Rural Technology Status
Technology has emerged as a crucial strategy variable for rapid socio-economic development in the rural areas. A close and continuous linkage is therefore essential between rural programs, modern scientific and technical development to ensure rural development.
Upto now, technology has be and large failed to improve the material prosperity and total quality if life of the people in rural areas. Apart from agriculture which has displayed remarkable achievements, other activities of importance for rural development such as basic infrastructure, industry, health education and cultural activities etc. have not developed to the extent and at the pace as one would have expected. The overall picture as it emerges could be even dismal, in rural areas.
While Government has launched several programs aimed at rural development and technology propagation, almost 33% of the population is still below the poverty line. Illiteracy in actual numbers have gone up substantially. Shortages of houses exceed the 20 million mark. 73 % of the rural people depend on wells for drinking water. Just about 3% of rural population have access to proper sanitation facilities.
The condition of rural infrastructure ranges from the sub-standard to the terrible. Almost one lakh villages are without power. Health facilities are inadequate. Just about 1.3 lakh public health and sub-centres exist for the entire rural population.
Just about one-third of the national income is based in rural areas as against three-fourth population red\siding there. There has been deterioration in per capita calories supply as percentage of the minimum requirements. Majority if villages are without accessible roads. Communication facilities have hardly reached 20% of the rural population and the list goes on.
Issues in Technology Dissemination
There have been several reasons responsible for this not too impressive picture.
One of the reasons is the pace of slow dissemination of technologies in rural areas. A critical appraisal of some of the key technologies and programs was carried out through case studies to identify the major problems in technology dissemination. The areas covered were bio-gas, hand pumps, wind mills, oil seeds, pottery, artisan based products, rural health delivery system, solar lighting system, drip irrigation and communication products. The findings reveal that the constraints to development are multidimensional. Major problems could be broadly grouped into four area, i.e. technology related, information and systems related, human resources related and organization related. The major observations under each of these four categories is tabulated below:
|1. Organization Related||2. HRD Related|
|1. Structural weakness in the govt. machinery.||
1. The prevalent formal education is not suitable for rural development requirements.
2. Inadequate arrangements to promote collaborative work among different agencies
2. Education offers little scope for motivating the rural people to change their attitudes and creating the necessary urge.
|3. Poor coordination at the district level.||
3. Poor training infrastructure in rural area
|4. Proliferation of development agencies.||
4. No comprehension training needs and expectations of beneficiaries.
|5. Compartmentalization & of fragmentation of functions||
5. Lack of continuity in training programmes,
|6. Overlapping of roles & responsibilities of various departments||
6. Inadequate feedback and linkages between S & T institutions, trainers & trainees.
|7. Lack of expertise in technologies at the district level and below.||
7. Lack of multipurpose orientation in training.
|8. Insufficient staffing at the grass root level especially in technical areas.||
8. Insufficient practical knowledge on the part of training faculty.
|9. Confusion on how bet to involve voluntary agencies.||
9. Diversity of languages, culture and physical environments compliance the task of HRD.
10. Sense of involvement of extension workers is lacking.
11. No link of performance with reward systems.
12. Psychological factors required by beneficiaries not taken into consideration.
13. Poor participation of potential in many schemes.
14. Voluntary agencies need to upgrade their professional skill.
|3. Technology Related||4. Information and Systems Related|
|1. Technology need assessment not based on local needs and social factors.||
1. Actions and decisions mostly based on information non-systematic assessment.
|2. Divergent views on the usefulness of technologies.||2. No scope for budgets for tools/equipments of management.|
|3. Difficulty in actively associating local community in various technologies.||3. Very minor role of planning in decision making systems at the district level and below.|
|4. Feasibility generally not worked out keeping the market viability in mind.||4. Very weak MIS at the district level for technology related projects.|
|5. Inability of the existing block development admn. to manage the introductions||5. Current systems more geared for record keeping technology rather than corrective actions.|
|6. Technologies have not been sufficiently demystified.||6. Poor information sharing among different agencies.|
|7. Many technologies are limited by physical resource availability.||7. Inadequate documentation & publication support.|
|8. Technology that fits well (certain group/region may be unsuitable for other groups/regions.)||8. Disorganized effort in communication of technological messages.|
|9. Insufficient capital.||9. Communication has by/and large failed to alter ingrained attitudes and values.|
|10. communication strategy rarely serve the interest odf target groups.|
|11. too much reliance placed by th government on its own set up for devising communication strategies and products.|
|12. absence of social marketing as a concept in developing communication strategies.|
|1. Large scale leakages & wastage of funds|
|2. Local organization and institutions not being properly used in delivering the inputs and services.|
For an effective delivery system to be established, it is important that all these issues are tackled in an integrated manner.