India Rural Development Report Current Affairs - 2020

Free Wi-Fi services provided to all villages till 2020

On December 25, 2019, Union Minister of Communication and IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated “Digital Village Guruwara”. During the launch, it was announced that the Government has planned to offer free Wi-Fi services to all villages till March 2020.

Highlights

The Government of India has so far connected 1,30,000-gram panchayats through Bharatnet. More than 50,000 Gram Panchayat are yet to be connected. The government is working under the current target that at least 15% of villages are to be digitalized in next four years. The free Wi-Fi services are being announced under Bharatnet project.

The GoI in June 2018 announced that all gram panchayats will receive broadband connectivity by 2020. However, the connectivity has been made free now.

Bharatnet Project

The initiative was launched in 2011. Under the initiative, 100 Mbps speed internet were to be provided to around 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats. The aim is to increase their speed to around 2 to 20 Mbps in the future to all households in rural areas.

The project is a National Optical Fibre Network project. It is seen as a major initiative in order to succeed Digital India. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Telecommunications.

Categorisation of Farmers

In agriculture Census, the operational holdings are categorised in five size classes as shown below:

  • Marginal: Below 1.00 hectare.
  • Small: 1.00-2.00 hectare.
  • Semi- Medium: 2.00-4.00 hectare.
  • Medium: 4.00-10.00 hectare.
  • Large: 10.00 hectare and above.

The India Rural Development Report 2012-13 prepared by the IDFC Rural Development Network notes that Small farms are more efficient, especially in cultivating labour-intensive crops or tending livestock, but land holdings are too small to generate sufficient household income.

To improve the condition of Small and Marginal farmers and to double the income of farmers by 2022, Government is realigning its interventions from the production-centric approach to farmers’ income-centric initiatives, with focus on better and new technological solutions.

The interventions  include implementation of schemes like, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Soil Health Card, Neem Coated Urea, Rainfed Area Development under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), National Agriculture Market scheme (e-NAM), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission on Oilseeds & Oil palm (NMOOP), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology (NMAET).