Rural Informatics and the Impact of Government Schemes on Rural India Assignment

Rural Informatics and the Impact of Government Schemes on Rural India Assignment Words: 8328

Rural Informatics in India ??? An Approach Paper 1. 0 Introduction “Just as the whole universe is contained in the Self, so is India contained in the villages”… This has been said by none other than Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation and the visionary architect of India’s Rural Development Programmes. The villages epitomize the soul of India. With more than 70% of the Indian population living in rural areas, rural India reflects the very essence of Indian culture and tradition. No wonder then that a holistic development of India as a Nation rests on a sustained and holistic development of rural India.

This write-up gives an overview of the Rural Development strategy adopted by Government of India and major e-governance initiatives that have been undertaken in the RD domain, in particular by NIC. 1. 1 The Indian Political Administration India with an area of 3. 28 million sq. Km is the seventh largest country in the world. In population, which has already crossed the billion mark, it is next only to China. The democratic set up combined with its billion population gives the country the unique status of being the largest democracy in the world.

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India is a Union of 28 States/Provinces and 7 Union Territories. Each state is further divided into districts. There are approximately 600 districts in the country. Each district is further divided into smaller administrative units called development Blocks or Talukas. There are about 6000 Blocks in the country. A block may have urban as well as rural areas. While the urban areas consist of towns, the rural areas consist of villages. There are more than 6,00,000 villages in India. There are three levels of government : the Central Government, the state or provincial government and the Local Government.

Each of these governments is elected by the people at the national, state and local level. The Central or Union Government, head-quartered at New Delhi has the mandate to administer subjects listed in the Central List. The Central List includes subjects that cut across state boundaries and cover the interests of the entire nation such as Defense, Foreign Affairs etc. The Central Government is also responsible for administering the 7 Union Territories. Each State or Province is administered by a State Government which is head-quartered at the state capital.

The state governments are empowered to take decisions on subjects listed in the state list. The state list includes subjects that cut across boundaries of local governments and also other state-level issues. The local government, also called local self-governing bodies or Panchayati Raj Institutions. There are two types of local government: urban local bodies and rural local bodies. The urban local bodies are local governments of urban areas and consist of municipalities and municipal corporations.

The rural local bodies consist of a three-tier Panchayat system : District Panchayat or Zilla Parishad, Block Panchayat and Village Panchayats. 2. 0 The Evolution of Rural Development in India The predominantly rural nature of India emphasizes the need to bring about a sustainable development of the rural areas and its people, if India is to attain any level of global eminence. However, despite best efforts, rural India has not kept pace with its urban counterpart. The reasons for this are many and include, besides others, historical as well as geographical marginalization.

Recognizing the importance of correcting these developmental imbalances and the need to accord due priority to development in rural areas, efforts were on, ever since Independence, to address the problems of rural development in a systematic way. The most important landmark in the history of Indian Rural Development efforts was the setting up of an organization called Community Projects Administration in March, 1952. The main thrust of the organization was to administer community development programmes at grass root level.

The organization and its programmes underwent many transformations. In an effort to accord higher priority to Rural Development, Department of Rural Development was constituted in October 1974 as a part of Ministry of Food and Agriculture. However, it was realized that for a sustainable development, Rural Development has to be more holistic and all encompassing, that includes not only agriculture development but also the economic betterment of the people, a better and higher quality of life and social transformation.

This realization led to several transformations to the originally conceived Department of Rural Development, in terms of mandate, status and name. Today, the erstwhile Department of Rural Development has been elevated to the status of a Ministry and has been re-named as Ministry of Rural Development. The high order of budgetary outlay for Rural Development Programmes (Rs. 13,670 crore in 2002-2003 as against Rs. 12,265 crore in 2001-2002 and Rs. 9,760 crore in 2000-2001) aptly demonstrates the importance that the Government has accorded to Rural Development. 2. Rural Development Administration : Institutional Framework 2. 1. 1 Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) – The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is the apex institution at the level of Central Government with the mandate to formulate policies and design & implement a number of Programmes that are aimed at bringing about a sustainable holistic development in rural areas. The thrust of these programmes is on all round economic and social transformation in rural areas, through a multi-pronged strategy, aiming in the process, to reach out to most disadvantaged sections of the society.

Besides MoRD, other Ministries and departments at Central Government level such as Education, Health, Agriculture, Small-Scale Industries etc. also contribute significantly to the Rural Development process in India. The Ministry of Rural Development works through its three Departments: 2. 1. 1. 1 Department of Rural Development (DRD) ??? DRD focuses on implementing schemes for poverty alleviation through the generation of self-employment and wage employment (generated through the creation of rural infrastructure such as schools, tree plantations etc. , provision of housing and minor irrigation assets to rural poor, rural roads etc. 2. 1. 1. 2 Department of Land Resources (DoLR) ??? DoLR focuses on the development of Land as a resource. In particular, it implements schemes to increase the biomass production by developing the wastelands of the country. Besides the development of Land, the Department also focuses on Land Reforms including the maintenance of Land Records. It also undertakes development of desert and drought prone areas of the country. 2. 1. 1. Department of Drinking Water Supply (DDWS) ??? Provision of Drinking Water Supply and extension of Sanitation facilities to rural poor are the main components of the activities of this Department. 2. 1. 2 State Rural Development Department ??? Besides the MoRD, every state or province also has a department called the State Rural Development Department (SRD). SRD has a mandate similar to that of the MoRD but confined to its own province. A state may launch its own RD programmes or jointly fund the programmes launched by MoRD, Government of India.

