Smart cities – the way forward

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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

Tushant Juneja, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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As the country is hooked to the idea of smart cities, it is time we talk about the idea of smart villages.  Vast areas across India are dotted with villages that lack even the bare necessities, like electricity and safe water.The UN projects that, by 2050, about 64 per cent of the developing world will be classified as urbanised. Even so, 36 per cent of the population in the developing countries will still live in rural areas. India alone draws a gloomy picture.

According to the most recent socioeconomic and caste census data, a third of India’s rural households are landless and dependent on manual labour for an income. There is not even basic health insurance in case of serious illnesses. Rural health centres are not easily reachable, and even if they are, they don’t have either the facilities or the medicines to treat anything other than diarrhoea and bacterial infections. Malnutrition is widespread and one of India’s most enduring enigmas. Indebtedness and the high cost of farming is driving poor farmers to suicide.

In most villages, even manual labour is not available, as able-bodied young men have gone to places such as Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai in search of better jobs and income opportunities. Unless we create income opportunities in the villages, we will never be able to adequately serve the cities. At the same time there must be good communication and road facilities from the villages to the cities, without which essential supplies like fish, rice and vegetables would not reach the cities.

While it is true that India is urbanising at a faster rate than many other countries, it will not be fully urbanised overnight. The simple truth is we must continue to look after our villages well in order to let our cities survive.

Reference: http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/barun-roy-it-s-time-for-smart-villages-116022301101_1.html

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