Technology for rural people, scope to learn and earn :: By: Subhasis K. Chanda
India needs rural technology, for its vast rural communities and habitations- which may be homogenous in terms of socio-economic condition and heterogeneous in nature in respect of geographical position. For 70% of the total population of the country, easy and handy technological solutions may give respite from many hurdles prevailing in the daily life of the rural population. In adherence to the truth, country’s premier institution functioning for the welfare of the rural population the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad has established a Rural Technology Park (RTP) for research, development and training on the crux of technology useful only for rural population to improve their livelihood and quality of life.
The RTP, situated at the reddish mound of red soil inside the complex of NIRD at Rajendranagar, has housed hundreds of rural entrepreneurs with beautiful exhibition cum selling stalls. The Institute which has, in its fold, thousands of rural technology applications, currently, is focussing on the training programs for relevant and timely demand drives programs, such as preservation of foodstuff, improved honey bee rearing, low cost housing, cooking stove and solar energy programs etc.
In its preservation of foodstuff technology program, a private technology organisation, named, Tee Wave, has partnered with the NIRD for preserving vegetables, fruits and fish.
Under its application, unlike traditional motors and appliances which run on high electricity, the appliances run on very low power DC motors. Certainly, these are very useful in remote areas where availability of electricity is scarce.
Apart from its bee keeping and rearing, its most popular programs for the entrepreneurs is production of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides. This is fast finding popularity among the farmers from several states, said Mr. MohammedKhan, officer-in-charge of RTP. He said, emphasis is given on how to manufacture bio-inputs because sourcing inputs is a big problem for growers on time.
These apart, the institute conducts training program on neem based enterprises and vermi-composting for propagation of practice of organic farming and to help improving soil health.
The Institute is promoting the concept of harnessing solar energy for the rural areas at a big level having inducted innovative designs for lessening the cost of solar system. Solar street lights have become very popular in 100 villages adopted by the Institute across the country.
Faculties of RTP said, a solar street light earlier used to cost more than Rs.20,000, which is presently reduced to less than Rs.4,000.
Focusing on “Make in India” initiative, the institute has taken efforts to identify critical gaps and address them by enhancing the quality and marketability of the products having an eye on market demand. Mr. Khan said as the Indian market itself is so huge, rural producers can tap it and own income generating ventures. He held that accessing to technology applications and using them for communities could address the current unemployment problem too.
The NIRD under its Rural Technology Park institute has currently focussed on some basic disciplines like water, agriculture and allied activities, value addition in food processing, khadi, handlooms, handicrafts and cottage industries, rural housing, sanitation, energy and artisan based technologies. According to Mr Khan, any aspirant youth from across the country could apply for such training, provided with free of cost and further, the institute bears the cost of fooding, accommodation and transportation of the candidate after his arrival in Hyderabad. The institute also extends help to the successful candidates get assistance to assured credit from banks.
The RTP keeps abreast with the innovations and provide a platform for periodic exchange of ideas between KVIC, CSIR and ICAR technology generators and inventors, other scientific establishments, marketing agencies and financial institutions. It undertakes actual technology transfer on ground, which in turn is expected to have multiplier/satellite effect in selected villages through action research projects, pilot projects and through adopted villages. Further, it documents practical aspects of transfer of technology covering aspects like project costs, accessibility, acceptability, maintenance, profitability and marketing etc. NIRD’s rural technology park, is certainly a new torch bearer towards the path of inclusive development. The institute can be contacted accessing the web address: http://www.nird.org.in/RuralTechnologyPark.
Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author.
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