Smart Villages for Enabling Inclusive Growth at Grass-Roots Level in India

Smart Villages for Enabling Inclusive Growth at Grass-Roots Level in India

Meenakshi Piplani1, Tarun Kumar2

1M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India; 2Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

India is the second most populous country in the world. According to 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 villages. Clearly, providing access to electricity, safe drinking water, affordable health care and education to such a vast population is a huge challenge. The World Bank has pegged India as the world’s most un-electrified population. Similarly, in healthcare, rural areas are left out, with 75% of doctors in cities. Only 68.2% of households in India have access to safe drinking water which refers to the installed capacity and not average actual supply over a sustained period. Moreover, India is expected to have 40% of its population shifting to cities by 2030. This widespread migration has led to congestion in cities, lack of sufficient resources and dearth of infrastructure systems like transportation, water and sewage to support the rapid rise of population.

This paper examines smart technology that is relevant and required in rural Indian scenario by studying the needs of users in the absence of fundamental resources and facilities to formulate a Smart Village model. Furthermore, the paper explores supporting infrastructure that is needed to attain a sustainable smart village. A few villages in north India were studied and assessed on the basis of availability, cost and uniform access to facilities across the village. Also, a critical analysis of current government policies and prevalent research literature was conducted. The study proposes solutions to enhance agriculture using smart technology. Similarly, the model delves into smart solutions for education and health care based on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Smart home technologies can help in the inclusive growth of Indian society across socio-economic classes. Enabling the growth of smart villages and towns will lead to development and empowerment of the Indian people at the grass-roots level.