Akodara village, located in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat, which is almost an hour away from Ahmedabad is the first Digital village of India. With a population of 1,191 people and 250 households, the village has facilities like a cashless system for payments of goods and services. Digital modes like SMS, net-banking or debit cards are used to carry out all transactions.
As we are all aware of the chaos that was caused by the imposition of demonetisation law on 8th of November, 2016. Regardless of the inconvenience faced by the country, the village has been running efficiently, since neither stores nor locals deal in cash. Thanks to the digitization!
Akodara – The First Digital Village of India
ICICI bank collaborated with the district administration for the pilot project of a digital village, as a part of Digital India programme launched by the Government of India. Under this programme, the bank has adopted Akodara village to make it digital. The concept of converting it into a digital village is based on three “Cs”: Cashless, Connected and Comprehensive.
Cashless: The village has a fully cashless environment where shops, milk producers, mandi, co-operative society can go for cashless transactions using cards. At times of emergency, ATM booths are available.
Connected: The bank has constructed a Wi-Fi tower and provided high-speed broadband connectivity throughout the village which made it easier for the villagers to make the transactions using mobile phones. A Facebook account and a website also have been created of the village.
Comprehensive: The introduction of digitized school curriculum, school management software and smart devices has made the village comprehensive. Digital boards and audio-video content are installed in the Anganwadis.
As stated by the CEO of ICICI bank, technology can eliminate all the barricades between the rural and urban people by giving a boost to the Indian GDP. She proposed that other entities should come to take a step forward and join this initiative to make our Prime Minister’s dream successful of a Digital India.
Facts About Akodara Village
Under the Digital Village Project, the bank adopted the village in 2015 and made it cashless by adopting digital technology.Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochar launched the project in January 2016 as the 60th annual celebration of ICICI group’s existence.Major transaction of villagers’ like selling agri-produce at the market or co-operative societies selling milk has been made cashless.
With 100% financial rate of the village all mobile banking is done in Hindi, Gujarati and English languages along with a personal official website.Schools of the higher, secondary and primary level at Akodara are well-equipped with computers, smart boards and tablets.In addition to Locals having savings account in ICICI bank branch, they are also provided with training by the bank to espouse digital technology.
Benefits of Digitalization
The bankers of ICICI have gone all out to showcase their vision at Akodara whether it’s embellishing the archway of the village entrance with ICICI logo or providing access to modern banking, they’ve adopted all possible strategies to transform the area.The system of going cashless has made society less susceptible to corruption and fraud.The direct transfer and easy access to their accounts have made the widows of Akodara real and significant savings, who earlier had to travel to the district headquarters by spending Rs.70 to get their monthly pension.
The introduction of Smartboards in the field of education has made the students more interested and engaged. Audio-visual and animation brings life to lessons taught at school. Electronic tablet gifted by the ICICI bank in primary schools makes it easy for children to learn Gujarati.It also helps parents to keep an eye on their children and to ensure their safety. A digital attendance system is implemented that informs parents, via SMS, whether their child has shown up or not.
How to Reach
Akodara is a small hamlet sited in North Gujarat which is about 100 km away from our Prime Minister’s hometown, Ahmedabad. It lies in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat and is 64 km away from the state capital Gandhinagar.
By Plane: Being 75.3 km away from Akodara, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport located in Ahmedabad is the nearest airport to the digital village. You can cover the distance of 75 km by hiring a cab or by a local bus.
By Train: Hapa Road railway station sited in Sabarkantha district is the closest railway station to Akodara. Within 16 mins a person can reach the destination from the railway station by taking a cab or auto-rickshaw.
By Road: The GSRTC is a Government State Transport Undertaking of Gujarat which provides buses within the state of Gujarat. With a workforce of 40,000 people, it has a fleet of 8398 buses, connecting 6 major cities of Gujarat. You can opt for a bus to reach Sabarkantha from Ahmedabad comfortably and then, hire an auto-rickshaw or a cab to reach Akodara.
The case of Akodara proves that to make Indian economy cashless, e-banking can be practically implemented in Indian villages. Our Prime Minister believes that the introduction of this model in more and more villages could lead to further growth and economic development of the country.