सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Addressing challenges of digital divide, public awareness, inclusive development

How is digital awareness propelling rural development in India? A note by S M Sehgal Foundation:
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John Rawls in his path-breaking book titled, A Theory of Justice, proposed the two following principles that can easily be extended to empowerment and development of all citizens of a country, and in this context, the diverse population of India.
(1) Every citizen is entitled to equal rights along with basic liberties
(2) Social and economic inequalities are to be balanced in a way such as to:
(a) Provide the greatest benefit to the least advantaged,
(b) Provide equality of opportunity for all offices and positions.
Inclusive growth is a relevant policy goal for the people of India that will result in both growth and inclusion, and follow the Rawlsian “maximin” principle. The target should be to maximize the welfare of the poorest.
As we complete 75 years of independence, the diversity and divide in India is still stark and negatively skewed. With a large population still dependent on agriculture, underemployment is rampant; and a substantial part of the population is still afflicted with poverty.
Recent changes in Indian policy have undoubtedly delivered growth and inclusion; however, a sizable population in India is still below the poverty line, and a large marginal population is vulnerable to shocks like the COVID pandemic and droughts/ floods driven by climate change.
After all these years, we still await the catharsis of poverty and inequality. What has led to this situation? The crux of the problem has been political will. Someone aptly put it “Those who have (political) power do not have hunger; and those who have hunger, do not have power.”
Power is a multidimensional word. In this context, power is to have an effective say within forums. Thus empowerment and poverty eradication, to be successful, requires inclusive, small-sized, rural, disadvantaged forums to be in place. Empowering itself relates to providing education to people and creating conditions that would provide awareness, job creation, chances to learn from others, and an environment that allows them to earn a decent living to help them live a better life.
The way this positive change can be achieved is through empowerment. Empowerment can be achieved through education, information, and counseling. Access to information and communications technology has the potential to be a game changer to help rural and disadvantaged communities in India overcome poverty and lead to sustainable development.

Digital India and its impact on rural development

Digital India was launched in 2015 as a dream project of the Indian government. The vision was to transform rural India into a knowledge and digitally empowered society through dissemination of information and digital access to government services. The visionary step of the government was aimed at motivating and connecting rural India to a knowledge world through a backbone of a high-speed internet network.
The vision of digital India was threefold:
The Digital India Program was conceptualized on nine pillars and, in the rural context, besides creation of manufacturing infrastructure and manufacturing, the key areas were:
E-governance: Access to database, use of online repositories, integrate platforms through Aadhaar, public grievance redressal, etc.
E-Kranti: Electronic delivery of services like e-education, e-healthcare, information to farmers, financial inclusion, and justice, etc.
Impact for rural India has been slow but sure. In a large and diverse country, some impact areas have been:
Financial Inclusion: With the help of Digital India, financial inclusion has been accelerated through schemes such as Digital India, Direct benefit transfer, Rupay, UPI payments etc. The Jan Dhan–Aadhaar–Mobile has created a positive impact on the banking sector in the country. The benefits have percolated to the rural areas, and financial literacy has improved as the rural population gets integrated in the system. Direct benefit transfer (DBT) has created a major positive financial impact for rural communities by plugging leakages and speeding up distribution of subsidies, pensions, and other benefits under various schemes. All this has created a positive economic outlook in rural India.
E Governance: Projects such as Kisan Call Centres, Jagriti E-Sewa, e-District, Common Services Centres (CSCs), Mobile Seva, etc., have led to better service delivery, transparency and accountability, and improvement in government efficiency. The empowerment of people through information is slowly but surely spearheading rural India to contribute to the next phase of growth in the economy.
Education: Initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan PMGDISHA have been started with the target of making six crore people in rural India digitally literate. Reaching rural education in India is crucial for the next phase of growth, and projects like SWAYAM are spearheading e-education through an offering of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) for leveraging e-Education. Swayam provides a platform that facilitates hosting of all courses taught in classrooms from Class 9 till post-graduation with open access.

