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CSR: Technology Making Villages Smarter

Rural Development
Mahatma Gandhi has said, “The future of India lies in its villages”. Rural India has a lot of potential to grow sustainably, which is why the statement made by the father of our nation stands true, even today.
The attitude of the people living in rural areas is much more accepting towards sustainable development. This is because they are used to reusing and recycling everything, because of the limited availability of resources. They have a problem-solving attitude than that of complaining. They are also very adaptive in nature because of the challenges they face in their everyday lives. These qualities make them perfect beneficiaries for development.
Yogesh Sahu, a young entrepreneur from Mumbai, delivering IT solutions to small & medium businesses, along with his friend Rajnish Bajpai, who is a Software professional working abroad, together envisaged creating a transformation in rural India, knowing that Mobile Technology & IoT (Internet of Things) are the future of growth and development.
The two IT professionals have transformed a rural village in UP through their app called ‘SmartGaon’, that not only connects an entire village population internally and with the developed world, but also serves as a knowledge and information centre, a market place, a helpline and a holistic development tool to make their ‘gaon’ a ‘SmartGaon’.
After gaining success in their first venture, the duo has now laid the bricks of development in 6 more villages in Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. More emphasis will be laid on to the Gram Mart feature of the app, which supports fair trade between farmers, thereby creating a marketplace for their produce.
Taudhakpur (Mirzapur Urf Taudhakpur), which has been a remote village with limited amenities in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh is now a SmartGaon with not only basic amenities like toilets, CCTV Cameras, Public Address Systems, Dustbins and Street lights, but also Adarsh Primary Schools, regular health check-up events and Community health centres, a Wifi Zone in addition to 18-20 hours power supply. The app serves as an enabler in the development as all initiatives undertaken are updated, recorded, tracked and monitored on the app, ensuring free flow of information and bringing about community wellbeing.
The Mobile app has key features like the villagers’ directory, news and events calendar, health centre, information centre and Bilingual interface (available in English and Hindi). It is aimed at reconstructing Indian villages, so that people can improve their quality of living. SMART stands for S- Social security schemes M- Modern urban amenities A- Adoption of smart agriculture practices R- Roads infrastructure & transportation T- Tech savvy for the all round development of rural India, whereas ‘gaon’ means village in Hindi.
Aiming to transform 10 more villages this year, the duo has already started working with 3 villages in Chhattisgarh namely, Amdi, Kachandur, Machandur and 2 villages in Uttar Pradesh, namely Ramala, Baghpat. Work has also started towards the development of Ralegaon Siddhi and Hivre Bazaar in Maharashtra. “We are expanding all horizons at a faster pace now, considering the need for the rapid development of our villages. We plan to establish a ‘smart school’ and set up an educational infrastructure for the betterment of rural Indians.” says Yogesh.
“We have received an overwhelming response and support from the villagers and village authorities and that encourages us to keep making a difference in the rural landscape of India. We look forward to urban citizens, NRIs and corporates coming forward and support the cause,” adds Rajnish.