India is on the progressive path of development and its rural population is an integral part of this growth trajectory. As India gears up for an era of increased digitalisation, the issue of holistic and inclusive economic growth remains a pivotal concern. Hitachi , one of the leading Japanese conglomerate with a global footprint and a forerunner in digital innovation, has been an active contributor in transforming millions of Indian lives, its services reaching far beyond citizens within city limits.

While India is one of the world’s fastest-developing economy, equitable growth remains a critical imperative. The  rural population today constitutes above 45% of the national income.

In 2050, despite urbanisation, over half of India’s population will still be rural. ( Source: Changing Structure of Rural Economy of India Implications for Employment and Growth; Niti Aayog, 2017 . )

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has prioritised  radical digitalisation to induce economic inclusiveness through a host of initiatives. ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ provide for impetus and opportunity to rural citizens, to ensure they are equal participants in India’s growth story.

Hitachi - Helming a socio-economic revolution

Hitachi , with strengths in Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), bolstered by its Social Innovation Business, has been uniquely poised to assist in radical social transformation from the ground up.

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Armed with a century old legacy in the manufacturing, power and transportation sectors, and with over five decades of IT leadership, Hitachi can offer an unparalleled ‘single eye view of macro solutions’. The diversified group, with proven expertise in infrastructure, railways, energy, construction machinery, healthcare, IT, and automotive systems, has been part of India’s digital journey starting from the grassroot level.

Hitachi ’s Social Innovation Business is enabling a seamless digital transformation for the urban and vast rural citizen base in the country. The big data heavy projects it has undertaken include the digitalisation of land records; the single-window handling of grievances and maintenance of essential services; easing tax payments and government dues; along with internet-based citizen delivery of services. A lot of these directly impact a vast rural consumer base.

At the helm of the dramatic change that’s underway, Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director of Hitachi India predicts that ‘society will change much more than we ever imagined.’

Reaching Villages Remotely

Rural India has historically been at the mercy of nature, in terms of managing agricultural fortunes. What’s more, limited access to products and services, government programs and untimely funding have staggered development. Things are however changing. Digitalisation is slowly reshaping every aspect of life in villages by introducing accessible e-Governance, banking and financial services, educational and healthcare services, mobile/DTH recharge, e-Ticketing services and yes, even online shopping. ‘Brick and click’ centres are today evolving basis the new, emerging needs of rural citizens.

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Hitachi ’s engagement with rural India goes back a long way. Almost eight decades ago, when it entered India, it supplied turbines for the Bhakra Nangal project. The landmark irrigation dam has delivered enhanced crop yields of thousands of tonnes, over the years. Today, Hitachi is taking decisive strides towards digitalising India’s agricultural, social and financial landscape.

With an intent to stabilize agricultural production, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by Hitachi has helped improve productivity, and empowered farmers by using sustainable, economical and ecofriendly technology. GIS applications are being used to understand and manage crop yield estimates.  As farming relies heavily on natural inputs, which cannot be controlled, GIS applications can be used to understand and manage crop yield estimates. In May 2017, Amnex Infotechnologies Pvt Ltd was awarded the project of ‘Crop area estimation and loss assessment using remote sensing & geospatial technology for the state of Gujarat’, under the purview of the Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Ltd., a government of Gujarat undertaking. Amnex used Hitachi’s GIS platform to implement government projects.

With climatic uncertainties and socio-political fluctuations, rural India faces the daunting challenge of non-availability of credit at the right time, rate and quantum. In 2016, Government of India opened up the banking sector to rural citizens and offered licenses to small time financial institutions to function as full-fledged banks. This financial push not only  supported the farmers in further augmenting the agriculture sector but offered them financial inclusion and stability.

AU Small Finance Bank, one of the key institutions in bridging the financial gap was given an RBI license to offer its services in the capacity of a full time bank and assigned the uphill task of setting up 418 branches in 45 days! The bank partnered with Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic and overcame hurdles like remote connectivity and lack of electricity ensuring timely delivery, installation and integration with customised branch requirements. Thanks to seamless execution, all AU branches were able to supply banking services to a new world of customers.

India’s digitalisation story is no longer a remote dream. A fact which led to it garnering a place among the top 100 countries in the United Nations e-Government Development Index (EGDI) for the first time in 2018. But, for Hitachi , and for rural India, the road to success has just begun. With its unwavering commitment towards building a sustainable society, Hitachi is poised to touch more lives and make India self-reliant.

Next-Gen Governance Now.

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Hitachi is associated with newly-formed Andhra Pradesh, in the realm of Real-Time Governance (RTG). Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu intends to utilise data from IoT devices and surveillance cameras, image and video analytics along with data from departments, to implement the plan. This path breaking solution combines public safety, performance improvement and disaster relief and management. It will create a smart social environment of the future, covering services across education, healthcare, agriculture, labour and insurance. The ambitious plan of connecting multiple district offices of the state digitally was showcased at World Economic Forum at Davos in 2018.

To learn more visit - https://social-innovation.hitachi/en-in/?WT.mc_id=HBL-VillagesDigitalage

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