“Question 4 the day”-7th Feb 2018-(Topic: Role of Space technology in rural and backward areas)


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Topic: Role of Space technology in socio-economic development (GS-III)  

Q:Examine the role of Space technology in benefiting the rural and backward areas?

  • Rural areas are also known as the ‘countryside’ or a ‘village’ in India. It has a very low population density. In rural areas, agriculture is the chief source of livelihood along with fishing, cottage industries, pottery etc.
  • The quest to discover the real rural India still continues in great earnest.
  • Almost every economic agency today has a definition of rural India. Here are a few definitions:
  • According to the Planning Commission, a town with a maximum population of 15,000 is considered rural in nature. In these areas the panchayat makes all the decisions. There are five persons in the panchayat.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) defines ‘rural’ as follows:

  • An area with a population density of up to 400 per square kilometer,
  • Villages with clear surveyed boundaries but no municipal board,
  • A minimum of 75% of male working population involved in agriculture and allied activities.
  • RBI defines rural areas as those areas with a population of less than 49,000 (tier -3 to tier-6 cities).
  • It is generally said that the rural areas house up to 70% of India’s population. Rural India contributes a large chunk to India’s GDP by way of agriculture, self-employment, services, construction etc.
  • Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas, said the Census of India’s 2011 Provisional Population Totals of Rural-Urban Distribution in the country.
  • During 2001-11, the rate of growth of rural population has been 12.18 per cent

In this regard there is a need to enhance the growth of rural areas.

The efforts made by Indian Space Research Organisation benefiting rural and backward areas so far include:
1. Mapping of wastelands (1986-2000, 2005-06, 2008-09 & 2015-16) for enabling prioritization of watersheds, identification of areas for renewable energy projects and industrial corridor development.
2. Mapping of land degradation (2005-06 & 2015-16), help in prioritization of development in the rural areas.
3. Prepared and deployed National level groundwater prospects maps, including locations for planning recharge structures, as a support for drinking water requirements for Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.
4. Geo-spatially enabled monitoring of developmental activities under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), for Ministry of Rural Development.
5. Generation of sustainable land and water resources development plans in 180 districts for soil and water conservation and satellite data based monitoring and evaluation of about 86,000 micro watersheds, under Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) for Ministry of Rural Development.
6. Mapping and monitoring of village water bodies for suitability to adopt aquaculture development in the tribal districts as a possible alternative livelihood support.
7. Assessment of fodder crops in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana for enabling sustainability of dairy industry, relevant in rural and backward areas.


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