Like MoRD the roles of SRDs are restricted to the formulation of policies & programmes relating to Rural Development, providing funds for the programmes, and monitoring & evaluation of the programmes. 2. 1. 3 District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) ??? DRDA is the principal organ at the district level that is vested with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of various anti-poverty programmes. The DRDAs are expected to effectively coordinate with the line departments, the PRIs, the banks and other financial institutions, the NGOs, technical institutions etc. ith a view to gathering the support and resources required for poverty reduction effort in the district. More recently, the DRDA have been brought under the official purview of District or Zilla Panchayats (ZP). 2. 1. 4 Panchayati Raj Insitutions (PRIs) ??? As stated earlier, PRIs are the local self-governing bodies, consisting of elected representatives from rural areas. With more and more stress on Democratic Decentralization, PRIs are being assigned a crucial role in the implementation of most of the Rural Development programmes.

In particular, they are entrusted with responsibilities such as preparation of plans for economic and social development, implementation of schemes, identification of families Below Poverty Line (BPL), identification of beneficiaries under different schemes etc. to name a few. 2. 1. 5 Training Institutions ??? Keeping in mind the importance of training and research for the successful design and implementation of Rural Development programmes, training institutions have been created at the national and provincial levels.

The National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad is an autonomous organization under the aegis of the MoRD. It is the country’s apex body for undertaking training, research, action research and consultancy in rural development sector. While through its research activities, it attempts to assist the Ministry in policy formulation and choice of options in rural development, through training activities (trainings, workshops, seminars etc. ), it facilitates rural development efforts by improving the knowledge, skill and attitudes of RD functionaries.

Besides the above activities, NIRD is also involved in a number of other activities such as providing consultancy services, information dissemination through publications etc. In addition to NIRD, every province has a State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD) for imparting training to RD functionaries in the state and also to elected representatives of PRIs. 2. 1. 6 Other Allied Agencies ??? Besides the above institutions, which form the core of Rural Development, a number of other agencies also contribute towards rural development and poverty alleviation.

Primary among them is the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) with the mandate to promote voluntary action (through grass root voluntary organizations) and propagate appropriate rural technologies for the benefit of the rural masses. In addition, banks and other financial institutions, line departments, technical institutions etc. also supplement government’s efforts by extending their support in the form of finances, technical know-how etc. 2. 2 The Indian Rural Development Strategy Government of India follows a comprehensive and yet a fairly simply strategy to bring about development in rural areas.

There are three important components of the strategy: 2. 2. 1 Focus ??? The focus of rural development is all encompassing and not only individual, group or family oriented benefits but also community assets mainly in the form of infrastructure such as roads, drinking water facilities, schools etc. Thus, as on today, the beneficiaries of rural development schemes include individuals, groups (Self- Help Groups), families and village. Similarly, the benefits of rural development schemes have come to include financial benefits in the form of loans, subsidies etc. to individuals, groups etc. ut also assets to families (houses, sanitation facilities), villages (community assets such as drinking water and sanitation facilities, roads, schools etc. ). 2. 2. 2 Instrument ??? The instrument or the means used to bring about rural development is through programmes or schemes launched either at central, state or local government level. Some of the major schemes launched by MoRD and under implementation are: ??? Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) ??? During the lean agricultural season and also during the period of natural calamities such as drought, flood etc. many of the rural poor are left with no means of employment and subsistence. This scheme aims to provide gainful wage employment and food security to the rural poor, particularly during these periods, and in the process develop rural infrastructure that is in line with the people’s aspirations. ??? Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) ??? The existence of All-Weather roads in rural areas has been identified as a critical link for the progress of rural areas. Accordingly, this scheme envisages connecting every habitation through good All-Weather roads by the year 2007. Rural Housing ??? In an effort to achieve the goal of ‘Housing for All’, the Government of India has launched three major programmes: ? Indira Awaas Yojana, which is a flagship scheme of the Ministry to facilitate construction of houses for the rural poor ? Credit Cum Subsidy Scheme, where assistance is provided for housing for those who are not so poor ? Innovative Stream for Rural Housing, which is a strategy of the Ministry to transfer appropriate technologies, materials and designs so as to enable rural people to build cost-effective, environment friendly houses for themselves. Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), a self-employment programme where assistance is given to poor families living below poverty line for taking up self-employment. ??? Integrated Wastelands Development Programme ??? This programme seeks to develop wastelands in an integrated manner after taking into consideration the land capability and site conditions with due consideration to the needs of the local people. ??? Drought Prone Areas Programme ??? An area development programme, it attempts to tackle the special land-related problems faced by those fragile areas that are constantly affected by severe drought conditions. Desert Development Programme ??? The main objective of this programme is to mitigate the adverse impacts of desertification and combating desertification. ??? Hariyali ??? This is a new initiative where in all of the above ongoing area development programmes would be implemented through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). ??? Technology Development, Extension & Training (TDET) ??? The main objectives of the scheme is to (a) operationalise cost effective waste land development technologies, (b) disseminate research findings about such technologies, (c) evaluate impact for replication in other areas and (d) promote awareness about such technologies. Rural Water Supply Programme ??? In an attempt to provide sustained, safe and quality drinking water to rural habitations, the Government of India has launched the following schemes: ? Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) ??? The objectives of this programme are to ensure access to safe, sustained and quality drinking water to rural habitations. ? Swajaldhara ???This scheme is an attempt by the government to ensure community participation in all aspects including planning, implementation, operation and maintenance of drinking water assets so that long term sustainability of these assets are ensured.

