Vaishak Kumar, a political science major student from Penn, has come up with a new idea to boost the agricultural economy of India. He is currently experimenting this new project in the Indian state, Karnataka. If everything goes well, Kumar wants to expand this project all across the India. He is working in partnership with a local NGO firm, NESARA.
Most of the farmers in India cultivate in a small land holding which essentially generates a little income to sustain their family. Kumar explains that these farmers also don’t have an access to the bank loans, so they end up borrowing the money from local loan vendors. Since these vendors charge a high interest rate, they commonly fall in the trap of a vicious debt cycle. This is one of the major factors for suicide epidemic in India.
Kumar wants to use mobile technology to address the challenges faced by the farmers. Today, large percentage of Indian population is equipped with the mobile handsets. He aims to constantly alert the farmers about the environmental changes and certain stages of agricultural cycles through the mobile phones. He has made plan to give smart phones to selective members of a community so that they could send the pictures of the crops to scientists for the possible analysis. He believes this method could help them to take the necessary actions immediately. This could ultimately improve the agricultural yield and hopefully pay a better income. Kumar says NESARA will also conduct financial counseling campaigns for the farmers.
This splendid project has won Penn’s Presidential Engagement Prize. The development of this project would not only aid the farmers in India, but also across the whole South Asia. Kumar’s innovative ideology could, in fact, transform the economic conditions in the rural agricultural field.