The voluntary sector in India has played a major role in rural development, through mobilizing communities and catalyzing people’s initiatives for change, as well as through direct implementation of interventions around specific issues. Formal recognition of the role of voluntary organisations in the Seventh Plan documented to the formation of the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) in 1986, as a nodal agency for catalysing and coordinating the emerging partnership between voluntary organisations and the Government for sustainable development of rural areas.
CAPART was formed by amalgamating two agencies the ‘Council for Advancement of Rural Technology’ (CART) and People’s Action for Development India (PADI). CAPART is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860,and is functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. Today, this agency is a major promoter of rural development in India, assisting over 12,000 voluntary organizations across the country in implementing a wide range of development initiatives.
CAPART works with the objective of improving the quality of life in the rural areas, particularly the poor and socially disadvantaged sections of society. Thus, people below the poverty line, people belonging to the scheduled castes and tribes, bonded labour, women and people with disabilities are priority focus groups for CAPART.
The major goals of CAPART are:
- To support voluntary organisations in implementing projects for sustainable development in rural areas.
- To act as a national nodal point for development and promotion of appropriate rural technologies.
- To promote and support voluntary action and people’s participation for rural development, through capacity-building for voluntary organisations and rural communities.
- To act as a data bank and clearing house for information on the voluntary sector, rural technologies and rural development.
- Facilitating community action for development.
- Building awareness on critical development issues.
- Building and strengthening village-level people and organisations.
- Promoting the development and dissemination of appropriate rural technologies.
- Strengthening the capacities of voluntary organisations in rural areas.
- Creating employment opportunities and economic self-reliance.
- Creation of community assets and fulfilment of basic needs.
- Conservation and regeneration of the environment and natural resources.
- Enabling women, persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups to participate in development
Space technologies like satellites already contribute to the society and are behind consumer services such as ATM, television, weather forecasting and navigation. Satellites like the Mars orbiter have indirect benefits through innovations in energy storage. India is part of an international coordination group of 12 countries that have set 2030 as a deadline for colonising Mars. The scientific community in India is also developing a plan on what the country would want from Mars. The community needs to give the requirements to ISRO which would then plan the next move. Another mission is likely in 2018, 2020 or 2022.
Researchers are trying to develop crops which would grow well in changed climate in the future. They are looking for plants which grow better in, say, higher carbon monoxide or in sunny conditions. For example, sugarcane grows better in sunny environment. In the coming years, wasteland development would be of paramount importance and researchers are looking for crops which can grow in degraded land. In the future, emphasis has to be on using natural products. For this we need to quickly create inventories of plants, animals and microbes in India. This would help us identify wild relatives of cultivated plants which can be used for useful traits.
In the next few years, we are likely to see a change in the way energy is used and stored. The focus is likely to be on renewable like solar, wind and biogas. Storing this energy is also going to see changes. Energy would need to be generated and consumed in a distributed manner. Just like the milk cooperatives, we can look forward to hydrogen cooperatives. The shift to this energy would happen in both homes and in applications like transport.
n the next decade, efforts have to be made to develop low cost technologies. In the future, we can look forward to indigenous hydrocarbon-based technologies for refrigeration and air conditioning. This would be help combat climate change.