Associate Editor, GIS Development
India’s second independence of the early 1990s has brought in host of technologies that fuelled the development of the nation on several counts. But the one sector that mostly found itself alienated in this scheme of things is what Gandhiji called the backbone of the country – the village.
The technological and economic advances only widened the urban-rural divide leaving the majority of the population of the country languishe in preindependence conditions. Over the years, several government agencies and a large number of voluntary organisations were involved in developing technologies that cater to the development of rural India. Unfortunately, these technologies hardly touched the lives of rural population. The one technology that has the potential to enrich rural lives and promises to bring in revolutionary changes is – geospatial technology. Understanding this capability, the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), with its mandate to channelise and develop policies and programmes for creating social infrastructure for rural development, set up the Centre for Geo-informatics Application in Rural Development (C-GARD) at its Hyderabad centre.
Set up in 2002, C-GARD aims to design and develop geomatics applications for rural development and is engaged in developing the skill and knowledge levels in geomatics technology and tools among the development functionaries from the government, nongovernment, state institutes of rural development (SIRDs), national and international agencies.
“While GIS as a technology factored many things, C-GARD, with its programmes and initiatives, is trying to incorporate the social, ethical and traditional factors into the GIS that are the essential ingredients for creating a fabric of social infrastructure in rural India,” says Dr V Madhava Rao Head, CGARD. C-GARD works in association with the Union and State governments and NGOs to facilitate lab-to-land intervention. Here is a peek into the initiatives/ services provided by C-GARD for dissemination of technology in rural areas: