Believing in Technology as enabler of Development is one thing. Being able to implement a vision and see it emerge right is surreal. Demonitisation and the subsequent cash crunch has led to increased focus on digital payments that has now catapulted this Akodara village once again into limelight.
It was in two years ago in the early winter of 2014 representatives from ICICI Bank discussed about ideas on making a village cashless village using digital modes. Sabarkantha was emerging as a model district in the country for using digital technologies in Rural development. As the District Development Officer of Sabarkantha District of Gujarat i floated the idea of making it digital all around touching Anganwadi, WiFi in Village, cyber cafe etc. Everyone got excited on the possibilities of creating a model village of the future.
Over a period of next two months the idea took shape with frequent visit by bank officials with all local support rendered by Himatnagar Taluka Panchayat team and the Sabarkantha District Panchayat. Everyone contributed their might. The Director of District Rural Development Agency Ms.Bhargavi Dave, Taluka Development Officer Mr.Ganshyam Prajapati and team looked into other development needs of the village and facilitation. The District Panchayat team made arrangements to deploy WiFi tower and connectivity to this unconnected village within a week. ICICI Bank brought in systems for cashless payments, e-Education in school, Skill training for youth, elearning tools for Anganwadi, eHealth centre etc.
Everyone involved in this were driven by the vision to do something that belongs to the future. The Bank wanted to give a product to a community that needs it the most took the risk of being ahead of time. The district officials and staff who believed that this will add value to the lives of the village went beyond their call of duty to make atleast one village a benchmark in digital ways. The Sarpanch (Smt. Tharaben) took a big political risk of prodding her voters to a newer way of thinking and digital living in the hope that they will realize that its better for them in the long run, just like what Hon. PM Modi is trying through demonitisation.
When a cutting edge work happens somewhere a set of people are taking risks in the hopes of creating something better than what it is today. It doesnt matter if the outcomes are achieved or not, because after it is done everyone comes out a bit better than what they were when it started. There is no guarantee that we can create the future we want, but somebody’s got to try.
Recent news links:
- Gujarat Village Thumbs Nose At Cash Crunch, Pays Through SMS – NDTV
Learn demonetization from Akodara, India’s first digital village – Business Insider
How E-Banking Helped India’s First Digital Village Handle Demonetization without a Wrinkle – The Better India
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Akodara is one of the finest examples of e-governance in India.
India’s first digital village.
Rightly said by the author a set of people have to take risks in order to achieve something better than what is today. Well done !!!