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USID2011 Social Innovation and Use of Technology for the Rural Betterment

Author Chenchu Nagulu Goli 3/65 Hamlin Road, Mount Wellington, Auckland 1060, New Zealand nagulu_nz@yahoo.com Mob: +64 22 462 4858

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The Indian Rural and Urban segments are playing a vital role in the world markets like telecommunication and the agriculture markets. It is because of their large portion in the indian population. The latest census results (2011) had given much more boost to the Rural and the Urban segment numbers [1]. Particularly the Urban segment. These segments are much back lashed than each-other comparatively from the city dwellers or the metro population. The reason behind the difference is non-other-than the adoption (availability) of new technology. Off-course the availability of the technology also plays a bigger role. As the government agencies plays a major role in the administration and proceedings for the public administration. This paper suggests the implementation of a new technology that will benefit the Rural and the Urban segments as well the county and the public administration domain in larger scale.

1. Introduction
These days we can hear a lot of music on our mobile phones, off-course we are playing it with a different sources like downloaded music albums, or FM Radio on mobile phone. In the last decade we can see the rise of FM stations throughout metro cities. Parallel to this we can see much advanced technology of Telecommunication development rapidly through out the entire subcontinent. Despite the growth in these areas (FM Radio and Telecommunication) the technologies were not utilized at it's full potential. As the Census of India 2011 released the results, it is showing an alarming results in the rural and urban segments. The Indian population was 1210.2 million. Out of this the rural population stands at this number 833.1 million and the urban population number stands at 377.1 million. The Rural population had increased by 90.47million and the urban population by 91.00 million [1]. When we look at these figures in a simplified way the percentage of rural population stands at 68.84% of the total population and the rest 31.16% (which is an increase of 3.35%) was the rural population. These numbers or showing an increasing number in the urban areas. It shows that, the rural population is trying to embrace a better life style or technologies.

Figure 1: The increment of the urban segment against the rural segment in 1951 compared to 2011. Source: Census of India 2011

We have to note that the rural population made themselves comfortable during the earlier green revolution in the 1970s and 1980s, which combined high-yielding seeds and new irrigation methods had helped the nation to be a self sufficient and put India in a position where it can export food supplies for the rest of the world from an heavy importer previously. We have to remember that, this achievement was done with the help of (AIR) All India Radio. The programs were designed for the benifit of the farmers with constant updation about the new irrigation methods/techniques, the weather forecast and the new pestsides to be used to prevent the loss of redused yelding. After all those success stories we still see the masses moving towards the urban areas in the
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current situation. It might be because the government agencies are noot catering their (rural population) needs and requirements to comeup in their life economically and socially. The consequence of this migration of rural population to the urban areas may cause a tremendous shortage of work force of the farmers. To over come this, the farmers may have to look for farm land work force at higher wages or adopt the new technologies. The current Indian Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in Delhi said I congratulate the country's farmers for their achievements this year. The production of food grain has been at a record level. Wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds have all seen record levels of production [2]. This credit goes to the farmers and the farm land work force who made it happen for the nation. Now India became a food supplies exporter for the rest of the world from an importer. To make sure the growth to be continuous they need (administrative organisations of the local-level) to look after the rural population. The government agencies have to provide the needful for the rural population which can prevent them migrating to the urban areas. Whilst the government agencies have to provide the upcoming technologies and the trends for the rural population. The government agencies and the bodies should look in these areas, which can bring the migration down and keeps the cities with lesser slums and a balanced environment. The introduction of the mobile phones to the rural and urban population had brought a tremendous change in the nationwide utilization of the technology. To make use of this technology by the rural masses the government agencies should make them accessable at their knowledge level. These systems should be developed with the mental, psychological and behavioural nature of the rural population. These systems should look as a simsple as possible for the rural peopel to understand and to use.

