Recently, I was having discussion with Dr B.V.Parameswara Rao, founder of Bhagavatula Charitable Trust. We were discussing on Social Entrepreneurship and tried to address two areas – Micro Financing, involvement of Technology in Rural Development.
Dr. Rao feels that this has changed the life of a farmer. This is just not helping him to come out of his miseries, however adding to them. Why? Micro-Financing is providing loans to the poor to help enable them to spend more. What is happening here is, instead of providing avenues for the farmer to add more money to his savings, we are drastically increasing his financial burden. Until recently, if he earns Rs. 10 / Day, his expenses were nearly Rs. 8 and at least on an average, he would save Rs. 2. But, with micro-financing coming in, now he need not run behind banks for a loan. Loans from these institutions come a bit conveniently and add up to his burden. As his loans are increasing, his savings are coming down (Micro-financing institutions also have their eligibility criteria which take care of over-burdening too)
Moving away from Farming
Today, there are many farmers who are selling their land and moving to towns nearby for more money. If on an average, a farmer earns Rs. 40 per day from the crop he has brought up, today, he is working as a daily wage laborer for around Rs. 60. He is looking at the Rs. 20 which he earns more than his usual earning which comes only after he sells the crop, but he is not looking at what he is loosing. If this continues to grow, then one day we will definitely be short of food grains to eat and this would impact one and all.
So, what can be done different to help?
We would need to educate and help rural citizens to realize what they can do and provide a helping hand for the work they would do. We need to tune them to help themselves instead of showing them the colours of easy money. This would have a deep impact on them as an individual and also help strengthen the economy.
Government should only do Governance!
An interesting and very simple thought. We have Government to streamline various activities and provide support to public needs. However, today, Government is getting into various activities and diluting the main cause of its existence. If the Government can concentrate on streamlining funds, providing support to its public by strategic investments, it would help benefit the society.
When China decided to concentrate on providing education for all, it had a very good foresight. During that time, they ensured that every citizen of their country is educated which would over a period of time ensure 100% employment which would strengthen their economy.
Today, in India we have a good education system in place – Right from the Government Primary Education centers to pursuing high degrees. However, there are challenges which are obstructing the quality of education. As an example, today, for 4 teachers appointed in schools at the Primary Education Centers, only 2 are available.
Spend Time in Villages
Today, we have quite-a-few people who live in towns/cities who are showing interest in contributing to provide support to the rural poor. The best way to solve or address rural problems is to understand the actual life of people in villages. We need to spend time with them in person to understand the problem and provide required support.
Note: Thoughts and views mentioned above are purely of my choice. There is no correlation to any activities which happen today or any organizations which participate in any of the above mentioned activities.