With approximately 66% of the population living in the rural areas, India can achieve complete development only when this chunk of the country is uplifted. The provision of sanitation, literacy and digital awareness can help these backward parts of the country to develop thereby eradicating poverty and thus developing India.
Toilet+ Classroom+ Cellphone= An uplifted rural India is the formula to combat this situation.
1. Toilet, Toilet Everywhere:
With more than half the population living without proper access to toilets, open defecating is a popular choice for the people to combat this issue. This sort of crap is bound to get people sick. Thus they become prone to diseases like typhoid and diarrhea which occur due to open defecation.
Lack of sanitation also possesses a huge challenge for women and children. Numbers of cases have been reported of women being sexually assaulted and raped while going for open defecation.
However, lack of proper toilet facilities is not to be solely blamed.
Despite various government schemes and initiatives to build more toilets in the rural areas, the people are voluntarily not adapting to the benefit. There are many who still defecate in the open due to the impact of certain traditions and beliefs. Hence, it’s essential to create proper awareness regarding the ill-effects of lack of sanitation.
While establishing toilets in rural areas is important, keeping them clean with adequate water supply is a prerequisite. To curb this problem, people should be recruited to help maintain the sanitation of the toilets and also trained to maintain it properly.
2. Books to ride up the poverty ladder:
While the government has been trying to make education widespread by providing free education through schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the poor have their own set of reasons for not utilizing these. Some BPL families consider children as a way of more hands to earn more money and are interested in immediate income than schooling their children for secured future.
On the other hand, children that are sent to rural schools are rarely motivated to stay because of dilapidating facilities, lack of trained teachers and proper curriculum and no electricity (6/10 schools have no electricity). Issues like lack of equipping facilities such as clean classrooms, availability of toilets, etc. demotivate the students from attending schools.
Nonetheless, with schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the government can extend help to make education fun for the rural children. Introduction of interactive textbooks which covers the traditions, values and cultures of the rural population can make education more relatable to them. Teachers in rural schools need proper training and more incentives to continue working.
3. Internet cleansing of poverty:
The urban India is doing exceptionally well with the presence of the Internet. Job opportunities, access to current and trending information, access to social freedom by means of social media, etc has enabled urban areas to update themselves. Out of 33% of
the total internet penetration in India, only 16 percent constitutes the rural population. However, 42% of
the rural population are mobile subscribers and this share seems to be growing twice as fast as urban subscribers, which is a good sign. This is another step towards Digital India where everyone will have access to everything of worth.
Digitisation will help farmers in India to get information about the requirements of international market as well as the local market such as crops, market prices and so on. Further, the government has already expanded its budget to Rs 100 billion ($1.4 billion) and laid 155,000 km long optical fiber cable across the country.
The formula Toilet+ Classroom+ Cellphone will help in bridging the gap between the urban and rural India. For any policy to work out, the citizens of a developing country must work alongside the government and be the change. An uplifted rural India will be a developed whole India.