Awareness Calling: Towards a more productive rural segment
Friday December 24, 2010,
4 min Read
When we speak of the rural masses in India, the first thing that strikes our mind is Poverty. Pondering upon the possible causes, all conclusions converge down to unawareness, ignorant attitude of people and lack of knowledge. When we speak of spreading awareness and knowledge, it does not necessarily point to conveying education or literacy. For a country like India, the second most populous in the world, 72% of the 1.1 billion still reside in the rural sections. This part of the population encounters an issue of unawareness and lack of exposure to the scene outside their vicinity, which hinders their growth and productivity on professional, social and economic fronts.Statistically speaking, rice productivity in the state of Chhattisgarh increased by 0.2 tonnes/hectare, on incorporating technological awareness measures. The importance of awareness can’t be overlooked in the health-care frontier. As an example, about 18-20% of the adult residents in the city of Bangalore are diabetic but only a tiny percentage of them are aware of it because they never check their blood sugar. The condition in rural areas with much less awareness is inexplicably worse. Women lose their lives due to late detection of breast cancer. The government sure is making an effort to reach out to the unaware masses through televisions and literature. But, the question arises – what percentage of population in the rural sectors has access, or rather is equipped to access these facilities? The answer is ‘Minimal’.
Summing up, the primary areas that require informative assistance to the rural masses are:-
- Legal Affairs
- Miscellaneous Social Affairs
A notable effort in this regard has been made by ITC Ltd, through their initiative ‘E-Choupal’. This initiative aims to spread awareness about the latest and adaptable agricultural practices to the farmers residing in various parts of the country. The mode of conveyance is via Internet. ‘Just-dial’ is another local search engine that provides comprehensive updated information on all B2B and B2C Products and Services. Now, we encounter the most challenging part of a rural consultancy setup – Can the people afford it?
A solution could be, connecting the rural masses to the experienced professionals via telecommunication. The Indian economy is booming. Surveys by Economic Times, BBC News and Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) have all labeled Indian Telecommunication Industry as the fastest booming in the world, with 723.28 Million telephone (landlines and mobile) subscribers and 687.71 Million mobile phone connections as of Sep 30th 2010. It is also the second largest telecommunication network in the world in terms of number of wireless connections after China (courtesy: TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and Union Budget and Economic Survey by the Indian Ministry of Finance).
Tapping the telecommunication industry would require setting up Call Routing Centers as the information kiosks. Queries would be put forth at one end, and addressed to at the other by the professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc). The customers, particularly from the rural segments in India, tend to associate or dissociate with/from the organizations, institutions, brands, etc in extreme bounds. If an overwhelming social presence is created, then merely the brand image of the consultancy could provide for a significant and exponential boost to the future expansion objectives. The fact about information kiosk being local creates scope for generating employment opportunities for the local people.
Next to be considered is the Profit aspect. Primary importance has to be given to curtail the effect on the pockets of the rural populace through innovating upon alternate sources of revenue. The general attitude and viewpoint of the local people (social, political and economic) could also be very relevant to the entrepreneurs.
The field undoubtedly is challenging. A lot of brainstorming requires to be done, to attain perfection and idealization. In a developing nation like India, whose economy has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade, this could well be a million-dollar opportunity. The very fact that this nation has the largest chunk of its population still in the rural parts, the situation is very much like a Spacecraft on Ignition – the perfect state of launch.