Helping inclusive development

While the government has been spearheading the inclusive development of rural areas with a slew of schemes, issues remain that need to be addressed. Areas such as lack of infrastructure, financial resources, public awareness, and most-importantly, the Digital Divide are challenges, need to be addressed. That is where a hybrid approach that builds public-private partnerships comes in to fill the gap.
S M Sehgal Foundation, a sustainable rural development NGO in India, has been working since 1999 to improve the quality of life of the rural communities. One of the main program areas of Sehgal Foundation is Transform Lives, which provides schoolchildren with access to a learning-conducive school environment and digital and life skills awareness. The foundation team under the Transform Lives program advocates Digital and Life Skills Awareness Trainings for schoolchildren and youth in alignment with the vision of National Digital Literacy Mission “to empower at least one person per household with crucial digital literacy skills by 2020.” This focus on bridging the divide between rural and urban children helps to develop their social and emotional skills and increases children’s knowledge of good governance and their own role in the development of their village.
Citizen Service Centers: Trained by S M Sehgal Foundation in digital and life skills awareness in 2017, Inaam and Masnun from village Nawli decided to study further in this area and enrolled in a computer course in a nearby Industrial Training Institute. They each hoped that after learning the skill, they would be able to contribute to their family income, which was solely dependent on agriculture. The Citizen Service Centers (CSC) opened by Inaam and Masnun in their village are one-stop shops promoted under Digital India Mission for people to apply for government programs, seek redressal, and enable better access to the programs. Their initiative is much talked about in their village, and local youth consider them as role models. They now are acting as a link between villagers and government programs.

E-labour cards for family members

In the village of Barota, thirty-two students enrolled in the digital awareness center facilitated by S M Sehgal Foundation. Students learned about computers, life skills, government programs, and internet use. After learning about government programs, especially about labor cards, many students applied for e-labor cards for their family members at the Citizen Service Center.

Digital health resource centre

As part of the project “Swastha Aahaar–Swastha Parivar” supported by a CSR partner, which is implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, a Digital Health Resource Centre (DHRC) has been established in the gram panchayat building of Kalyanpur block, Bihar. This center is the hub of information and training on health and nutrition for villagers. It has IEC materials such as informative posters, leaflets, booklets, and a computer system, which are the sources for generating awareness on particular subjects like health, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, government schemes related to maternal and child healthcare, and scholarship opportunities for adolescent girls.

Conclusion

In the past few years, digital awareness has become vital to India’s economic growth and the promoting of social and economic equity among the diverse demographic landscape. It is fostering empowerment in rural India by enhancing inclusion and access to information and public services and overcoming the country’s infrastructure deficit. Digital awareness is the way forward to empower and help India realize the ambition of creating a just and equitable society. Leveraging the untapped strengths of the rural population, it has the potential to propel India to the next stage of inclusive development and growth. The vision of a new India can be realized through the “maximin” principle in letter and spirit.

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

ભારતમાં જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટના દર્શન, ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મના આગમનને કારણે સમાજ વ્યવસ્થામાં પરિવર્તન

- ઉત્તમ પરમાર  મારી કિશોર અવસ્થામાં કેટલાક ચિત્રો અને મૂર્તિઓએ હૃદયમાં એવું સ્થાન જમાવ્યું છે કે આજદિન પર્યંત  ઉત્તરોઉત્તર વિકસતું જ રહ્યું છે. પ્રેમ કરુણાના મૂર્તિમંત અવતાર  જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટને વધુસ્તંભે ચઢાવેલી મૂર્તિ  મારી કોઈપણ ધર્મ વિશેની સમજ નહોતી ત્યારથી મારા હૃદયમાં સ્થાપિત થયેલી છે. મારા ઘરની દિવાલ પર વધસ્તંભે ચઢેલા જીસસની પ્રતિમા જોઈને કોઈ મને પૂછી બેસતું કે તું ક્રિશ્ચન છે?

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने कुछ परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली: प्रमुख प्रस्थापनायें

- राणा सिंह   भारत में परजीवियों का एक विशाल समूह है जो बोलता है कि “सब कुछ माया है”,  लेकिन व्यवहार में यह समूह सारी जिंदगी इसी “माया” के पीछे पागल रहता है।  प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने इन परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली थी।

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।