The economic development of developing countries is hindered, in no small measure, by their technological backwardness and their lack of indigenous technological capabilities to master the absorption of new technologies. Despite the efforts made in recent years to study the technological transformation of developing countries in the process of their industrialization and growth, very little, if any, evidence exists of the nature and extent of the technological transformation of rural areas, which are generally bypassed by the advances of science and technology. This book presents a conceptual model of the process of commercialization of rural technologies in developing countries, and then tests this model against some of the case studies of India's experience. On the basis of a review of various policy instruments and programmes, the study concludes that India has placed far more emphasis on the survival of small-scale production units than on ensuring their efficiency and growth in a competitive environment. It also notes the lack of any explicit rural technology policy. After a general analysis of the effects of policies and institutions, case studies of a central governmental institution (KVIC) and selected non-governmental organizations examine their respective roles and performance in technological transformation. These are followed by five case studies of specific rural technologies - two on biogas systems, one each on woodstoves and mini grain mills, which relate to food production and processing (the forward production linkage) and farm machinery as an input to agriculture (the backward production linkage). One of the main constraints in India to giving meaning and reality to the "appropriate technology" has been the lack of interest on the part of scientific and technological institutions in undertaking work on appropriate technology development and upgrading. The efforts made by the Indian Institute of Science in this direction are unique, and need to be emulated by similar institutions if technological transformation of rural India is to become a reality. Technological improvements of rural traditional technologies call for inputs of modern science and technology which are not possessed either by the governmental bodies or by the AT groups and other related NGOs.
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