In addition to the above programmes, the Ministry also undertakes the following activities on a regular basis: ??? Below Poverty Line (BPL) Survey ??? Periodically (almost every five years), the Ministry conducts a survey (100 %) of rural families to identify families living Below Poverty Line Survey (BPL). These families become potential beneficiaries of the multitude of schemes sponsored by the Government. ??? Habitation Survey ??? Periodically (every five years), the Ministry conducts the Habitation Survey (which is again hundred percent) to identify facilities (or the lack of it) for drinking water supply and sanitation in rural habitations.

Both surveys provide valuable input to the ? preparation of annual plans relating existing programmes ? formulation of new policies and/or programmes ? re-design of existing programmes ??? Land Survey and Settlement ??? Besides the above two surveys, state governments undertake land survey and settlement exercise periodically. The main focus of the survey is consolidation of fragmented land and land ceiling and surplus distribution. The main purpose of the survey is to optimize investment on land and also do away with any irregularities in land holdings resulting in a more productive and equitable distribution of land. . 2. 3 Implementation ??? The programmes or schemes launched by the governments at various need to be implemented at the grass root level. One important paradigm shift that has taken place in implementation strategy is the shift to decentralization. Earlier, the entire strategy from policy formulation, design of schemes to implementation was centrally administered (either at Government of India level or at state government level) with little or no participation from the rural people themselves.

However, with the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, there has been a paradigm shift in the strategy for Rural Development. The focus has now shifted to decentralization through speedy and effective devolution of financial and administrative powers to the locally elected bodies called Panchayati Raj Instituitions (PRIs). This paradigm shift in focus is due to the recognition by the government that the rural people are the best judge of their needs and aspirations and hence solutions to their problems must also emerge from the villages itself.

The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution provides for a three-tier structure for PRIs – Village Panchayat (Gram Sabha), Intermediate/Block Panchayat and District Panchayat. Also, the Village Panchayat has been given Constitutional status so that it is recognized as a general Assembly of villagers with regular elections to Panchayats every 5 years. In order to enable effective decentralization, the Ministry is vigorously pursuing with the State Governments to expedite the devolution of necessary administrative and financial powers to PRIs.

Today, PRIs are undertaking the implementation of many of the programmes sponsored by Government of India and State Governments. The entire implementation strategy is simplified and presented below. 1. Policy Formulation – Based on the needs and aspirations of the rural people, identified through various impact and need assessment studies, MoRD and SRDs formulate policies that favour rural development. 2. Programme Design – Programmes/schemes are designed by MoRD and SRDs with the aim to realize their respective policies.

Generally, the policies and programmes of SRDs attempt to fill the gap that may exist in MoRD’s policies and programmes and the state specific requirements. 3. Fund Allocation – Funds are allocated to each programme. In the case of MoRD sponsored programmes, funding may be either 100% from MoRD or it may be shared between MoRD and SRD according to a pre-specified ratio. In the case of SRD sponsored programmes, the funding is 100% from SRD budget. 4. Fund Disbursement – Funds are disbursed (as per the installement plan of the scheme) to the programme co-ordinating agency. In most of the cases, DRDA is the co-ordinating agency.

DRDAs co-ordinate with the implementing agencies as well as with other allied agencies such as banks, line departments, technical institutions to ensure that the programme is implemented successfully. 5. Programme Implementation – PRIs and NGOs which are usually the implementation agencies at the grassroots level receive funds from their respective DRDAs and implement the programmes as per the guidelines. 6. Monitoring & Evaluation – Both MoRD and SRD place special emphasis on Monitoring and evaluation of the programmes in view of the substantial allocation of funds to these development programmes.

A comprehensive multi-level, multi-tool system of monitoring and evaluation is adopted. The major ones are as follows: a. Periodical Progress Reports ??? The implementing agencies periodically submit progress reports on the physical and financial performance of the programmes to DRDAs/SRDs. In the case of MoRD sponsored programmes, the SRDs consolidate the reports received from all districts and send them to MORD. b. Utilization Certificates/Audit Reports ??? Funds for subsequent installments are released only after receiving authentic utilization certificates from DRDAs/SRDs. . Concurrent Evaluation ??? Concurrent Evaluation studies of the programmes are undertaken from time to time through independent Research Institutions/Organizations. d. Impact Assessment Studies ??? Village based Impact Assessment Studies are taken up to assess the collective impact of all the programmes implemented in a village. Monitoring and Evaluation reports provide valuable inputs to the government for re-designing the existing programmes or formulate new policies or design new programmes.

As may be seen from the above description, the Rural Development strategy adopted by Government of India is a cycle that continuously learns, innovates, implements, evaluates and learns and the cycle goes on. Though attempts are made to reduce the design-reality gap, emerging technologies and changing market needs continuously present new employment opportunities in new areas such as ICT enabled services, Bio-Technology Services, Flora and fauna etc. 3. 0 Information Plan for Rural Development The successful implementation of the development strategy described above demands certain information requirements.

