There are more than 600,000 villages in India and around 700 million people live
in villages. Many villages are relatively deprived in terms of basic amenities and
services, especially those related to education, health, sanitation and empowerment.
There is a need to improve the quality of life in villages to achieve overall national
Indian Space Programme started in early 60’s has become largely self-reliant with
capability to design and build satellites for providing space services and to launch
those using indigenously designed and developed launch vehicles. Over the years,
India has achieved a notable progress in the design, development and operation of
space systems, as well as, using them for vital services like telecommunications,
television & radio broadcasting, meteorology, disaster warning as well as natural
resources mapping, monitoring and management.
Department of Space/ISRO has evolved many useful applications emanating from the
Space Technology. While Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system continues to provide
regular services in the areas of telecommunications, business communication, broadcasting
and meteorological services, several initiatives
have been taken to expand the application
of INSAT to new areas like Telemedicine. ISRO has also been a champion in demonstrating
the use of space technology for societal good and has piloted several socially relevant
space application projects like the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment
(SITE), the Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC) and the Jhabua
Development Communications Project (JDCP).
With seven satellites, Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS)-1C, IRS-1D, IRS-P3,
IRS-P4, Resourcesat, Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) and CARTOSAT-I, in operation,
India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites today providing
data in a variety of spatial resolutions and spectral bands. The data is used for
various applications in the fields of agriculture, forestry, ground and surface
water, drought assessment and monitoring, flood mapping, land use and coastal studies
etc. Space technology, as the powerful enabler, provides alternate route for holistic
and rapid rural development. India has been among the world leaders, in the areas
developing end-to-end capability for both remote sensing and communication satellites.
The space-based remote sensing will get further fillip with the launch of CARTOSAT-2
and Radar Satellite - RISAT.
ISRO has been interacting for the last three decades with the Planning Commission,
Departments of Central Government and State Governments, District Authorities, academia,
industries, NGOs and others to effectively utilize the space applications for national
As mentioned above, space technologies - satellite based communication and remote
sensing has demonstrated their capabilities to provide services related to health
care, education, weather, land and water resources, agriculture etc. To provide
these space-based services to the rural areas, Department of Space has initiated
a programme to set up Village Resource Centres (VRCs) in partnership with concerned
state, central agencies and NGOs.
Space based services, emanating from Satellite Communication (SatCom) and Remote
Sensing satellites hold considerable value to transform village society. Remote
Sensing enables community centric spatial information up to cadastral level in terms
of geo-referenced land record, natural resources, suitable sites for potable/drinking
water as well as recharge, incidence of wastelands for reclamation through rural
employment creation, watershed attributes, environment, infrastructure related information,
alternate cropping pattern, water harvesting etc. Synthesizing spatial information
with other collateral and weather information, Remote Sensing also facilitates locale
specific community advisory services. Disaster management support, community based
vulnerability and risk related information, early warning and extreme weather information
dissemination mechanisms provide reliable disaster management support at the village
level. In order to disseminate the services emanating from the space systems as
well as other Information Technology (IT) tools, to the rural communities, a partnership
between ISRO and Development Alternatives was formed
The Development Alternatives (DA) Group comprises Development Alternatives and its
associate organizations in India: Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA),
TARAhaat Information and Marketing Services Ltd., TARA Nirman Kendra and Decentralized
Energy Systems India Ltd. The DA Group, a pioneer sustainable development enterprise
was established in 1983 as a not for profit research, development and action organization.
With two decades of experience and over 400 professionals, the DA Group has had
a profound impact on the creation of sustainable livelihoods, specifically in the
innovation and application of appropriate technologies and their distribution through
micro enterprises in rural India. It is recognized by the Ministry of Science and
Technology as a scientific research institution.
Over the years, the DA Group has built up several initiatives and networks at the
field level in different parts of the country. The partnerships established with
over 500 NGOs and rural entrepreneurs across Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh,
Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra will be of particular interest to the VRC Programme.
TARAhaat was established as a social enterprise dedicated to bridging the digital
divide between rural communities and the mainstream economy. It provides village
communities particularly the youth, access to information and livelihood opportunities
comparable to those available in urban India. A broad portfolio of services is offered
through TARAkendras – the community knowledge cum business centre. Initial focus
has been on vocational training, community development, information and e-governance
through a host of programmes customized for local communities (e.g. TARAchetna,
TARAMeljol). The next generation of services focuses on the promotion of micro and
small enterprises through a unique Enterprise Development Programme.
The entire network is underpinned by a sustainable business model. Customers pay
a fair price while multiple revenue streams ensure financial viability of each TARAkendra.
The unique franchising model ensures that the bulk of the profits reside with the
local franchisee, accelerating growth of the centre. A robust training and support
structure ensures the operational success of franchisees. At the same time, the
social enterprise model ensures a balance between revenue and delivery of social