For many years, people working to enhance information & telecommunication infrastructure and applications have referred to rural communities as being at the “last mile of connectivity.” But they are still on “first mile of connectivity.”
For a rural person, getting connected is a means for sharing the wide range of options available to urbanites, a means for accessing the services (health, education, information, etc.) that enable urban people to improve their lives.
The Dream of E-Village:
To convert a village into E-village(Electronic village) using ICT, first we have to think, how to motivate the villagers to use the services of ICT. If most of them are living in BPL(Below poverty Line), first approach should be the economic development providing employment or earning modes to villagers. An awareness of good use of IT is necessary and training to use IT and IT services is also required.
ICT(Interactive Computer Training) for rural development
Rural people constitute the greater part of the population of developing countries and often lack access to basic needs such as water, food, education, health care, sanitation and security. Knowledge and information are basic ingredients for facilitating rural development and bringing about social and economic change. According to Albert Water son, as quoted by Cohen (1987), the purpose of rural development is “to improve the standard of living of the rural population is multi-dimensional including agriculture, industry, and social facilities”. Rural communities require information about market prices and their competitors.
ICT have played a major role in diffusing information to rural communities, and have much more potential. There is need to connect rural communities, research and extension networks and provides access to the much needed knowledge, technology and services.
Although ICT(Interactive Computer Training) or the Internet is not only to solve rural development problems, it can open new communication channels that bring new knowledge and information resources to rural communities. Radio and TV for example has been very effective for disseminating information to all types of audiences, but broadcasting times are sometimes not appropriate for most people. But radio could be linked to Internet, and a few initiatives have been started on this concept, such as the project Internet Radio was started in Sri Lanka.
Some examples of areas where ICT could play a catalytic role in economic development for a village in rural area include:-
Farmers/Villagers could promote their products and handle simple transactions such as orders using ICT using PDA and Palmtop Computers (A low cost, battery powered small pc, having very simple user interface in local language), linked using Broadband radio link over the web. It has been shown to be cheaper and faster to trade online than on paper-based medium. E-commerce/V-commerce (Electronic/Voice-commerce) therefore, enable entrepreneurs to access global market information and open up new regional and global markets that fetch better prices and increase farmers’ earnings.
Benificious to rural communities
With new ICT, rural communities can acquire the capacity to improve their living conditions and become motivated through training and dialogue with others to a level where they make decisions for their own development. New ICT have the potential to penetrate under-serviced areas and enhance education through distance learning, facilitate development of relevant local content and faster delivery of information on technical assistance and basic human needs such as food, agriculture, health and water. Farmers can also interact with other farmers, their families, neighbors, suppliers, customers and intermediaries and this is a way of educating rural communities. The Internet can also enable the remotest village to access regular and reliable information from a global library (the web). Different media combinations may, however, be best in different cases – through radio, television, video cassettes, audio cassettes, video conferencing, CDs or the Internet.
Provides Employment Opportunities
ICT will create employment opportunities in rural areas by engaging subject matter specialists, information managers, translators and information technology technicians. Such centers help bridge the gap between urban and rural migration problem. The centers will also provide training and those trained may become small-scale entrepreneurs. That help in socio – economic development of a village. It is already suggested by NSSO(National Sample Survey Organization) to Govt. of India.
Improvements in Basic services like Education, Health, Agriculture
We should mobilize the power of the new media, like the Internet, as well as traditional media such as television, radio and the vernacular newspapers. The combination of the Broadband Internet and community (FM) radio can be particularly powerful to provide better education / awareness timely across to those who need them.
With training and technical help in local language, by using NLP Systems i.e local children, women and men will be able to get basic education that will help us to spread awareness of IT use and applications in rural areas.
Connectivity (Less cost options)
To get connected on High speed and in long range with in less cost the best option is use of radio frequency based broadband (Wifi), again it can be used easily with wireless devices like Mobile.
broadband system approach for remote and rural areas say our E-Village.
• Low price PC and Other Hardware in Local Language Interface.
• Information Technology awareness in rural areas with the help of students of near by technology institute as a part of their syllabus.
• Students of B.Tech,MCA,MBA in thousands of Institutes can be used as free available work force to train rural youth, to develop rural ICT infrastructure, low priced software’s and hardware for rural citizens.
There is a great need to link rural India with urban and ICT can help, where there is less than 10% of Indian population is now well connected with ICT framework, we have to think how the rest part mainly rural India could also obtain the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT). It will be a joint effort of Govt. of India, researchers, IT students, and state government. There is substantial demand for ICT services, primarily for e-Governance services, such as records like land records and birth certificates etc and entitlements like health information and social welfare services. However, existing services focus on email and Internet-based information and entertainment only, which have do not generally promote self-sufficiency. To accommodate ICT demand at the rural level in India.