2. Telephone usage in India

Based on the end of June 2011 results the number of telephone subscribers in India reached to 885.99 million. The urban subscriber share had declined to 66.36% from 66.38%. Comparatively the rural subscribers had increased from 33.62 to 33.64%. With these figures the overall tele-density of India had reached to 73.97. The Mobile Telephone subscription in urban areas grew from 580.62 million in May 2011 to 587.94 million. Rural subscription increased from 294.07 million to 298.05 million. This shows the rural subscription is (1.35%) is higher that the urban subscription (1.26%). The overall teledensity had increased to 163.13 from 161.37. The rural tele-density increased to 35.60 from 35.60 [3]. ,

2.1 Mobile Phone usage in India

Indian mobile subscriber base had reached to 851.70 million comparatively from the May 2011 number of 840.28 million, with a monthly growth rate of 1.61% [4]. Out of this the urban mobile phone subscriptions (users) were decreased to 66.00% from 66.02%. But the rural mobile phone subscriptions (users) were increased to 34.00% from 33.98%. Overall Indian mobile tele-density stands at 71.11% [3]. As per the research done by Juxt Consult survey household penetration of Mobile Phone utilisation had moved up to 71% from 48% for rural segment, urban segment had moved to 89% from 88% of 2010 number. The lower income segment is the largest mass of Mobile Phone
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users in India with a percentage of 40 [6]. As the mobile tele-density / mobile phone subscribers are in constant rise in the rual and the urban segments we can think of the maximum utilisation of this technology, which can yield better rewards for the people living in these segments. Off-course it needs the integration of different bodies/regulators like, financial institutions, information technology service providers and government agencies.

2.2 Broadband usage in India

As of July 2011 the total Indian Broadband subscriber base is 12.32 million. Which is increased from 12.12 million in May 2011 with a growth rate of 1.64%. The usage of broadband growth is sluggish throughout the India. When we compare these numbers with the global Internet users we are lagging behind a lot. The usage is mostly happening in the metro cities and the urban areas. It might be because of the infrastructure is not available in the rural areas or the rural segment population is unable to afford the price for a broadband connection and the required equipment. In order to make use of the broadband connection they might have to buy a computer or a laptop, which is out of the budget for a rural segment. I dont think there is a lack of English language knowledge for the rural segment, as per the results of Census India 2011. There is an increment of literacy population in the rural segment than the urban segment.

Figure 2: Literacy rate in Rural segment. Source: Census 2011 Provisional Population Totals - India

3 Mobile Phone Implication

There is a number of industries that are taking advantage of this mobile phone communication. To list a few, Banking Industry, Education and Training, Information Technology (IT) Industry, Tele Communications Industry, Medical Industry, Health and Fitness Industry the list goes on. To take advantage of this widely accepted and well received technology the government agencies and the local policy makers should take the initiation how better the technology can cater the needs of the urban and rural segment population.

4 Success Story
ITC company had initiated a project named e-Choupal. Which, places computers with Internet access in rural farming villages. These e-Choupals serve as a place of social gathering place for information exchange and e-commerce hub for the rural segment in the surrounding villages with in the radius of 5Kms [7].
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The main concept is to re-engineer the procurement process for soy, tobacco, wheat, shrimp and other crops in rural India. e-Choupal system had helped the framers to receive a lower prices as part of the investments and receive a higher yields. It helped farmers to increase the plantation of soy from 50% to 90% in some regions. Farmers got benefited in different ways like improving the soil quality, obtaining credit from the banks and insurance for the crop from the natural disasters. Currently the e-Choupal reaches more than a million farmers in nearly 11,000 villages through 2,000 e-Choupal centers in four states (Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). The average usage is about 600 farmers per one e-Choupal system. The success of e-Choupals shows the intensity of adaptability and learning skills of the rural population and an effective use of the new technologies. It had proven the provided the technology the rural population is more adaptive and lament for the new technologies.

