Thursday, April 25, 2013

Technology to change village life - The Hindu

Technology to change village life

TECHVIL, a technology village to improve the quality of life of people living below poverty line through science & technology interventions is being established under a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) initiative at Mandollagudem Gram Panchayat in Nalgonda district.

As many as 24 villages have been chosen for the 12th Five Year Plan to improve the quality of life of one million people by covering a population of 50,000 surrounding each village.

These villages were identified due to high proportion of families living below poverty line. CSIR-800 seeks to enhance the income levels and improve the quality of life of about 800 million people in various parts of the country through the entire duration of the programme.

CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) is setting up TECHVIL at Mandollagudem in Choutuppal mandal.

In each TECHVIL, a Grameen Vigyan Kutir (GVK) will be constructed to house need-based rural technologies for use by local villages to improve their livelihood. Around 50,000 people from the surrounding village panchayats would be benefited by the CSIR’s rural technologies, according to Mrinal K.Sen, Director, NGRI.

He said that water availability was a big issue in those villages and the potential for water-bearing zones in those places was being studied by NGRI.

Programme Coordinator for TECHVIL and senior scientist, NGRI, M.J. Nandan says that Mandollagudem TECHVIL Cluster was a drought-prone area and average rainfall was 620 mm. Besides severe water crisis, areas were also affected with fluoride problem. He said NGRI had already identified potential groundwater bearing zones in seven habitations around Mandollagudem and would undertake a survey to find similar zones in 18 other habitations in due course.

He said that NGRI had an expertise in the area of ground water exploration and would provide solutions to the cluster of villages surrounding Mandollagudem. Later, a ‘Needs Assessment Survey’ would be conducted to map the requirements of these villages and find technological solutions, he added.

Comment by Anumakonda Jagadeesh

This is nothing but REINVENTING THE WHEEL! 

During the period 1972-1979, rural technological development got a big push within the  CSIR because the government of the day was inclined to support initiatives for rural technology development. In quite a few CSIR laboratories rural development projects were identified and taken up. Internally, the leadership came mainly from the then DGCSIR (Director General – CSIR), Dr. Y. Nayadumma, who was keen to take up work on rural technologies. With his involvement the initiative taken on Karimnagar became a major programme for the CSIR system. 

The Karimnagar project was initiated in Andhra Pradesh in 1972 with the aim of taking science and technology to the people in an integrated manner to rural areas. The approach to technology implementation consisted of the identification of a number of schemes and proven technologies, which could help in socio-economic development of the participating community irrespective of their economic and social levels. For the CSIR system extension of the outcomes of the ongoing R&D work with the aim to field-test the pooled results of research was also an important motive. The emphasis was on selecting projects and providing S&T inputs based on for the following purposes survey of resources, establishment of industries and development of public utilities and implementing on priority the technologies for following purposes: the introduction of technologies for rural water supply and road construction rural development.

The origin of adoption of backward districts by CSIR was the brainchild of the then Director General of CSIR,Prof.Y.Nayudamma. It was a mixture of a few major trends of thinking: the Gandhian approach,the Chinese ideas of walking on two legs – the Chinese way of balancing pure science and applied technology – and the Russian ideas of Science City. The Experiment involved adoption of a backward district for changing the face of under developed areas through the application of science and technology. Nayudamma brought together eight National Laboratories under CSIR dealing with such diverse disciplines as physics, chemistry, geology, water, instrumentation,structural engineering and regional development for the project. The project was to be extended later to other districts. The project envisaged involvement of scientists in testing the soil of the farmer,purifying the drinking water,repairing and updating his instruments and implements, and to help improve the nutrition of his family. According to Dr. Nayudamma,” The show-how of the know-how developed through science and technology is important. Seeing is believing.It must be communicated in the language understood by the villager”.For reasons not known the change of Government at the Centre disbanded the programme.

Nayudamma’s dream of transforming the rural scene through science and technology remained unfulfilled. The experiment failed because no laboratory took up the concept seriously and because there was little synergy among the stakeholders. The scientists lacked commitment to implement the project.

In his inaugural address at the 93rd Indian Science Congress Association on 3rd January 2006,Our Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh paid rich tributes to Nayudamma. Referring to Karimnagar Experiment, he said,’ Dr.Nayudamma was among the first to urge scientists to step in and help in integrated rural development’. Dr.Manmohan Singh was aware that even a critical assessment of the project for future learning had not been taken up. Therefore he commented,’ It will be interesting to see what lessons were learnt by that experiment and how we can take forward that initiative’. It is a pity that 7 years have passed since the Prime Minister’s statement and there are no signs of any study on the subject. Will the CSIR seriously consider this.

Dr. A. Jagadeesh Nellore(AP), India

Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives

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