of the village.
- This 24X7 backup energy can be used for mobile charging and recharging points.
- The towers present immense entrepreneurial opportunity for ambitious small businesses and entrepreneurs that require Internet connectivity; setting up of multiple cyber cafes being one.
- Another big benefit is their utilization for uninterrupted e-education, since the energy crisis is minimized. The tower becomes a powerhouse for e -learning as it shelters e-learning kiosks that come equipped with pre-loaded educational material targeted at developing computer literacy among school children.
- The plan targets promotion of financial inclusion in rural India by deploying mini ATMs. Now, the villagers can transact and transfer money effortlessly rather than queuing up in the bank.
- The tower is used to offer E-governance and related value added services at the set-up site, e.g., utility bill payments.
As grand as it may seem, a plan can’t be called a success until an impressive target is achieved. A finer collaboration between the Government, Policy Makers, Mobile Network Operators and telecom infrastructure is to be called for if the desired crop has to be reaped.