Capart will collapse if it does not change role: Joshi

Calling for a "radical change" in the role of Capart, an autonomous body functioning under the aegis of the ministry, Joshi said social inequities will grow if grassroots organisations were not provided technological inputs.

In his valedictory address at the two-day workshop on appropriate technology for rural development, the minister also said that Capart has to play a crucial role in spreading information among the people to enhance their livelihood opportunities.

"The issue of panchayati raj institutions has not been addressed… You can't work in isolation. A new institutional framework is needed to have organic linkages," he said.
He added that Capart should discharge an "effective role" in providing technology inputs to organisations working at the grassroots.

Pointing out that there were no fund constraints, Joshi said there were 2.44 lakh panchayats in the country which needed assistance of experts in diverse fields including agriculture and market linkages.

The government wanted to make panchayats a model of self-governance and the basic problem was to enhance livelihood opportunities of people, he said.

"Unless technology input is provided to grassroots organisations, the social iniquities will grow," according to Joshi.

Whether it was scientific innovations or agricultural practices, these should be converged and linked by Capart to the institutional framework to bring about a radical change in its role, the minister said.

"If (Capart is) not able to do it (change its role), the institution will collapse," he said.
Citing instances of lack of adequate knowledge with people working in panchayati raj institutions, he said gram sevaks often did not have knowledge of ways to enhance crop productivity and farmers about patents.

Joshi also added that Capart, which is assisting over 12,000 voluntary organisations across the country in implementing a range of development initiatives, had played an important role in the past and hoped it will be able to meet challenges of the future.

He said Capart can help propagate technology at the grassroots in the ambitious flagship schemes of the government such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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