Reluctance towards technology- an analysis
13 Dec 2018 | 11:03 PM | R Sai Jayaraman
Agricultural sector is the fulcrum of Indian economic growth, contributing majorly to the country’s GDP. From recent surveys, it’s been estimated that over 58% of rural Indians depend on agriculture for their livelihood and this sector contributes around 17-18% to the country’s GDP. Extrapolating using the data from 2011 census which states two-third on India’s population lives in rural areas, it can be assumed that it generates a considerably significant amount of employment opportunities. It is safe to conclude that the sector plays a pivotal role in the nation’s development.
Akin to every other sector, agriculture has been subjected to changes over the years although the extent to which it has been is comparatively lower. Particularly, technological developments and innovations, of which most of them, if not all, receive comparatively higher amount of repulsion. This general mindset can be attributed to a number of economic, societal and psychological factors.
The human tendency to stick to something, a text-book method or something that has been common for decades can be considered one of the primary reasons to oppose any new technology or ‘change’. With a large amount of experimental data (say the yield of a certain crop over a decade or so) to back up their stand of following tried and tested, successful traditional and conventional methods, farmers tend to continue using conventional methods. The time involved in learning to adapt for new methods and develop new skills accordingly amount to the decision of following conventional methods.
Secondly, the general myth of risk factors assumed to be involved in an unfamiliar method- inadvertently causing a repulsion which may lead to rejection of the newly proposed method. To put it in layman’s words, the constant ‘what if’ questions that keep raising. What if this method fails? What if it is not economically beneficial? What if it is not useful in a longer run? Although technology nowadays doesn’t come out to the market unless and until every possible attribute is analyzed, lack of awareness of farmers and the lack of communication help spread the myth of disadvantages of technology.
Apart from these psychological factors, one might as well have to consider the societal factors involved. In a country like India steeped with and influenced by traditions and emotions, something much more than experimental proof is needed to win the belief of farmers. It is also to be noted that farming is more of a way of living that a mere occupation in India. There is a possibility that any change in the method of farming or whatsoever pertaining to farming will affect one emotionally. Say a farmer accepts to adopt a different method- chances are high that he’ll be criticized for not following the tradition. Besides the aforementioned factors, economic limitations should be considered too. Adopting new methods might require cost of establishment and although agriculture is vital to Indian economy, a farmer in general will not be in a financially stable state to afford new technology.
Though there are solutions to economic constraints and the other factors mentioned above, lack of proper infrastructure, lack of communication and lack of awareness add up to the reluctance towards accepting technology.