The development strategy also clearly specifies where the required information will be generated and who will be target consumers of such information. The information generated varies in terms of type of information, level of its detail, the source at which it is generated and the target where the information will eventually be consumed. The various types of information that is generated, the source that generates the information and the target group that consumes the information are given in the Table 1. 0. It may be noted here that Table 1. details only those information that are generated and consumed by RD agencies. |Information |Source |Target Consumers | |Policy & Programme Guidelines |MoRD, SRDs |DRDAs, PRIs, NGOs, Rural Beneficiaries | | | |(citizens, groups, families, villages | | | |etc. , other interest groups such as | | | |researchers, academicians, media etc. | |Fund Allocation Details |MoRD, SRDs, DRDAs/District Panchayats, |SRDs, DRDAs, PRIs, NGOs, Rural | | |Block Panchayats, Donor Agencies |Beneficiaries (citizens, groups, families, | | | |villages etc. , other interest groups such | | | |as researchers, academicians, media etc. | |Fund Disbursement Details |MoRD, SRDs, DRDAs, District Panchayats, |SRDs, DRDAs, PRIs, NGOs, Rural | | |Block Panchayats, NGOs, VOs |Beneficiaries (citizens, groups, families, | | | |villages etc. , other interest groups such | | | |as researchers, academicians, media etc. | |Details of beneficiaries (individuals, |Block Panchayat, Village Panchayat, State |Rural Beneficiaries | |families, groups, village etc. selected, |Government agency at village level such as | | |benefits (loan/subsidy, houses, drinking |PHEDs (Public Health Engineering | | |water & sanitation facilities, roads |Departments), BDOs (Block Development | | |schools etc. ) given |Officers ??? State Government Functionary at | | | |block level) etc. | |Utilization Certificates, |Village Panchayat, Block Panchayat, State |Rural Beneficiaries, Block Panchayat, | |Progress/Implementation details on schemes |Government agency at village level such as |District Panchayat, DRDAs, SRDs, MoRD, | |(no. of beneficiaries assisted, no. of |PHEDs, BDOs etc. |other interest groups such as researchers, | |benefits given, expenditure incurred etc. ) | |academicians, media etc. |Annual Plans |Village Panchayats, Block Panchayats, |Block Panchayat, District Panchayat/DRDAs, | | |PHEDs, BDOs etc. |SRDs, MoRD etc. | |Information from Concurrent Evaluation and |Independent Research Organizations |MoRD, SRDs, NIRD, SIRDs, other interest | |Impact Assessment Studies | |groups such as researchers, academicians, | | | |media etc. |Various Survey data such as BPL Survey, | | | |Habitation Survey etc. | | | Table 1. 0 Fig. 1. 0 Typical flow of information within the RD sector of Government of India.

Besides the information flow among RD agencies, information exchange also takes place between ??? RD agencies and other non-RD agencies such as Planning Commission, Finance Department, Personnel Department, Space Research/remote sensing agencies, Financial Institutions, Social Forestry Department, Public Works Department, Education department, health department, Backward Community corporations such as SC-ST corporations, handicrafts marketing agencies etc. of central and state governments. The interaction with non-RD agencies may take place at any level : MoRD, SRD, or PRI level. RD agencies and the agency employees which mainly relate to employee leave, training, tours and travels, advances etc. The Information Plan described above, has emerged from an unambiguous articulation of the development strategy detailed earlier. With the advent of the new ICTs viz. , the computers and the Internet, a new set of possibilities have opened up. In particular, the application of ICTs to achieve the goal of good governance or what is now well known as e-governance is achieving tremendous importance in the eyes of all stakeholders: the government, citizens and businesses. . ICTs in Rural Development Domain As far as Indian RD domain is concerned, ICTs had made in-roads into Indian RD domain as early as 1986 when the Computerized Rural Information Systems Project (CRISP) was launched in 1986 by MoRD. Under this project, every district in the country was provided with computers and a software called CRISP (no w re-named RuralSoft) to help DRDAs manage MoRD’s programmes more efficiently. The RD domain has come a long way now both in terms of ICT infrastructure as well as Information systems.

In spite of the promising growth in infrastructure and information systems, ICT induction into RD domain has been more or less unorganized. A more planned approach with a clear cut vision of the ultimate goal is the need of the hour. The following sections provide an overview of the prevailing scenario of ICT diffusion in RD domain as well as the envisaged plan for future. The overview has been divided into three major sections: ??? ICT Infrastructure ??? ICT-based Information Systems (IS) ??? ICT capacity building . 1 ICT Infrastructure in RD Domain 4. 1. 1 Current Scenario ??? The prevailing ICT Infrastructure scenario in the context of RD domain is detailed below: |RD Agency |Power |Internet Connectivity |Computing Infrastructure |Intranet | | | | |(Computers, printers | | | | | |etc. | | |MoRD |Fully Available |Available at all |Available to all |All computers are connected | | | |locations where |officials upto the level |in an Intranet | | | |computers are installed |of the lowest ranking | | | | | |officer | | |SRDs |Fully Available |Available at least to |Available to at least |Most of the SRDs do not have| | | |one computer (invariably|senior officials in |an intranet | | | |SRD server) in all |almost all states | | | | |states | | | |District Panchayat/DRDA |The power situation is |The connectivity status |Computers are available |No intranets in District | | |poor in some of the |is not uniform in all |at least as part of a |Panchayats/DRDAs | | |districts of the |DRDAs of all states. |computer centre. | | |country; however, in | |Computers are not | | | |majority of cases, the | |accessible to all | | | |power situation is | |officials. | | | |reasonably good | | | | |Block Panchayat/BDO |The power situation in |Internet connectivity is|Most of the blocks do not|Not Available. | | |majority of block |not available is most of|have computers.

