BASED INDUSTRIES AND SOCIAL IMPACT
the CSI 2000 millenium convention Dr. M.S. Swaminathan,
Chairman - M S Swaminathan Research Foundation(MSSRF), Chennai,
spoke about how technology could be used to bring meaningful development
To bring home the importance of meaningful development, he gave the
example of Gregor Mendel, who gave us the famous 'laws of genetics'.
In 1965, biologists the world over celebrated 100 years of the genetic
laws. They went to Mendel's village on this occassion.When the villagers
were asked about Mendel, they said that yes, they did remember a fellow
called Mendel who built a fire station for the village, after which
it became very convenient to fight fires. In his own village, Mendel
was not known for his genetic laws, but he was known for the fire
station he built, as the fire station was something which the people
Dr. Swaminathan spoke about Bio villages in Pondicherry,
where human-centred developments are taking place. When the MSSRF
went to Virampatnam, a fishing village near Pondicherry, they
realised that people wanted to know about information that is location-specific.
The women of Virampatnam wanted to know how the sea will behave everyday.
Because, when the men folk went out for fishing, there was always
uncertainty as to their return. Data available with the US Navy, is
used to make an announcement every day in the village about the tide.
Dr. Swaminathan also spoke about four major Divides in our country
that hamper development.
The Demographic Divide: Social
awareness has to be there, to understand population-support resources
- how much population can the available resources (land and water)
support. The local community has to be empowered to manage available
resources. If children are born out of choice and not by chance, population
will stabilise on its own.
The Economic Divide: Food insecurity,
insecurity of purchasing power and regular income. It is said that
in Asia, kidnapping is becoming a lucrative profession. The economic
divide drives young people to these desperate situations.
The Genetic Divide: Agricultural
technology, not used properly. We have large un-irrigated areas, because
of which we are still importing pulses. We should take genetic engineering
to all parts of India.
The Digital Divide: And finally the digital
divide. Computers have created a new divide in this country - those
who have access to high technology and those who don't. But the digital
revolution is the best thing to happen to us, as it is this which
is going to provide solutions to all the other divides mentioned above.
Author: Anuradha Sriraman
Photographs : V Ganesan