Digital Transformations for Business and Society

Digital Technologies in Agricultural Productivity   

Agricultural output per worker in India significantly lags developed and other ascendant economies of the world. As of 2017, the agricultural sector in India employed nearly 55% of India’s workforce but contributed to only 15% of the country’s GDP and 12% of the country’s total exports. Failure to increase labor productivity in agriculture constrains economic growth by raising the costs of shifting labor and other resources from the farm to the factory as development proceeds. Prior empirical research attributes differences in labor productivity in agriculture to one of: (a) resource endowments, (b) technology, and (c) human capital. Previous research on technology-induced improvements in agricultural productivity has largely focused on the role of agricultural technologies such as advances in equipment, seed and fertilizer, better water management and transplanting, and new land management and intensification technologies. Our interest lies in focusing on the relatively unexamined role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in improving agricultural productivity.  

Digital Technologies for Digital literacy 

DT acts as the very currency that drives a wider, more global access to knowledge. Whatever the paradigm, digital literacy carries with it the potential for far wider consequences on literacy, learning, employability, skilling and professional growth. The emphasis on developing skills in the workplace has predominantly been centered around or restricted to developing physical infrastructure or fine tuning specific skill sets. Developing information literacy and critical thinking skills through domain knowledge have often been poorly understood and not well recognized. Acknowledging this vacuum, multiple initiatives have been launched from academic institutions, corporate entities and government bodies to specifically address the digital divide that exists.  While the standard digital literacy curriculum is developed by Government of India, the implementation modalities, differences in the infrastructural conditions, technical and language capabilities (to explain across English, Hindi and other Indian vernacular languages) across training partners and volunteers across various regions are expected to contribute to systematic differences especially in the quality of training received by citizens across centers. SRITNE has already submitted two proposals to assess the impact of digital literacy programs in the Pune City region and in the Telangana state. 

Digitization of Public Distribution Systems

Public distribution of essential commodities had been in existence in India during the inter-war period. PDS, with its focus on distribution of food grains in urban scarcity areas, had emanated from the critical food shortages of 1960s. PDS had substantially contributed to the containment of rise in food grains prices and ensured access of food to urban consumers. As the national agricultural production had grown in the aftermath of Green Revolution, the outreach of PDS was extended to tribal blocks and areas of high incidence of poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, the central government, with the help of several state governments, has embarked on an ambitious initiative towards the end-to-end digital transformation of the PDS supply chain to address these sources of inefficiency. A key component of this initiative is the digitisation of the beneficiary database and linking ration cards to Aadhaar numbers, referred to as ‘Aadhaar seeding’.  This process intends to weed out duplicate cards in the system and also prevent the creation of new ones in the future. Another key component, complementary to Aadhaar seeding, is the use of point of sale (POS) devices at FPSs. These devices help to reduce the diversion of grains by enabling authentication of beneficiaries through linkage to Aadhaar and biometric details,accurate recording of the quantity of grains sold to beneļ¬ciaries through the integrated weighing machine, and uploading of transaction data to the central server. SRITNE has an ongoing project with the Government of Andhra on the impact of Aadhaar on the PDS. Data collected from Andhra Pradesh districts at the household-month and distributor-month level for the time period 2010 – 2017 would inform this study.

TS Class

Telangana State Computer Literacy and Skills in Schools (TS-CLASS) aims to leverage technology to improve education outcomes in government schools, by providing computer literacy & skills to teachers and students. TS-CLASS initiative consists primarily of
Mana TV: Mana TV is an exclusive state channel that broadcasts grade specific academic content videos made by state accredited teachers teaching the content mostly in Telugu at scheduled times. Content is also available on YouTube for free though T-SAT
K-YAN: K-YAN is a multifunctional device that works as a projector, with a hard disk, and internet capability. It streams online content, as well as plays videos from hard disk.TS-CLASS initiative came to effect in November 2016 and Indian School of Business is conducting a study to assess the impacts of TS-CLASS initiative on Telangana government high schools

Research Papers:
1Tanuk, Ghoshal  “Examining the Use of Mobile Apps and Social Media for Nutritional Information in India: the role of Motivation and Message Farming”  
2Arunachalam, S“Impact of Firm Initiated Technological Enablers on Engagement and Effectiveness of Village Level Entrepreneurs in Bottom of the Pyramid Markets” 
3Mani, Deepa; 
Banerjee, Shankhadeep 
“Smart City Maturity Model”2015