Where | | | |offices is poor. The |the block offices. |available, they may be | | | |situation also varies | |restricted to one or two. | | | |from state to state. | | | | |Village Panchayat |Very poor in most of |Not available. |No computers. |Not available. | | |the villages across the| | | | | |country. | | | |NIRD |Good |Available at the desk of|Available with a number |Not known. | | | |senior officials |of officials | | |SIRDs |Good |Available at the desk of|Available with senior |Not known. | | | |senior officials |officials. | | |CAPART |Good |Available at the |Available with senior |Available. | | |computer centre as well |officials | | | | |as at the desk of senior| | | | | |officials | | | 4. 1. 2 ICT Infrastructure envisioned for RD Domain Based on an understanding of the information requirements (type of information, producers & consumers of information, periodicity of generation & consumption etc. ) described above, a vision of the kind of ICT infrastructure that should be available in the entire RD domain is conceived below. It goes without saying that a well-planned strategy would need to be adopted to realize the vision. ICT Infrastructure Plan Component |Description | |Desktop computers |To made available in every official desk where information is generated or | | |consumed. | |Department/Agency Intranet |Every department/agency to have a secure intranet. Access to all Information | | |Systems needed by employees to carry out the business mandate of the department | | |will be accessed through the intranet. The Internet will also be accessed only | | |through the organization-wide Intranet. |RDNET |A secure extranet that connects intranets of all agencies so as to enable secure | | |exchange of information and transactions (financial as well as non-financial). | | |The RDNET will be a high-speed, broadband network with support for audio, video | | |and data. | |Department/Agency level Policy Infrastructure |Every department to have policies in place for smooth adoption of ICTs in the | | |work environment.

The policies may relate to various aspects such as process | | |re-engineering, change management, standards (data, metadata, information | | |exchange, interoperability, technology, security) etc. | |Policy Infrastructure for the entire RD Domain |Besides policy infrastructure for each department/agency, policies would also be | | |required to ensure smooth sharing of information among departments. In | | |particular, domain-wide policies would be required to establish domain ontology, | | |domain-specific standards for data, metadata, information exchange, | | |interoperability etc.

This is important, mainly at points of information | | |exchange. | |Department/Agency level Security Infrastructure |This is required to ensure infrastructure security, information security, | | |application-level security etc. | |e-Mail services |To all employees of the departments/agencies who either generate or consume | | |information. | |Video Conferencing facility |To all departments/agencies. A least, the facility should be within easy reach of| | |the department/agency. |Digital Certificates |To all employees of the departments/agencies who either generate or consume | | |information to enable them to undertake legal electronic exchange of information | | |while interacting with people within the same and/or different | | |departments/agencies as well as with citizens and businesses | 4. 2 Information Systems in RD Domain 4. 2. 1 Current Scenario Over the past few years, a number of information systems have been developed and made operational in the RD domain.

Majority of these solutions have been developed by NIC. Some of these major solutions that are in use in various departments/agencies are listed below. The list only describes systems developed by NIC (except PIMS of CAPART and OMMS for PMGSY); others have not been included due to lack of information about them. |RuralInformatics Portal (http://ruralinformatics. nic. in) | |The portal envisions sharing the rural informatics experiences with all those who are involved in conceptualizing, planning, | |architecting, developing, deploying, managing and using rural informatics applications.

The target audience includes the rural | |development officials in the ministry, state RDs and DRDAs, who are the sponsors and consumers of the rural informatics | |applications. It also caters to our peers in NIC who are responsible for designing, developing and implementing rural informatics | |solutions at headquarters, state and district units of NIC. A third section of the audience who would be benefited by Insights | |include all those who wish to gain from the computerization experiences of a domain ??? rural development – that exhibits unique | |characteristics and targets the upliftment of a vast majority of Indian population. |The portal of MoRD (http://www. rural. nic. in) | |This is a single point entry to websites of Department/ organizations under Ministry of Rural development. It provides access to | |websites of all the three departments of Ministry of Rural Development, State Rural Development Departments, DRDAs, NIRD, CAPART, | |SIRDs and International organizations working in the area of Rural Development. All government information relating to Rural | |Development is available from this site. The site is used by general public, business, employees and other Government departments. |Department web sites | |Every department of MoRD has a web site of its own: | |http://drd. nic. in (Department of Rural Development) | |http://dolr. nic. in (Department of Land Resources) | |http://ddws. nic. in (Department of Drinking Water Supply) | | | |These department web sites give information about the department, its organogram with name, designation, e-mail address, telephone | |etc. f senior officials, the programmes sponsored by the departments, scheme guidelines, financial and physical performance | |reports, evaluation/impact studies undertaken by the department, tender notices, annual reports etc. The web sites have enhanced | |the transparency in the working of the departments to a great extent. Further, they have made it easier for common man to access RD| |related information as well as officials more easily. The web sites are open to the general public. | | | |Besides MoRD’s Department web sites, many of the SRDs and a few of the DRDAs have also developed their own web sites, all of which | |can be accessed through the MoRD portal. | |DRDA Portals (http://enrich. nic. in/drda. tm) | |Recently, MoRD issued directions to all SRDs in the country asking them to direct their respective DRDAs to create their portals. | |However, there are many issues associated with this exercise: | |There are more than 550 DRDAs in the country turning it into a massive exercise. | |There is lot of information that is common among all DRDAs of a state. Much of the information that a DRDA would share with the | |public is received from SRD & MoRD (eg. , guidelines etc. ) | |DRDAs within a state would be using the same language. | |It would be desirable to share information among DRDAs of a state. |DRDAs invariably do not have skilled man power to manage the day-to-day maintenance of the portal. | |Keeping all these issues in mind, it was decided to use NIC’s dynamic portal generator framework eNRICH to generate a dynamic, | |collaborative and interactive portal to publish the information and services relevant to the rural population. The portal allows | |for collaborative publishing of information by DRDA, MoRD and SRD. It also encourages rural people to participate in sharing their | |experiences with the government and also interact with government officials. Many of the states are already in the process of | |customizing the portal to capture the state-specific requirements. |Ministry’s Intranet Site “Daily” | |”Daily ” is an intranet site of the Department of Rural Development, promoting G2E governance within the Ministry. It provides an | |easy, efficient and one-stop access to all information & services required by the employees to carry out their daily activities. | |All services required for day-to-day work are available on the site. The Intranet site has the following main categories of | |information. | |E-Services : contains latest news about the Ministry, downloadable forms, facility to lodge grievances, telephone directory, | |discussion forums etc. | |Knowledge Management : This section has specific software for particular division/section/office for online monitoring of : | |VIP Diary – VIP references / Parliament Assurance. |Area officer’s Visit – Issues raised by people during the visit of Area Officer | |PMGSY Monitor’s Management – Human Resource management software to decide the place of visit for the monitors appointed for PMGSY | |scheme | |Grant Release System – A package by which it is possible to know the expenditure of the Ministry at the end of the day | |Program status report – Physical/Financial Performance of the various schemes of the Ministry | |TSC online monitoring – Performance of total sanitation campaign programme | |Swajaldhara – Performance of Swajaldhara Scheme | |Circulars/Notices of the Ministry – Authorised users can upload the circulars and notifications for everyone to view. Circulars | |will get deleted automatically after one month | |Events :

