According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians live in Total 640,867 different villages. These villages neither have permanent electricity nor do they have computers and smart phones. They simply cannot afford computers and smartphones because 30% Indian lives below poverty line and most of them are found in villages. They are uneducated and unlettered. They do not know whether they will get food tomorrow or not. They need good agriculture policies.
Government must start from building Infrastructure. First let there be electricity for more than 18 hours a day. Than bring network cables and mobile towers in all villages and connect them with internet, Schools, Banks, Hospitals and Roads. Once we have this basic infrastructure ready it will be the right time for starting “Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan”.
Will you give a windows software to someone who don’t have a computer? How about teaching villages about Mars mission or perhaps Artificial Intelligence? Will it work? I don’t think so. First make them literate. Improve standard of Government schools. Appoint more teachers. Don’t waste money in unproductive and unaccountable things like Digital Saksharta.
We have to be practical in our approach. We must move forward step by step. For that we need leaders with vision. Without that we cannot achieve any substantial growth. If we want to develop India we have to start developing villages. But villages are dependent on agriculture. So we have to provide latest technology related to agriculture like irrigation technology, information about fertilizers, high yielding seeds, information about soil, crop rotation, water harvesting, biogas and solar energy utilization.
Now question is how we develop villages? First, we have to complete electrification of villages. That means minimum 18 hours’ electricity in every village. To achieve this, we have to increase production of electricity. Which no government is doing. Till the last year officially there were villages without electricity. Now government has installed few solar panel here and there and claiming that all villages are electrified. Congratulations!
Second step must be quality education for all. We are really lacking in it. Government schools in villages are becoming worst place for education except few exceptions. In some primary schools there is only one teacher. Some don’t have basic facility like class rooms, fans, chair and toilets. Some students have to go more than 5 KM for attending school. A survey named Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), shows that even though the number of rural students attending schools is rising, but more than half of the students in fifth grade are unable to read a second grade text-book and are not able to solve simple mathematical problems. What is the benefit of such education where students are not learning anything? Should not it be government first responsibility to improve basic education and hire more teachers than to start digital education. If there are good schools, digital literacy can be made part of curriculum. But without basic quality education there is no meaning of digital elementary literacy.
Finally comes the IT (information technology). Technology is changing with such a rapid pace that what you learn today will not be useful after 5 years. There was a time when we used floppy disk. Now it’s no more in use. New computers do not even have slot to insert floppy. Now we use CD and DVD or USB. Every years Microsoft launch new version of Windows. Similarly, smart phones are changing rapidly. Ten years back there was no touch screen mobile phones. Apple Inc. changed everything with touch screen smartphones. If you are not educated and if you do not keep yourself updated, you cannot catchup with technology.
Everyone have dreams, only great Peoples have vision. Without long-term vision India will not become developed nation. A government that makes policies for billionaire businessman and change them according to expected elections result can never take India forward. We need a government with long term Vision.