5 Conclustion: System that works with the Rural Public

As we can see the success of the adoption of Mobile Telecommunication in Rural and Urban areas, why can not we design a system or an application that helps the Rural and Urban communities. Most of the rural population is dependent on farming and cultivation for their daily earnings. Vise versa the land owners depend on the rural population for the regular needful work in the farms. When we analyze the basic requirements for a Rural natives we can categorize them as 1. Knowing about the weather forecast. 2. Knowing about the new farming techniques. 3. Knowing about the pest controls. 4. Knowing about the land suitability for the cultivation. 5. When the water going to be released to the canal, for the purpose of cultivation and irrigation by the government agencies. 6. Negotiating with the banks for credit approvals. 7. Power supply availability during the crop season. 8. Jobs/Work availability. 9. Handy availability of farming equipment and supplies suppliers. 10. Expert guidance / advise for the upcoming crop season. Some of these requirements are currently available over the radio network and through some television channels. The constraint in using the currently available services is the intended recipient need to be available during the broadcasting time. In-fact it may not be convenient for the farmer to be available during that time. Once they missed the broadcasting slot there is no other way except wait for the next scheduled broadcasting slot. These type of services are provided by some organisation with strict scheduled plan which may not provide the information readily available when they need for the farmers. To leverage this gap why cant we design and build a system that works on the Mobile Telecommunication networks, which is readily available for the rural and urban public 24x7 and 365 days. Yes! there is a limitation in few areas such as contacting the banks, services and gods / supplies providers after office hours. In such instances the farmer / intended person can request the designated official via an SMS (Short Message Service) on the next available day for further information. The Meteorological services organisation and Irrigation Department can constantly update with weather reports and the releasing of water to the canals during the crop season. Using this system the government agencies can implement the learning system for the illiterate elders remotely using the interactive systems, such as Internet based Learning System or Computer Based Learning System. In-order to provide these systems via Broadband network the government agencies may utilise the all-ready developed network systems of the local post office or the nearest railway station. As these premises were fully networked for their services. By utilising these networks the government agencies need not to establish another network for their services.

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Figure 3: The System that works with the Rural and Urban Population.

While developing this system the developers should not refer the existing systems which are in the market currently. The reason behind is nothing but, these systems are developed by educated and modernised human for the use of another modernised human. The system that intended to develop should be like a pictorial based. The end user should use this program / system without any hiccups or quitting form use in the middle. The developers should learn the mental skills of the Rural and the Urban population while developing this type of system. The developed ideas should be tested by the end-users at all stages in the design process from concept to end product.

5.1 Added advantages

There is some added advantages in implementing this system. Such as - 1. Disaster alert for the Rural / Urban public. 2. Integrating the citizens at one point of time. 3. Extending the health checkups for the pregnant womens and infant babies. Which helps them to maintain a proper diet to avoid future health issues. 4. Can use this system to overlook the health and safety of the masses. For example if there is requirement for extra medical supplies for a sudden outbreak of Cholera, Malaria or Dengue, the supporting government agencies and the organisations can prepare in a short notice for the rescue of the masses in those affected areas. 5. The Microfinance system can be implemented in the urban areas, which will increase the financial stability of the rural and the urban population. 6. The system can integrate the government agencies and the masses with an ease of use. I can imagine a system with this kind of features and options will change the financial stability and the living style of the Indian Rural villages and the Urban towns with rapid pace. At the same time this system may reduce the migration of rural masss to the urban areas and may keep the Indian villages lively. It reminds me the quote of Mahatma Gandhi said as India lives in the villages. Now I leave the baton to the System Designers & Engineers, Psychologists, Industrial Designers, Programmers and the Graphic Designer, to come up with a system that can change the lives of the Rural and the Urban masses in near future.

6. References
[1] Census India 2011 http://www.censusindia.gov.in/
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[2] Prime Minister calls for another Green Revolution http://smetimes.tradeindia.com/smetimes/news/industry/2011/Aug/16/pm-calls-for-another-greenrevolution625858.html [3] Information Note to the Press (Press Release No. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) New Delhi, 8th August 2011 http://www.trai.gov.in 45 /2011)

[4] India Mobile Telecom Market May 2011 http://bonelessresearch.blogspot.com/2011/07/india-mobiletelecom-market-may-2011-up.html [5] Broadband usage in India. http://www.broadbandindia.com/internet/facts-about-indian-internet-beginning-of-revolution/ [6] Lower income setment usage of mobile phones http://www.communicationstoday.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4158&Itemid=147 [7] What Works Case Study on ITCs e-Choupal and Profitable Rural Transformation. http://pdf.wri.org/dd_echoupal.pdf [8] Internet Usage Statistics of India A 2010 Report http://www.goospoos.com/2011/01/india-internet-broadband-users-gender-age-statistics-2010/ [9] Internet and Broadband User Statistics India V/s World http://www.goospoos.com/2009/12/internet-and-broadband-user-statistics-india-vs-world/ [10] Mobile Internet Usage in India: Statistics, Facts & Opportunities http://www.goospoos.com/2011/05/mobile-internet-usage-in-india/

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