India, one of the most populated countries in the world, is a country that has benefited from the use of programs that are utilizing technology. Several programs have been implemented in the last decade that can serve as real examples of how technology is reducing poverty in India.
Reducing Poverty in India
Data from 2012 indicate that India contains the largest number of people living in poverty, at 270 million, with 80 percent of the poor living in rural areas. Most of these people living in rural areas rely on agriculture to make a living, and because men are leaving isolated villages to try and work in urban areas, women make up almost 50 percent of India’s self-employed farmers.
In 2016, the Prime Minister of India introduced a national policy aiming to double the farmers’ income by 2022. He advocated for a three-part strategy under which one-third of the farming sector should focus on traditional crops, such as paddy and sugarcane, one-third for poultry, beekeeping and fishery and one-third for planting trees to produce timber.
Crop Insurance Scheme
The Prime Minister also implemented a Crop Insurance Scheme to help farmers. They have to pay just 2 percent of the premium for kharif crop or those harvested in the summer season, and 1.5 percent for rabi, crops harvested in the spring, and the horticulture will be fixed at 5 percent. The balance premium will be paid by both the state and central government. India derives about 17 percent of its GDP from agriculture, and because crop output can change due to weather, this crop insurance scheme gives farmers a safety net.
Another use of the technology in reducing poverty in India is Nano Ganesh. This is a mobile-based remote controller that is used to control water pumps from a mobile phone with mobile signal connectivity at both ends. The app is used as an interface between the high voltage starters and the low voltage GSM modules, which allows for farmers to turn the water pumps on and off and to check how much power is available.
Farmers can also check the water levels in the storage tank as well. This app saves farmers from making the long trek to distant water pump sites and also saves them from waiting on site to switch the water pump off when irrigation is complete. Since the app was introduced in 2003, it has over 60,000 installations in India reaching 480,000 people living in rural areas.
National Identity Card
India’s national identity card project was established in India in 2009 and represent yet another successful step in reducing poverty in India through technology. The goal of the program is to issue an identity card to each of the country’s over 1.2 billion residents. The card contains a unique 12-digit number that is linked to each person’s fingerprint and iris scans. Eventually, the card is expected to improve India’s basic education and health systems. The card could help check attendance of students and teachers in rural schools as well as the presence of doctors in rural health centers. It is also intended to serve as the basis for building a complete health information system.
In addition, the ID card is said to be sufficient for opening a bank account. Currently, over 50 percent of India’s people currently do not have bank accounts, and 90 percent of the bank accounts that had been initiated about a decade ago under a policy of opening bank accounts for all people living in India are now either closed or unused.
India is the second most populated country in the world. Due to this reason, and the fact that a large percentage of the population lives in poverty, the country’s government must do everything it can to improve the situation and alleviate poverty. Technological improvements and their usage were out of great help in reducing poverty in India, and future steps should be also taken in this direction in order to improve the situation in the country.
– Casey Geier