New Delhi: Farmers can save about Rs600 crore over the next five years through mobile broadband-based services which provide them with quick information on market prices and vital crop inputs, says a report.
Getting information quickly on best prices and cultivation practises, with special focus on areas like plant protection from diseases and weather-related damage, will help farmers take fast decisions, saving them about Rs600 crore by 2015, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report said.
Lack of information on effective practises is leading to huge losses in the agriculture sector, said the consultation agency in its report titled ‘Mobile Broadband-Outlook 2015’.
Between 1991 and 2009, the share of agriculture in India’s GDP declined by around 14%, whereas that of services rose by over 20%.
The report pointed out that mobile telephony would be a more convenient means of communication, as penetration of wireline infrastructure remains low in rural India.
A vast majority of rural Indians are also involved in farming-related activities like animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing and poultry farming.
Therefore, access to information on prices, weather conditions and other productivity enhancement measures would drive adoption of mobile broadband by rural India.
PwC said that better rollout economics of mobile broadband can enable the Government to reach out to many more villages with common service centres (CSC).
CSCs are kiosks that are managed by entrepreneurs, who charge a nominal fee for services rendered.
More than 60,000 CSCs have already been set up across the country.
The roll-out of 3G cellular services and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) technologies, with better rollout economics, can enable the government to reach all 6,00,000 villages with CSCs.
PwC said the access to mobile broadband telephony will help rural India in Internet browsing, information access, mobile-commerce, music, tele medicine, tele education and government services.
Mobile broadband will also increase the penetration of rural Internet kiosks services such as ITC’s e-choupal, which are currently available over limited geography mainly due to lack of wireline infrastructure, it added.