“Smart villages” : Thinking beyond “smart cities”

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Jagruti Jain, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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It’s been a trend of talking about smart cities these days. The simple question that bothers me sometimes is whether the entire globe is to be urbanised overnight? The United Nations projects, about 64% of the developing world will be classified as urbanised by 2050. Still 36% of the population in developing countries will be living in rural areas.

When we talk about Indian villages, we see that some villages even lack the basic necessities, like electricity and safe water. There is no basic health insurance in case of serious illnesses. Rural health centres are either not easily reachable or they don’t have the facilities and medicines to treat the common diseases. Malnutrition is common in such areas. The roads in the interiors are difficult to walk on. The indebtedness and high cost of farming leads to many farmers committing suicides. The young men go to metro cities in search of jobs leading to the lack of manual labour in the villages.

We must not overlook our villages in order to let our cities survive. The people in rural areas must have access to reliable basic services. In the last two years, in several parts of the country, consecutive crop failures due to drought and unreasonable rain brought down the agricultural growth rate. The children are deprived of the primary education.

It is not that conditions in the cities are much better. Roads are crowded while the number of cars keeps growing. People lack the driving sense. The luxury has become a part of status symbol. People don’t hesitate in taking loans which they can’t pay to buy things they don’t need. People are moving towards western culture leaving aside the vast Indian culture.

Two extreme conditions may be seen when you move from a village to a city. So let’s step up to fill the gap. Let’s think about the “smart village”.

 

 

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