Information about the upcoming events related to the Ministry | |Administration : This section provide links to various software like payroll, Inventory control system, Personal profile of the | |employee etc. | |BPL2002 computerisation – The section has data entry software for BPL2002 computerisation and its manual. The software can be | |downloaded from this location and can be used. | |Automation of Ministry’s financial processes | |This solution facilitates online submission of proposals, concurrence, sanction and release of funds. This automation solution has | |helped the Ministry in reconciliation of funds and resolved the problems of over sanctioning. The solution enables the Ministry to | |know its expenditure details at any point of time. |Monitoring software to monitor the physical & financial progress of DDWS schemes | |This software, developed for DDWS, enables the implementing agencies to directly enter the physical and financial progress details | |of various schemes sponsored by the Department. The software has helped in improving the efficiency and speed in sharing of | |information among implementing agencies and the Department and has also brought about transparency in the working of the | |department. | |RuralSoft (http://ruralsoft. nic. in) | |RuralSoft is a solution that helps in capturing monthly progress of various poverty alleviation schemes sponsored by MoRD and SRDs. |RuralSoft is, in fact, an evolved version of what was popularly known as CRISP software, undertaken under the Computerized Rural | |Information Systems Project (CRISP), launched by MORD, as early as 1986. The aim of this programme was to facilitate the monitoring| |and planning exercises of DRDAs, SRDs and the MORD in the area of poverty alleviation. The software was designed and developed by | |NIC and distributed to all SRDs. Since then, the software has responded to many changes in the domain as well as technology. It | |finally evolved to what is today known as RuralSoft. | | | |RuralSoft enables data to be captures either at DRDA level or Block level, depending on the availability of computing and | |communication infrastructure at these levels.

All the monitoring reports are available over the web for all the monitoring agencies| |as well as for the general public. The software is implemented in 14 states of the country. For more details, pl. visit | |http://ruralsoft. nic. in. The software has helped in providing timely access to progress of poverty alleviation schemes. | |PriaSoft (http://priasoft. nic. in) | |This software solution helps in monitoring the accounts of Panchayati Raj Institutions by State RD/MoRD thereby bringing about | |bringing about transparency in Panchayati Raj Accounting.

The receipts/expenditure details are available on the web for all, | |including village citizens to see. The software provides support for local language. | |BPL Survey Computerization | |BPL survey is conducted every five years to capture the information regarding families below poverty line. The survey is conducted | |as per directions from the department. The survey data is used by planners in MoRD and SRD, by citizens (particularly, the rural | |poor) to see if they are part of the BPL list and hence eligible for various benefits offered by the government and by many other | |departments of the Central and State Government. |Habitation Survey Computerization | |Habitation survey is being conducted every five years to capture the information regarding the various potable water supply sources| |across the country at village level as per direction from the department. The survey data captured through the software is used by | |the planners in Government to identify facilities required by habitations. | |Land Survey (Cadastral Survey) Computerization | |Isolated attempts have been made to computerize Land Survey (or Cadastral survey) data in three states in the country.

The main | |purpose of such attempts have been to explore the current technologies as well as assess the requirements of technologies for such | |attempts. | |Rural Bazar (http://ruralbazar. nic. in) | |Under the self-employment programme (SGSY) sponsored by MoRD, a number of products are produced by rural poor and artisans. | |RuralBazar is an e-commrce solution developed by NIC to address the marketing needs of these rural producers. The software | |provides provision for simple showcasing of the products, off-line payment as well as on-line payment. States invariably begin with| |showcasing, then move on to off-line payment and finally adopt the full blown online transaction.

The software has been implemented| |in many of the states of the country. | |eNRICH (http://enrich. nic. in) | |eNRICH is a community software solution framework to dynamically generate community portals for rural communities. The software | |provides a simple and easy-to-use browser based interface for rural people to access information residing locally or on the web and| |also to communicate with one another. The software is multi-lingual and supports multiple media. The software has evolved into a | |collaborative community solution framework.

