Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said villages should be provided with technologies appropriate for their needs. He went on to add that the systems developed in big cities should not be dumped in rural areas. “The villages should become cradle of ideas and not their dumping ground. They should not be at the receiving end of concepts, technologies, methodologies formulated somewhere in the cities. They should rather develop technologies that are energy efficient and environment friendly,” the minister said.
Naidu was speaking at a workshop on ‘Frugal Innovations’ organised at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. He, however, said it is not that villages would consume technologies “produced only in villages” but the technology should be “as non-invasive as possible”. Observing that it might appear paradoxical for the Union Urban Development Minister to speak on rural development, he said in reality towns and villages impact each other greatly.
“Unless villages prosper, the nation cannot prosper,” he said. Naidu highlighted the importance of innovations that can make life easier. Thousands of scientific patents taken in the country might not be commercially viable, but some of them can make a difference to local village population where mass-production is not needed, he said. “That is why it is being called Frugal Innovations — simple, prudent and low key innovations — that can make a difference,” the Union Minister said.
The agriculture ministry scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi called ‘Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav’ (My village, My pride), focusses on DigiGaon under Digital India and the biotoilets developed by DRDO are some of the government initiatives aimed at development of rural areas in a big way, he said. Local communities should be involved and traditional knowledge harnessed to ensure that the technologies benefit the masses in a big way, he said.
“Often in the quest to improve the living standard in the rural area, we impose an unsuitable and non-sustainable model. The results can be disastrous. Every solution needs to be tailor made according to local conditions — geographic, economic and social,” he said. “India’s huge population living in rural areas calls for an improved and extensive use of rural technology. No nation can be great without innovations. It is innovations that increase productivity, makes people’s life easy and provides quality living,” Naidu added.