This month, DEF and Nokia are happy to initiate their Smart Village rural entrepreneurship-based project based on a hub-and-spoke model in Nuh (Haryana) and Asoor (Tamil Nadu). It is a model concept that has been conceptualised in a manner that challenges and redefines the existing idea of smart villages, which is based more on the availability of digital infrastructure but not as much on the integration of the infrastructure into the daily lives. We believe that the mere availability of digital tools and Internet connectivity alone does not make a village smart.
Instead, it is the integration and optimum utilisation of these resources for social, ecological and economic impact that truly makes a smart village, and digitally strengthens six pillars of development——health, education, livelihood, governance, finance and entertainment.
Smart Village is a concept designed for a sampoorna gaon (holistic village) or a digitally-integrated ecosystem where people leverage digital tools to bring efficiency in daily lives, transparency in governance, economic prosperity into their households, and ease of access to various kinds of services and information within their communities. Initiated by DEF and supported by Nokia, Smart Village project is a one-year pilot project based on a hub-and-spoke model under which rural entrepreneurs at the hub centres will provide primary services under six key areas of development—health, education, livelihood, governance, finance and entertainment—while rural entrepreneurs at the spoke centres will further redistribute these services in their respective villages. The project aims to create long term impact in six development pillars and create digitally-equipped and information-rich communities.