The software has been successfully implemented in the ICT for Poverty Reduction (ictPR)| |Project sites of UNESCO (five in India and one each in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). The software was further evolved | |into a community solution framework to generate dynamic community portals for 487 Block-level communities in the 8 North-Eastern | |states of India under the Community Information Centre Project of NIC. | |OMMS Project for implementing PMGSY scheme | |Online Management & Monitoring System (OMMS) enables management & monitoring of the PMGSY scheme launched by MoRD, GOI for the | |creation & development of Rural Road infrastructure. |Project Information Monitoring System (PIMS), CAPART | |The software manages information related to projects undertaken by NGOs. The main focus of the project is to enable quicker | |submission, scrutiny and approval of proposals submitted by NGOs. The software maintains a distributed database in 9 regional | |centres of CAPART which are in turn linked to the main NGO database at CAPART Hqrs. | |LEARNINGNET, NIRD | |The VCs in NIRD and SIRDs are being connected over the Internet to enable sharing of knowledge and know-how. The staff of MoRD as | |well as SRDs can also avail of these facilities provided they have access to a VC facility. |Land Records Computerization | |Land is an important resource, particularly in rural areas and correct and timely information about the land, its owner and other | |details can help resolve many a dispute. This is an important project undertaken by the Department of Land Resources. Efforts in | |this direction have payed off handsomely. Certificate of Ownership and other land details are being distributed to land owners in | |1900 Tehsils. Ownership changes, Mutation Workflow to effect updation of land records is operational in 16 states. | | | |Latest technology like Total Station, Aerial Photography, GPS etc. are being used to survey the areas like North-Eastern states | |where no land records exist.

Further, Cadastral maps are being integrated with attribute data for complete Land Information System | |solution. | 4. 2. 2 Information Systems envisioned for RD Domain As may be expected and suitably justified by the prevailing scenario outlined above, ICT usage is more prevalent in the Departments of Central Government than in Provincial Governments. The diffusion of ICTs is much slower at district level and almost nil in the PRIs where most of the action takes place. The reasons for this trend are not difficult to fathom. The poor infrastructure, poor diffusion of ICT awareness and capabilities and lack of support for local language have been the main reasons for this.

The poor intake of ICTs, particularly, nearer to the grass root level, however, should not preclude us from envisioning a plan for Information Systems for the future. Suggested below is a vision of the kind of IS that should be in place in the RD domain: ??? Process Re-engineering of RD processes in the light of the capabilities offered by ICTs ??? So far, no serious re-engineering efforts have gone into the preparation of information Systems that are in use within the RD domain. The maturity attained in ICTs as well as in the understanding of their capabilities must now be exploited to design more efficient IS. The processes that would need to be re-engineered would include both within a department as well as those that transcend department boundaries. Integrated Service Delivery – As of today, anybody seeking to get any information about the domain will need to visit at least as many web sites as there are agencies in the sector. There is a need to evolve a single one-stop vortal for the entire RD sector that delivers both information as well as services in an integrated manner. ??? Seamless Integration of IS ??? As can be observed from the above discussion, the present IS are stand-alone systems with no sharing of information between or among them. This is true irrespective of whether the IS that need to be integrated are within a department or cross department/agency boundaries. To achieve the level of Integrated Service Delivery, integration among Information Systems is a pre-requisite.

It goes without saying that such seamless interoperability among IS assumes that necessary data, technology and security standards are in place. ??? Data Warehousing & Mining ??? A look at the Information requirements at each level and the information flow across levels shows a pattern. While information that flows from top (fund sanction, allocation and disbursement details) is split up to generate information for lower levels, information that flows from grass root level (such as expenditure details, benefits details, beneficiary details etc. ) is consolidates to generate information for higher levels. This pattern makes the entire vertical domain of RD an ideal candidate for development of data warehousing and data mining applications. Integration of GIS with RD IS ??? The spatial data, once made available up to village level, can provide a tremendous boost to planning and monitoring activities in the RD sector. Spatial data can be integrated with non-spatial data such as poverty incidence, infrastructure (road, drinking water facilities, schools, primary health centres etc. ) availability, land records, resource availability etc. ??? Integration of RD IS with Remote Sensing Applications – Remote Sensing can be used to great advantage for rural development. Integrating RD Information Systems such as watershed management with Remote Sensing Applications can go a long way in improving the efficacy of such programmes. Knowledge Management System for RD Domain ??? NIRD and SIRDs are already playing a very important role in training, research and knowledge dissemination. These institutions can play a more proactive role in managing knowledge for the RD sector by exploiting the potentials of ICTs. A distributed, web-based knowledge management solution may be created for the entire RD sector. Each state may have its own knowledge hub maintained by the SIRD. These state-specific hubs may be connected into a nation-wide knowledge network managed by NIRD at the national level. 4. 3 Capacity Building ICTs, being relatively new technologies, special efforts are required to building awareness and capacity.

However, the capacity building exercise has been more or less sporadic (as and when need arises) and unorganized resulting in slower diffusion of ICTs in the sector. Capacity building is closely intertwined with the opportunity to use the ICTs ??? an employee needs to be trained before he starts applying his skills in the official set up; at the same time, a trained employee is likely to lose the acquired skill if he/she does not get an opportunity to use it in the official set up. This necessitates that an organization’s capacity building programme be closely linked to ICT Infrastructure and Information Systems development programme. An important stakeholder in the RD Domain is the rural citizen.

