India is pushing itself towards becoming a digitally empowered nation, with several projects spearheaded by Prime Minister Modi himself, aiming to help its citizens receive all government services electronically.
Although technology would help the country to develop towards a modern nation, there are still a lot of people in the country who are leaving without the basic necessities needed to live a proper life. Necessities like, safe drinking water, food, proper sanitation, and education are still a dream to lots of people in the country. So before those massively funded digital projects, the government should make good efforts in providing these necessities to its citizens.
Because having these necessities will help the people to develop themselves in order to work along with technology as technology cannot go on without the people, after all, it is really difficult for a malnourished child to give his full potential in studies.
Here are some of the major issues in the country that need to addressed before we start to provide our services digitally.
Safe Drinking Water
Safe drinking water is the most basic need for a human being to survive, and according to reports, more than 100 million people in India do not have access to safe drinking water. It is estimated that around 38 million people are affected by waterborne diseases each year of which over 75 percent are children.
Consistent supply of safe drinking water should be provided to every household in the country, and not just few hours or few times a day of water supply.
On the other hand, Electricity helps provide most of these necessities. Electricity powers nation’s industries, vehicles, offices, and homes.
India, despite being the fifth largest producer after US and China, still almost 300 million people do not have access to electricity, due to not enough equipment to produce electricity. Another problem India is encountering with electricity is inconsistent power supply due to improper equipment which damage home electronics and other equipment.
Food for Everybody
India is currently the second largest producer of wheat and rice, but around 40 percent of everything India produces never reaches the market, thus making 70 percent of children under the age of five malnourished.
The major problem with regard to agriculture is not in production, but in storage and distribution. Because of improper storage, a lot of what is being produced goes into waste. Proper training also needs to be provided to farmers with regard to preservation and wastage, in order for the country to lessen food wastage.
In addition to that, Punjab alone produces 20 percent of wheat and 11 percent of rice India – the government should that amount of production reach other states to equalize the distribution.
In 2008, rural sanitation coverage was just 21 percent of the population, with around 55 percent who do not have access to toilets.
Due to improper sanitation, around 10 million visitors experience health problems. Though, projects like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan aims to solve sanitation problems in the country, which is to be completed by 2019. Swacch Bharat Abhiyan aims to provide ample water supply for bathing, cleaning, and washing. In addition to that, this programme will also provide individual household toilets, including community and public toilets.
But the major challenges for Swacch Bharat Abhiyan would be improving the water sewerage system in the country, and improving solid waste management as 75 percent of sewage or wastewater is not treated in the country.
According to the reports, more than 231,000 people are killed in road traffic accidents every year, and WHO estimates that around 10 percent of accidents occur in India.
Traffic accidents occur every minute and life is lost every 3.7 minutes according the reports. Traffic safety is the key component of ensuring cities are secure and sustainable places to live.
Most of the accidents occur due to high-speed vehicles and unsafe road infrastructure. The government needs to enforce strict traffic rules by providing proper training to traffic enforcers, as well as promoting use of motorcycle helmets and reducing drink-driving.
Education As a Basic Need
Large illiterate population would make it difficult for technology to propagate and reach more people in the country as it is estimated that around 287 million adults are without proper education which is almost 37 percent of total global population.
Education need to be provided from the basic level to help people be be self dependent, earn for themselves, easily adapt to technological advancements, and help the economic growth of our country by creating jobs. Education is really a nation’s key to success.
Child Labour deprive children of their childhood. It is harmful for their physical mental development as they are not able to attend school, thus they are deprived of education.
Children are the future of our country, let us educate and let them enjoy their childhood before making them work on full time jobs.
Though this problem is not as serious as the ones mentioned above, but if a country is aiming to become as one of the leading digitally empowered nations, then internet becomes as the basic need for its citizens.
According to Akamai’s recent State of the Internet report, India has the second slowest speed in Asia, providing just 2 Mbps as the average speed. In addition to that, India also has the slowest average mobile connectivity speed in Asia – just 1.4 Mbps.
India needs to improve its internet infrastructure to provide better and consistent broadband services across different networks.
As a conclusion, all these necessities work together for a better nation. For example, water and food are needed for the people to be healthier. So they focus on their education instead of working, even under 14 years of age for food. Education is equally important for the children, and for their future. With proper training, traffic regulations can be easily enforced to well educated individuals. Last but not the least, electricity becomes a basic necessity to power all digital devices in order to provide services digitally.
While India is trying to solve a lot of its problems with technology. The necessities mentioned above need to be addressed as well, for the people to help technology solve our problems. Technology alone is not sufficient to solve all problems. People and technology must work side by side to benefit from each other.