A small village in Kota district in Rajasthan has seen a sudden sprout of entrepreneurs and small businesses. In another one not far away, internet cafes have mushroomed, buzzing with students. An all-women, for-women microfinance non-profit is organizing its work, meetings and cash flows like a pro. An elderly farmer in another obscure village now gets to know the fair price of his crops at a click.
Connectivity is no longer just a means to keep in touch with those far away, it is a means to achieving development, to ensuring social impact. The urban ecosystem is a thriving example of the technology revolution, changing the way we live, we work and everything that we experience. Technology has catapulted development to the next level. IoT (Internet of Things) is making our lives easier, safer and more convenient. Smart cities are the future and the key to enabling a seamless network to provide optimal services and impacting lives.
The change in the rural landscape, although slower, is gradually picking pace. In the recent years, internet penetration has increased in the rural landscape, not at par with the urban counterparts. However, a recent report predicts that by 2020, nearly half of internet users will be rural. Interestingly, another report states that the smartphone connectivity and penetration in the rural pockets is in multiples of the TV and Cable/Satellite penetration. The access and more importantly, the need to connect via internet is only.
And this certainly is a trend going in the right direction. Internet connectivity has the power to boost development, empower communities and impact every single home in small towns and villages. It is perhaps the foundation which is slowly but steadily bringing to the villages and small towns, the next-generation of services such as tele-medicine, e-governance, aggrotech, e-education and fintech. Envisioning the dream of smart village with access to all information, quality education and online options, efficient healthcare systems, modern agricultural interventions is a not a far-fetched reality with connectivity.
The critical need to bridge the rural - urban digital divide is now being catered to like never before. It isn’t a surprise that the government in its vision has invested in Digital India and Digi Gaon and a plethora of initiatives that will catalyse this change. The challenges of infrastructure, affordable connectivity and services to the last mile are important to overcome, for the desired transformation.
LMES iConnectWe aims to facilitate this rural transformation - by bringing connectivity with affordable internet services, off the highways and cities, right to the last home even in a far-flung village. Currently working extensively to connecting every home in our operational districts in Rajasthan, we have witnessed the impact it has brought to communities. With high speed data in Rajasthan, we have brought in myriad opportunities for people in terms of entertainment, entrepreneurship, enterprises and even impacting education and healthcare. Our services have enabled small businesses to grow, public health services to be more efficient, online education and access to information to be easier, governance hotspots at choupals to empower villagers and connect them to social security schemes and bring knowledge to farmers on the modern techniques and ensure they are engaged in fair trade for their produce.
The change is certainly showing and will be furthered by strengthening the connectivity to create a seamless network and eco-system in rural and semi-urban areas, leading the way to smart villages and sustainable development.