A phenomenal progress in the field of science and technology (S&T) has brought prosperity to millions in India. However, the fruits of these developments have not reached to a large section of population, especially the rural people, who continue to live precariously. Various voluntary groups, non-government organisations (NGOs) and corporates are working towards bridging this gap. Such earnest interventions have made some impact. Yet, the overall picture remains dismal.
An appropriate intervention of S&T has an immense potential to catalyse positive transformation in rural areas. In today’s rapidly growing ‘knowledge economy’, the mobilisation of financial resources alone, however, cannot ensure equal prosperity and development. The application of professional know-how, evolved through innovative research and development (R&D), and its adaptation to the local milieu is equally important. Therefore, corporates, research agencies, NGOs, voluntary organisations and grass-roots level workers must come on a common platform to address the challenges.
The complexity of the challenges demands interventions at several levels. We need to explore and reinvent innovative approaches for a collective action from multiple stakeholders including government, voluntary social organisations, NGOs, corporates, entrepreneurs, academicians and scientists. Several prominent organisations and research and academic institutions like IITs, NITs, IISc & IISERs, DST, DBT, ICAR, ICMR, ISRO, BARC/DAE, DRDO, CSIR Laboratories, MGIRI, Organisations of MoEF&CC like Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute (IPIRTI) and many more have developed new technologies in the field of medicine, energy, agriculture, environment, information technology etc. for societal benefits. It is the need of the hour that all the stakeholders— corporates, research agencies, voluntary social organizations, facilitator organisations, government and non-governmental agencies working in the fields of livelihood and entrepreneurship come together on a common platform and find solutions to the problems that affect the lives and well-being of millions of people.
This year, we are celebrating the 150th birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi emphasised the importance of S&T for the upliftment of the masses. The initiation of the process of societal transformation by bringing together several key stakeholders who have the potential to address challenges with S&T intervention on a common platform— Tech4Seva, will be the most appropriate tribute to the father of the nation.
“Tech” meaning ‘technology’ and “Seva” means ‘selfless service’ for the greater good of the society. Technology can be defined as science applied to practical purposes. And when applied for the greater good of the masses, it is referred to as “Seva”. Tech4Seva will help mobilize creative abilities of technology providers- academic and research institutions, voluntary organisations, NGOs & CSR conscious corporates, facilitator organisations and entrepreneurs to provide scientific and sustainable solutions to the issues that are identified at grass-roots level through the convergence approach of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) and the ethos of Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).
UBA is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an inclusive India. Under the UBA umbrella, the concept of subject expert group (SEG) is envisaged for utilising science and technological innovation for the transformation of villages. In this context VIBHA, a science movement with swadeshi spirit, has a greater role to play. Swadeshi Science Movement was started in Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru by some eminent scientists under the guidance of Prof. K. I. Vasu. One of the founding principles of VIBHA is – Swadeshi Movement with modern sciences adapted to national needs.