Indian rural citizens, in particular, carry a special profile characterized by their physical remoteness, poor literacy and lack of knowledge of English. If the benefits of ICT diffusion in the RD sector has to reach the rural people, then special efforts will have to be made to build awareness and capacity among the rural populace. Given below is the current scenario in RD departments vis-a-vis the employees’ capacity to use ICTs effectively. 4. 3. 1 Current Scenario |RD Department/Agency |Status | |MoRD |Basic awareness about computers and the internet has been imparted up to clerical level. | |Staff is trained on using Office Suite applications and Internet. Wherever required, | | |staff has been trained to use ICT applications that fall within their official mandate. | |SRDs |Computer awareness and skill in using computers and the Internet is good at senior level. | | |The knowledge and understanding is poorer at lower levels. | |District Panchayat/DRDAs |Computer awareness and skill in using computers and the Internet is good at senior level. | | |The knowledge and understanding is poorer at lower levels. |Block Panchayats |Computer awareness and skill in using computers and the Internet is practically nil even | | |among senior functionaries. | |Village Panchayats |Computer awareness and skill in using computers and the Internet is practically nil even | | |among senior functionaries. | |NIRD/SIRDs |Computer awareness and skill in using computers and the Internet is good even among lower| | |level staff in NIRD. The situation in all SIRDs is not the same; the situation is more | | |promising in SIRDs which have relatively better ICT infrastructure. | 5. 0 NIC’s role in Indian Rural Informatics Development

National Informatics Centre (NIC) is a premiere S&T organisation of the Government of India in the field of Informatics Services and Information Technology (IT) applications, and has been instrumental in steering Information and Comunication Technology (ICT) applications in Government Departments at Central, State and Districts in government services, wider transparency in government functions, and improvement in decentralised planning and management. To facilitate this, NIC has established a nationwide ICT Network ??? NICNET ??? with gateway nodes in Central Government Departments, 35 State/UT Secretariats, and in almost all 603 District Collectorates, for IT services.

The Government has designated the nation-wide Computer-Communication Network, NICNET, as the Government Network. NIC has been associated with Indian Rural Development sector for almost two decades now. In fact, in the first IT initiative in the domain, viz. , the Computerized Rural Information Systems Project (CRISP) , NIC played a very important role as an IT consultant and solution provider. The CRISP software was developed by NIC and given to all State units of NIC for implementation in DRDAs. NIC’s association with the RD sector has been particularly noteworthy in view of the fact that NIC is the only organization in the country that has presence across the country up to district level.

NIC has been the major ICT solution provider and consultant to the RD domain. In fact, most of the in-house information systems, web sites , VC operations and ICT Training Programmes are supported by NIC. Besides providing support to government computerization programmes, NIC has also been participating in other ICT-led rural development efforts. Two important initiatives are: ??? Warana Project in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra, where 70 villages of the district were networked and information kiosks established in the villages to disseminate information to villagers. ??? Community Information Centre Project where 487 blocks of eight North ???Eastern states of India were given computers and connectivity to Internet.

The centres are used by local people to access information, e-mail, training on computers and Internet etc. Besides the above initiatives that are specific to RD sector, NIC also extends all its services (such as network support, ICT solutions, consultancy, research, web site hosting, VC facility etc. ) to all the RD organizations as well as other government agencies such as Ministry of Agriculture & Co-operation, Department of Education, Ministry of Health etc. which also contribute significantly to Rural Development. 5. 1 Strategy adopted in delivering e-Governance solutions to the RD domain Every department/agency of RD has a NIC unit associated with it. For eg. there is one NIC unit associated with each department of MoRD. Similarly, with each SRD, there is a NIC state unit cell associated. The requirements of the departments are addressed by the attached NIC cell. The solution may be either developed from scratch or an existing solution may be customized as per the requirements of the concerned department. In particular, when developing solutions that are applicable across the states, NIC has devised the following strategy for delivering quicker and generic solutions for the domain: ??? If a common solution requirement (applicable to all states) is highlighted by MoRD, the software is prepared by NIC Hqrs. in consultation with MoRD and SRDs.

This software is then distributed to NIC state units, who, in turn, work with their respective State RDs to identify points of variation. NIC State unit customizes the software as per state specific requirements and helps SRD in implementing the same. ??? Sometimes, a software solution requirement may be highlighted by one of the SRDs/DRDAs/PRIs. In this case, NIC’s state/district unit works in close co-ordination with the department requiring the solution. Once the software is implemented in the concerned department, the software is passed on to other state units who, in turn, demonstrate the software to the respective department in their state.

If the concerned department feels the need for the software, it is implemented, with or without customization (as per the department’s needs), and implemented. ??? Since every state has its own language, attempts are made to create software that have support for local language (and wherever necessary , English also). The overall strategy of NIC is to ??? re-use the domain knowledge gained while developing a software ??? re-use as much of the software as possible NIC now intends to utilize the domain knowledge gained so far to enhance its strategy wherein the RD domain is modeled to design and develop a range of Product Line Solutions that can be easily customized as per the client’s requirements. 6. 0 e-Governance in Rural development Sector

ICTs have been in use in the RD sector as early as 1986 when the CRISP project was launched by MoRD. But both the utilization and the impacts have not been so impressive. In fact, probably, CRISP was a bit too early for the RD sector. The agencies (mainly the

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Rural Informatics and the Impact of Government Schemes on Rural India Assignment. (2019, Oct 26). Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://anyassignment.com/social-science/rural-informatics-and-the-impact-of-government-schemes-on-rural-india-assignment-51636/