'IT can bridge urban-rural economic gap'

The best way to reduce inequalities between rural areas and cities is to distribute the benefits that information technology has to offer, in farming and rural communities.

The statement was made on Monday by Professor Abdul Aziz while inaugurating the national conference on “Information and Communication Technologies for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Aziz, a visiting professor at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), said that there was an urgent need to popularise modern methods of information technology in rural areas. “Technology, such as Internet access, will help farmers and other village-based industries to reap the benefits that Information Technology (IT) has to offer and increase their productivity,” he said.

But while praising information technology as a significant force for economic equality, Aziz was quick to warn that if IT-assisted projects were implemented in villages, then it was important to give all villages the same level of benefits. “Some villages may not have facilities such as the Internet, so care needs to be taken, as these different levels of development can lead to economic and social inequalities,” he said.

He characterised a second challenge as being the level of public access to such facilities in villages. “Even if a village has the infrastructure to support IT services, it may not be accessible to everybody in the village, simply because they could be technologically challenged. The authorities should ensure that there is at least an IT service or facility at the Gram Panchayat level. Also, one person in the family should be given training on how to use computers and such services,” he added.

H Gangadhara Bhat, an Associate Professor in Department of Marine Geology in Mangalore University, detailed the significance of remote-sensing satellite-based technology in agriculture and rural development. “It’s high time young researchers reap the benefits of remote sensing applications in the fields of soil mapping, geology, geomorphology, water resource mapping, land-use mapping, oceanography, etc,” he said.

The seminar was organised by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council.

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