All past governments promised to develop ideal villages in the country whereas this present government led by Mr. Narendra Modi went one step ahead to make smart village.  Gandhi Ji said, my idea of Village Swaraj is that it is a complete republic, independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity.   Our Minister Shri Narendra Modi  launched the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAANJHI) on 11th October, 2014 - Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Ji’s birth anniversary. The goal of the scheme is to develop three Adarsh Grams by MPs.   Inspired by the principles and values of Mahatma Gandhi, the Scheme places equal stress on nurturing values of national pride, patriotism, community spirit, self-confidence and on developing infrastructure.   

             All above mentioned projects/prorgammes focuses on overall development of a village but digitization is missing. Therefore, further interventions are required to make a village digital and this can be achieved through-

Internet facility in village panchayat, schools, colleges, community centres etc. and if possible wi fi facility to whole village.

Digital literacy programme

Accessible information centre for farmers. etc.

      Above all we used to define different form of villages as per our dream but what a villager dreams for his/her village is more important. So, let a village development plan be made by villagers only and we stand with them to make more number of Smart villages in the country.

          Yes, Digital Village is the next big plan likely to be announced by the central government under its Digital India initiative. The plan is aimed to convert selected villages to fully digitally connect, less-cash villages with all services delivered electronically. In the first phase, 100 villages will be chosen to roll out this plan. The plan was revealed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice while speaking at the Digital India Awards ceremony in New Delhi. However, he did not give out any further details.   It is also not known if the project will be spearheaded by the Ministry of IT or Ministry of Rural Development. Smart cities have been completely handled by the Ministry of Urban Development.

    The government recognized the efforts of ministries, states, government agencies and local bodies for their web presence, citizen engagement, mobile applications as well as their contribution of open datasets for India Data Portal.   Last year, Akodara, a village in Gujarat, not far from the state capital, was launched as a digital village. Much before the demonetization, this village was doing cashless transactions for everything. The village is fully wi-fi-enabled. ICICI Bank has enabled most of the cashless transactions.  It is not known if the new 100 Digital Villages too will be backed by commercial enterprises, such as banks. The announcement is likely to come in a few days.

Challenges in Rural Areas :

Inadequate Infrastructure: In adequate infrastructure means lack of  Smart phone penetration are available in rural areas, Lack of internet connectivity also be there, absence of   electricity and banking services are not adequate i.e. Point of sale, ATM, Cards etc. So inadequate information is the first major challenge which was faced by government at time of rural development.

Digital Illiteracy: People who lives in rural areas  (except for teenagers) are less aware of digital world and computer/smart phone. And also some teenagers also less aware of digital world because most of them busy in their work rather than taking education. Weaker economic conditions make them unaffordable.

Trust deficit:  Trust deficit is the most significant challenge which was faced by our government in rural areas. As per our Indian ideology most of the people who lives in India do not trust digital transaction as they do on cash. They always feel secured with cash transaction.

Nature of Rural economy:  Nature of our Indian Rural economy is mostly informal, so cash suits better than digital transaction. Informal nature  of rural economy provides sense of security among people in cash transaction. So this is also major challenge.  

            Rural areas has multiple challenge in its transition to cashless/less-cash economy, mutli-pronged approach needed to overcome these challenges. Integration of Rural economy with formal economy is long due, it is high time to do that. Recently promotion of cashless economy in a mid of demonetization drive with a motive of bring in transparency, curbing black money and illicit transaction is quite challenging for rural areas because of:- Lack of exposure, financial illiteracy and illiteracy restrict them to trust on virtual transactions because of insecurity of payment and cyber loot which is widely prevalent i.e. SBI cash cultural l barrier such as language, orthodox and primitive characteristics of society restrict them to adopt modern means economic transactions. Banking infrastructure in the form of banking correspondents is restricted to small towns rather than in Panchayat areas which hampers financial inclusion.

