LifeLines brings e-change in farmers' lives

Technology in governance reaches out to rural masses

sarthak

Sarthak Ray | January 26, 2010


Reaping benefits of technology
Reaping benefits of technology

Shailendra Singh grows flowers on his land in Naya Khera village in Niwari, Uttar Pradesh. With each call he has made in the last two years to the LifeLines helpline, he has also helped grow a knowledge bank that farmers like him use to reap never-before profits.

One World South Asia's Lifelines agricultural extension service uses simple, easy to use technology to connect rural farmers with agricultural experts. Farmers from 2,011 villages in four states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana – call up on the helpline number with queries on pest management, weather information, inter-cropping, handling drought, irrigation methods, crop diseases and cycle.

One World South Asia's director Naimur Rahman says, “There is a near-total absence of agri-extension services in the country, mostly because of the remoteness of the farming locations from the experts' workplace. We have tried to bridge this gap using both mobile phone technology and the internet.”

Over 1,00,000 farmers are already using the fast-growing LifeLines services. One of the reasons for LifeLines' success is the ease with which it overcomes what Rahman calls the 'triangle of barriers' – that of language, literacy and connectivity. The farmer using the service makes a call on the helpline number and an 'integrated voice response system (IVRS)' records his/her query. An unique query id number is then generated by the call centre which records the call. The farmer can then call for advice on his specific query 24 hours later using this number. The recorded query in the meantime is translated, transcribed and mailed to one or more of the experts on service. These experts then mail back a reply which is then recorded at the call centre and delivered by IVRS when the farmer calls back for the response.

A seamless connectivity between rural telephone networks and peri-urban and urban internet enable call centres ensures a response within 24 hours.

“I don't have to go all the way to a agri-extension clinic or have a field officer come and record particulars of my problem. I just make a call and the solution is delivered at my doorstep,” Singh says.

“My profits are looking up as I can now make timely interventions,” he adds.

With 400 callers a day, LifeLines has queries that are bound to be similar or at the least, overlap. The ingenuity of the project lies in the fact that queries are tagged with keywords and run through databases in case a similar query has been answered earlier. LifeLines today has a knowledge-bank of 2,80,000 frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Despite the success of the project, Rahman refuses to call it a governance support tool – whether it be e or m. “This is a service. Governance is not. Our e-governance set-up is still so nascent,” he says.

Comments

 

Other News

Gripping graphic narrative helps make sense of pandemics past

The Moral Contagion By Julia Hauser and Sarnath Banerjee HarperCollins, 140 pages, Rs 699 The world has lar

“Globally, there is unprecedented positivity for India”

Addressing the Viksit Bharat Viksit Uttar Pradesh program in Lucknow on Monday, prime minister Narendra Modi launched 14,000 projects across the state, worth more than Rs 10 lakh crore at the fourth groundbreaking ceremony of UP Global Investors Summit held in February 2023. The projects relate to sectors

World’s biggest bird-a-thon begins in India

During the four days from Feb 16, more than a thousand birdwatchers throughout India are coming together with the goal of documenting as many birds as possible across the country’s diverse locations. Over one lakh birdwatchers globally participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Coun

Comments sought on Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advt in Coaching Sector

The Central Consumer Protection Authority has sought public comments on the ‘Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisement in Coaching Sector’. The draft guidelines are placed on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs and are accessible through the link:

Electoral bond scheme unconstitutional: Supreme Court

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has held the anonymous, unregulated and unlimited funding through electoral bonds and companies as unconstitutional. The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court comprising chief justice DY Chandrachud and justices Sanjiv Khanna, B

Interim Budget and frontier technology: Sab ka Vikas, Sab ki Technology

The world is at the cusp of a revolution based on Industry 4.0 and green technologies, including AI, big data, IoT, EVs, solar power, etc., which offer developing countries the opportunity to leapfrog into economic prosperity. However, India’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) still stands at a mea

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter