Digital Technologies in Agricultural Productivity

Research Partner- Large IT Firm

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. 
Digitization of Public Distribution Systems
Research Partner- Government of India 
With its first Aadhaar enrollment in September 2010, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been instrumental in enrolling and creating unique Aadhaar numbers for Indian citizens at a significant pace and coverage across the country. By April 2017, more than 1.13 billion Indian citizens (nearly 90% of the country’s population) were issued Aadhar numbers! Among many other benefits, Aadhaar has been particularly impactful for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes that provide social protection (LPG, food, kerosene and fertilizer subsidies, employment guarantees, pension schemes, scholarships, etc.) to India’s poor and deserving beneficiaries. It is estimated that more than INR. 2.4 lakh crore ($36 billion) of social protection expenditures uses Aadhaar in one or more ways. As of June 2017, 37 different schemes are leveraging Aadhaar Payment Bridge and Aadhaar enabled services touching nearly 342 Crore Indian beneficiaries. While there is enough evidence that Aadhaar is increasingly being used as the digital infrastructure through which social and financial transfers are being provisioned across India, its impact is not thoroughly studied, well-understood or documented in a cohesive and/or comprehensive way. In recent times, there is increased reporting that these two schemes have had success in leveraging Aadhaar ecosystem in protecting leakages of food grains and LPG cylinders by reducing bogus/duplicate ration cards and malpractices. There is a clear case to better understand how Aadhaar and its eco-system has been instrumental especially in ensuring accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud for two of the major social protection and welfare schemes (PAHAL and PDS).
Industry Innovation Capability Survey
Research Partner- Large Pharma Firm
Innovation is fundamental to firm performance. Yet, little is known about the nature and sources of innovation in Indian firms. here is also a lack of understanding of the unique nature of Business Model Innovation in India, which seems to be the key to thrive in the Indian business environment.
To shed light on the Indian innovation scene, researchers at SRITNE use a detailed survey to document different types of innovation in Indian firms (product/process/marketing/organisational/business model innovation), modes of protection of IP (patents/trade secrets/copyrights, etc), sources of innovation (internal R&D/contract R&D, etc), and returns to innovation. We also try to uncover the process of Reverse Innovation in the context of multinational firms where the innovation in an Indian subsidiary is used in the parent country.
We intend to administer this survey across a range of organisations - established firms, startups, multinational subsidiaries, etc. The outputs from our study will inform both the industry and policymakers about drivers of innovation in India and build a conducive environment to promote innovation.
Digital skilling
Research Partner- Large IT Firm
Poverty and unemployment contribute to slow progress of our nation. To reduce poverty the youths employable are identified and trained in a large scale. The Ministry of Rural Development  (MoRD), Government of India has been laying special emphasis on skill development as means to poverty alleviation to fill the employment potential of 70 million jobs that is expected to be created during the 11th Plan (2007-12). It has been providing grant-in-aid to various State Governments, NGOs and Corporates to undertake employment linked skill development programmes. Coverage of the beneficiaries from various categories such as, age, gender, religion, caste, economic, educational background etc. Socio-economic aspects of beneficiaries before and after the programme. Career advancement / prospects of the beneficiaries after training & Placement. Extent of financial contribution of the beneficiaries from the salaries as support income for their families. Economic status of the family pre and post training of the beneficiaries. Adherence to terms and conditions indicated in the sanction order and retention / tracking of placed candidates. Comparative analysis of the training and employment outcomes for pass-outs of the training centres and those individuals who dropped out or did not take trainings. Feedback from key stakeholders – MORD, NIRD, Placement-Partners etc.Swot (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the programme and suggestions.
 
Connecting Rural Governing Bodies using ICT
Research Partner- Government of Telangana
"The Government of Telangana has recognised the importance of connecting rural governing bodies given the distance penalty that often accompanies a rural location. Named as the Telangana Fiber Grid (T Fiber), the project undertaken by the Government of Telangana aims to provide affordable yet high speed connectivity through digital infrastructure to 47lakh households in 10 Zones (31 Districts), 584 Mandals, and 8778  Gram  Panchayats  of  the  State  of  Telangana. To showcase the capabilities of the T -Fiber, a demonstration network called the Technology demonstration network [TDN] was created by integrating Government to Citizen services [G2C] such as MeeSeva,T-Wallet,  IPTV  and  IP-Phone  services and Government  to Government services [G2G] like ePanchyat, eAgriculture, TeleMedicine, eEducation and Video  Conferencing. The Telangana Government further envisages the network to accord greater efficiency in Government transactions, better traffic management systems, ease of access by citizens to Government records as well as well-ordered functioning of mandatory public services.
Block chain
Block Chain in Transport
Research Partner- Government of Andhra Pradesh
Urban population in India generates over two thirds of the country’s income and about 90% of the government revenues. As more and more parts of the country are urbanized, the momentum of growth can be sustained only if the towns and cities run efficiently. The efficiency of any region largely depends on the transport system. 
Although cities in India have lower number of vehicles per capita compared to developed nations, they suffer from worse conditions of pollution, road accidents and traffic congestion. In order to deal with current circumstances entailing traffic congestion, minimize air pollution and road accidents, it is necessary that we strive towards a better transport management system.
 
We are interested in looking into the current challenges faced by the transport department and how they can be addressed by revising the processes and introduction of blockchain in the ecosystem and the integration of blockchain in various processes such as vehicle registration, vehicle transfer, tax management, traffic congestion, emission check, driver’s license, tenders, auction and toll road management.
 
We are interested how the introduction of this new technology can benefit both the stakeholders in the transport department and the citizens.
Block Chain in Land Registry System
Research Partner- Government of Andhra Pradesh
Today, land ownership can be determined through a set of documents that include the record of rights (RoR), the registered sale deed, survey documents, and property tax receipts. RoR includes details such as the name of the land holder, the number and size of the plot area and revenue rate (for agricultural land). Registered sale deed records the buyers, sellers and other details of all the transactions including tax payment concerned with the area. Survey documents record the geographical boundaries and provide a proof of the property in the government records.  In the last three decades, in an attempt to improve the quality of land records, and make them more accessible, the central government has implemented various schemes for the modernization of land records that involved digitization of maps, and integration of textual and spatial data, computerization of all existing land records, surveys etc. In spite, of various attempts by the government to digitize the process, a report by The Ease of Doing Business (2015) observed that the pace of advancement and digitization has been slow and process of digitization alone is not sufficient for making the system run smoothly. In addition to digitization, we need to automate and integrate processes to reduce dependencies and make the system more transparent. Hence, there is a need to redesign the existing processes involved in land registration system. 
 
We are interested how blockchain can be implemented to automate the long processes involved in land registry system through smart contracts where the scope, resources, deadlines and responsibilities of a task can be outlined clearly. Such a setup would reduce dependencies and instill accountability in the stakeholders and the employees.