Digital transition is in motion. Technology innovation is not limited to the iOSes or the Chandrayaans. Science has made its way into every little thing we do. It has made inroad into all parts of India and there are several innovative products for rural India as well. The enabler of the 21st century, technology helps in facilitating change that works towards better quality of living, enhanced economic activity and global exposure at the grassroot level. Moreover, advances in biotechnology, artificial intelligence and GIS (geographic information system) have powered the changing the face of rural India.
India continues to remain predominantly rural. Today, the country’s rural population makes up 45% of the GDP. Hence, it was critical for the Indian government to prioritise digitisation of rural India. The Skill India and Digital India initiatives are steps in the direction towards technology innovation in rural India.
Several programs from leading corporations are enabling this rural growth in India. CSR Box gives the instance of Lupin that is working on technology infusion and diversification, IDFC for financial inclusion and RECL’s community-based interventions.
The Amul Dairy Products History
Amul is an immediate name that comes to mind for rural . A household name in India, has been true to its tagline “the taste of India” since it was coined by Shri Kanon Krishna in 1994. Their development has been continuous and moved with the times.
Adoption of right technology innovation at the opportune time provided employment to the women in Gujarat. It also helped India rank amongst the largest milk producers in the world. Amul brought in a revolution in rural India. In fact, advanced automation used by the federation not only helped to reduce milk wastage but also spurred rapid growth.
Their IoT inspired automation and control systems tody ensure uninterrupted processing of billions of litres of milk. Another great example is of entrepreneur Santosh Kaveri. He has designed some of the most innovative solutions, including a brake system for bullock carts, a scalable carrot cleaning systems, and many more.
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Technology innovation in Rural India
Technological advancements in rural India is critical to build a better nation. Digital technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Immersive Reality are tapering the rural-urban divide. Pricing of technology hardware is also more affordable.
Spread of mobile technologies, remote-sensing services and distributed computing are already improving access to education, healthcare, and are promising better agricultural opportunities for Indian farmers to thrive and survive. They are integral to rural India’s growth.
Roughly 68% of India’s population actually subsists in rural areas. Villages in India have the spending power, but they also face unique problems. Poor healthcare, transportation, lack of education, and unreliable weather conditions affect the life of individuals and farmers alike. The need of harnessing science and technology for transforming rural India is now being recognized.
Entrepreneurs in rural India are gradually making a difference to everyday lives. They have brought smart and new innovations, which has made a tremendous difference to the way they work.
Let’s have a look at 5 innovative technologies that are helping shape rural India, one farmer at a time.
5 Innovative Products for Rural India
Elephant Warning Systems
Human-elephant conflict has been a major issue in forest areas, where the human farms and territory is walked upon by wild elephants. Elephants enter human habitations in search of food and water. Massive deforestation has forced wild animals to barge in human territories to sustain themselves.
Elephant warning systems are designed using infrared technology, temperature, and movement sensors to alert residents in the rural area of elephant movement. Designed to prevent human-elephant conflict, the Forest Department in West Bengal has installed nearly 16 Automated Elephant Tracking Device (AETD) in several villages bordering Gorumara National park (Jalpaiguri), and 12 AETDs around Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (Darjeeling).
The new technology will not only help farmers save their crops but will also reduce death casualties causes from elephant attacks. The device can interpret elephant movement within a 200-meter ambit and immediately sends an SMS to farmers and forest officials regarding their movement.
Hail storms in Himachal are a common problem, especially for farmers. According to Horticulture Department estimates, hailstorms damage 20-30 percent of vegetable and fruit crops in the state every year. According to the Economic Survey of India 2018-19, Himachal Pradesh 5.65 lakh tonnes of fruit and 15.31 lakh tonnes of food grains. The total value of production of key indicators, had absolute value of Rs. 1,36,542 crores at current prices. Clearly, the state is highly dependant on its agricultural produce.
Hi-tech horticulture in Shimla is improving with the IT boom. Liberal subsidies for poly greenhouses, shade net structures and micro irrigation coupled with with technical support has driven the growth of hi-tech farming. Government in Himachal Pradesh has introduced anti-hail guns to create shock waves when fired into the atmosphere to disturb the formation of hailstones at the beginning stage.
Shock waves, travelling at the speed of sound, disrupts the cloud formation to prevent hailstone.
Farmers in Himachal Pradesh also use anti-hail nets to further fervent their crops during extreme weather conditions. These nets also stop the extra growth of plants and thus ensure qualitative fruits and vegetables.
With an aim to modernize agriculture in India, SmartFarm is a cutting-edge farm technology that can remotely detect crop damage. Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, this unique farm management solution is designed for farmers, agronomists, and contractors.
Agriculture sector in India is lagging behind as the farmers are committing suicides and the yields are low due to poor weather conditions. SmartFarm Platform enables digitization of farms and allows farmers to increase food production. Farmers can use it for recording activities of farming and serves as a field monitoring module that helps in checking soil temperature, moisture, and EC data.
Launched by National Informatics Centre, e-Hospital program integrates digital information to improve health care processes and accessibility. It also improves digital prescription management by assisting in elimination of prescription errors. The program runs on the Online Registration System (ORS), which is an online portal where patients can book appointments in hospitals spread across different states and union territories in India.
e-Hospital program allows users to book appointments online and simplifies the registration process in the hospital. It also helps the user to see the available appointment slots in government hospitals covered by e-Hospital Program. Not only user-friendly, the digital e-Hospital Program also allows also users to pay fees, download diagnostics reports and check for the availability of blood, in case of emergency.
We also have Maatritva, a Nashik-based mobile health platform for pregnant ladies and midwives. Technology innovation of the app is designed to prevent complications for pregnant women. The app helps in identifying and tracking high-risk pregnancies to ensure safer deliveries. Originally designed in Marathi language, the app works even without internet connection. Midwives in govt. hospitals use this app to record medical information of pregnant women in antenatal clinics after conducting tests. The platform presently has more than 1,000 active users and 500 midwives users, and has screened more than 13,000 pregnant women.
In rural areas, where education and literacy rates are generally lower, mobile phones are the only source of communication. Enabling learning on the go, ePathsala is a mobile application available for Android and Windows users. Designed for both students, teachers, as well as educators, and even parents, the app allows users to download all NCERT books on their smartphones. Students can also use the app to view recorded lectures. Beneficial not only for students but teachers can also use the app to make classroom teaching more interesting and effective.
Technology is the engine of growth that pulls the Indian economy together. There is still a need for substantial need for technology advancement to help bridge the gap between rural and urban India. It is the techno-entrepreneurs and the government together who will have to keep designing user-friendly technologies to solve the problems of rural India. There are several startups working to bridge the disparity. Armed with innovative thinking and hi-technology, the new age startups have the potential to bring hope to India’s villages.
Are you a start-up working in the area of technology innovation in rural India? Share your story of an innovative product for rural India.