04 December, 2020

Calling Rural India

Villages, long neglected by DoT, go cellular as private operators tap a nascent market

Calling Rural India

The creased forehead with sweat pouring down his face tells the story of the long day he has had. The grey hair makes Nathi Singh, farmer at Pisawa village in Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, look older than the 50-something summers that he has lived. But Singh exists as a mere statistic in government records, taken into account only when it's time for his produce to be bought by the government for storage in its warehouses. Better prices, better markets were only a dream. To find out the trend of prices, the farmer would have to travel all the way to some of the nearby markets. At times, after he had found out the prices prevailing on one day, he'd despatch the goods the next day only to find that the prices had fallen marginally. The village had no means which could help Singh get the information. And so, market forces played havoc with the meagre earnings of Nathi Singh's family.

Today the scenario has changed. Even as his produce is being loaded on a truck, the farmer calls up various wholesale marketsóJaipur, Delhi, Agra, Palwal and sometimes Mumbaióto find out...



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