A 69-year old agriculturalist from North Karnataka stunned Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with his suggestions of using technology to boost transparency in agricultural claims, at a pre-budget meeting with members of the farming community.
B M Hanasi, the owner of a 7-acre plot in Shirol village, questioned the CM as to why the government wasn’t making use of Google Earth (to gather the coordinates) and WhatsApp (for communication) to accurately assessing the extent of crop damage in the state.
While other farmers 100 odd farmers demanded waiver of loans and desilting of tanks, Hanasi emphasised the use of technology to reduce corruption where officials were misleading farmers to smartly ‘pocket’ the crop damage compensation money.
“Sometimes, officials and agents take pictures of four or five farmers in the same crop-damaged field by making them stand in different corners. Even if you have not grown the damaged crop, they will project that you have grown it and lost it due to a calamity. The money pocketed through fraudulent claims is huge,” Hanasi explained.
Further he stressed on the lack of efficiency in farmers receiving compensation, which currently is sent to the insurance company, which in turn sends it to the deputy commissioner, making it a lengthy procedure.
Hanasi said the latitude and longitude coordinates on Google Earth can help the government accurately map the survey number of fields, while officials equipped with data enabled devices can send photos of the crop to their officials via WhatsApp.
When quizzed about how Hanasi had grown so tech savvy, he attributed his learnings to students he met on the bus from his village to Hubli or Dharwad. They’d use their smartphones to explore their current location and route, while also sharing photos with each other on WhatsApp.
Having engaged in conversations with them as to how the technology worked, he’d experiment using his son’s smartphone at home, and eventually learned to locate places based on their latitude and longitude using Google Maps.[Article/Image source: Bangalore Mirror]