Positivity lies within. Women in India are joining hands in our growth story. Be it health, education or industry of any kind, women are leading in many parts of it. But when it comes to developing rural women, they are displaying strong determination and an ability to be progressive. Empowering their life in order to get access to environmental, social change, health care and education, they are making use of ‘Digital India’ for the next big leap. Let’s check on five different ways in which digital India is on the way of empowering rural women:
‘ArogyaSakhi’ helps rural women developing their own personality in order to providing health care to the rural area. It’s a mobile application that helps rural women entrepreneurs deliver preventive health care at rural doorsteps. Women armed with tablets and mobile healthcare devices like glucometers, blood pressure checking machine visit homes and collect data from the village women. This data can be accessed by doctors at any location who could provide treatment to the patients remotely. Similarly, several apps have been launched to enable farmers get accurate and timely information related to crops, market prices and analytics to enhance productivity and profitability of farmers.
Current Digital India Initiative provides opportunity for women empowerment. It has following pillars:
- Broadband Highways,
- Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity,
- Public Internet Access Program,
- e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology,
- e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services,
- Information for All,
- Electronics Manufacturing,
- IT for Jobs
- Early Harvest Program.
Internet Saathi: A long term vision from the Chairman of Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata recently launched an initiative called ‘Internet Saathi’. This aims to go deep with the internet usage among rural women in India. Ratan Tata has joined hands with Google and Intel to help women in rural India to access the internet in large number. He thinks that internet will help rural women to get educated and to make them ready for the future. Those women who have not been able to find a way of earning yet, seems this initiative will build their career. Women internet users in urban India have outnumbered men, but when it comes to the rural India, only a few have access to the internet.
The three-way project Internet Saathi will deploy 1000 specially designed bicycles with connected devices to give villagers an altogether new internet experience for a period of four to six months.
The initiative will be launched in 4,500 villages in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand within the next 18 months. ‘Internet Saathi program is expected to reach about five lakh rural women.
The Amakomaya Project (Nepal): The Amakomaya project means Mother’s Love. It started with a thought of providing Nepali rural women with lifesaving digital content in their own local language via the Internet. It serves a social cause which is to providing pregnant women during and after pregnancy advices. By this way, it helps reducing population and diseases in new born children. With the high mobile tapping, the program has expanded with a mobile platform, and it also connects rural health workers with urban based hospital doctors.
W2E2 (India): Women for Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, in short W2E2 is helping rural women with digital tools, e-learning, internet connection. Women tend to use the Internet for their own projects in fields like sustainable agriculture and rural health. Some are setting up their own kiosks and shops to provide online services to the local community, while others have taken up work as digital literacy trainers in their own local communities.
Similarly, National e-Governance Plan gives a chance to the rural entrepreneurs to provide citizen-centric services including access to land records and utility bill payments. This plan helps them to follow up on rural enterprise, facilitate community participation, enable citizens to make informed decisions and act as a single-window interface, eliminating corruption process. Women have been matured in computer literacy, that’s the only qualification needed. The cost of hardware, such as computers and printers, and the Internet connection is usually on the learners’ side.
Vaijanti Devi, 38, a resident of Bhusia village in Gaya district of Bihar, once applying for a loan became a big issue for her. Now, after some training on using a computer, she runs a Common Service Centre (CSC) which offers online banking services, government certificates and enrolls villagers for the Aadhaar identity program.
Nuzhat Mohiduddin, 36, of Jammu & Kashmir’s Baramulla, gets almost 300 footfalls a day at her CSC as she handles services that include loan documentation, bank account opening and mobile recharges.
A few years back, these were dream only. But now we’re proud to say that Indian women are developing, so does India.
Digital India hopes to provide phone connectivity and access to broadband in 2.5 lakh villages by 2019 and that is truly the clarion call for entrepreneurs and policy planners to take advantage of the opportunity to build new solutions for rural markets. Mobile technology will play the lead role to provide information and digital empowerment to the rural people.