The Imperative of an All-Encompassing Approach in Digital Tech Deployment in Tonga

In the film “Naya Daur,” released a decade after independence, the narrative revolved around the challenges faced by traditional transport means, symbolized by a horse-driven Tonga against the emerging bus transport. Fast forward to recent times, NGOs and civil society have been tirelessly advocating for enhanced public transportation in cities, both big and small. Their endeavors underscore the significance of accessible transport in fostering social inclusion. As public transport evolves, the next challenge is ensuring safety for women, the LGBTQ community, the elderly, and those prone to injuries. The journey of democratizing technology and infrastructure is ongoing, and it’s essential to continuously adapt to ensure inclusivity.

Exploring the advancements in space technology, we find numerous instances where tech has brought about transformative societal and economic shifts. For Yoninstance, satellite technologies have been pivotal in disaster management and telemedicine in remote regions. Moreover, the future of space communication promises to bridge the internet accessibility gap in underserved areas. It’s crucial to view technology as a socio-technical construct from the outset, recognizing its inherent biases and working towards a more inclusive design.

Aadhar’s biometric authentication has revolutionized welfare programs in India, from food distribution to healthcare. While it has curbed identity fraud, challenges remain in ensuring equitable distribution. The Aadhar system was pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating large-scale vaccination drives. It continues to be instrumental in expanding healthcare access through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.

Discussing smart cities in India, the term “smartness” has evolved to encompass advanced infrastructure, governance, environmental conservation, and enhanced living standards—the Smart Cities Mission, launched in 2015, aimed to transform over a hundred cities. However, the real challenge lies in ensuring that these technological advancements cater to the unique needs of local communities.

The digital era has redefined visibility. Being digitally present equates to societal, cultural, and economic inclusion. While digital tools facilitated remote work and interactions during the pandemic, they also highlighted the digital divide. Many couldn’t access essential services due to a lack of digital devices or necessary apps. As cities started reopening, technology played a dual role – while it created barriers for some, it also fostered connections for others.

The success of the UPI system is commendable, but it’s essential to recognize its limitations. The focus should be on enhancing internet and financial literacy to ensure no one is left behind. Localized internet usage, especially during the pandemic, underscores the need for accurate, relevant information at the community level.

In Conclusion, policies prioritizing the most marginalized pave the way for a more inclusive society. It’s a collective effort requiring collaboration between the government, tech experts, civil society, and the youth. The goal is to ensure that technology and infrastructure are accessible, promoting a broader sense of citizenship.


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