Steps to overcome these challenge:

Improvement in infrastructure: Government should plan for providing low cost Smartphone especially designed for rural areas with regional languages. Swift implementation of Bharat Net, ensured supply of electricity, better and cheap internet connectivity by creating hotspots and rationing of free data as proposed by TRAI on monthly basis, improvement in banking services especially online services. Reformation and better implementation of PURAs. Incentivizing the use of internet-recent 100MB free data- and Smartphone’s like the distribution of laptops. Round the clock connectivity and better availability of POS should be ensured through sound infrastructure for ICT under Bharat net.

Digital Literacy: Digital literacy is one of the biggest hurdle in transition towards cashless economy. Common Service Centre(CSC) under the aegis Digital India programme should be be fast tracked, e-education such as  computer education in schools promoted, Self Help Groups(SHGs) should be trained and encouraged to spread digital literacy. Also traning programs arranged to aware the advantages of digital economy. Promotion of Digital and financial literacy among rural people at panchayat level through NGOs, by forming local committees of educated residents and through a dedicated TV channel on the issue.

Trust building: Though trust building takes time, suitable and proper advertisement strategies and promotion of cashless economy can help. Incentives like "Lucky Grahak Yojana" and "Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana" are steps in right direction. Culturer barriers can be removed by providing multi lingual online payment platforms i.e. mobile apps. Last mile delivery of financial services should be ensured through payment banks and Banking correspondents.

Revamping of Rural economy: Rural economy should be formalized to the extent possible. This can be done by easy availability of loans in formal sector, incentives for adopting digital economy, digitization of land records, better implementation of JAM etc. Simplification of entire process is the need for rural areas. Much complex process will take away the interest of rural people.


            Welcome to Akodara, a fully digital village. If you wondered in January, during the high-profile launch of the Digital India initiative, what ‘digitizing’ rural India meant or would really look like, little Akodara represents a slice of the vision. The village of 1,200 people has been adopted by ICICI Bank, helped by the local administration, so that it can be showcased as an example of the bank’s vision of the digital future that awaits India’s hinterland. From the merely cosmetic, like embellishing the archway at the village entrance with the ICICI logo, to the very practical improvement of providing access to modern banking to the villagers, the bankers at ICICI have gone all out to showcase their vision in Akodara. If some of the interventions, such as installing CCTV cameras in the village anganwadi and in schools, seem a bit gimmicky, many others are useful and potentially revolutionary when imagined on a large scale — across whole districts and regions in the country.

             The first of such useful interventions is financial inclusion and access to modern banking. Almost every adult in Akodara now has a savings bank account with ICICI, which he or she can access through the local bank branch, or the village ATM, or through mobile phones via SMS. The villagers’ most important transactions — selling agri-produce at the local mandi or selling milk at the co-operative society — have been digitized and made cashless. The system has made them automatically less susceptible to corruption and fraud. Also, their accounts are linked to their Aadhar cards, which mean that government benefits are now transferred directly into their savings accounts. For the widows of Akodara, who had to earlier spend Rs. 70 to travel to the district headquarters to receive their monthly pension of Rs. 800, this direct transfer and easy access to their accounts makes for real and significant savings.

            The second advantage is in the area of education. “Earlier, teaching used to be between just the teacher and the student. Now we have a digital aid,” says Pranav Upadhyay, 32, high-school teacher in Akodara, before beginning his lecture on nanotechnology for Class 10 students. “Earlier when I used to talk about the universe to the students, it was just talk. Now they see it animated on the screen and it gets them interested and more engaged.” The digital aid that Mr. Upadhyay is referring to is an audio-visual device that integrates a projector and a computer. This brings to life lessons in science, chiefly through animation. In primary school, children use electronic tablets gifted by ICICI to learn Gujarati. Also, across all schools, a digital attendance system is being implemented that will inform parents, via SMS, whether their children have shown up at school or not. Apart from its practicality, this is also an important safety initiative.

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