Formerly known as Orissa, the state of Odisha is located on the east coast of India along the Bay of Bengal. It shares its border with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The region is endowed with rich mineral resources, having a fifth of India’s coal reserves, a third of bauxite reserves and most of chromite.
The well-established, state-of-the-art industrial sector of Odisha is chiefly dominated by extractive operations, IT set-ups and medium to small scale enterprises. In fact, the state is one of the most sought after destinations in India for national as well foreign investors.
However, despite its bulk mineral reserves and steady industrial advancement, Odisha ranks one of the lowest in various developmental parameters. Majority of its population is rural, with over 60% engaged in agricultural and allied activities. People often undergo major hardships to attain even the most basic necessities, such as education, clean drinking water, sanitation, and public health services. Exceptionally backward districts of the state, such as District Kalahandi suffer from severe poverty, even leading to starvation deaths. Limited communication infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas has kept people uninformed of their rights and entitlements. Additionally, the state is ridden with persistent insurgency activities carried out by Naxalite groups. These groups mark hiding spaces in remote areas and disrupt the delivery of services to marginalised and vulnerable population.
Frequent occurrence of natural disasters in the region further aggravates the situation. Owing to its sub-tropical coastal location, Odisha is prone to tropical cyclones and floods, making it the ‘cyclone capital’ of India. These disasters hence put an additional financial burden on the state.
CIRCs realise the importance of bringing information and online services within the reach of the poor and downtrodden communities of Odisha. Mobile applications and the internet would not only make people aware of their rights and entitlements but also keep them up-to-date with national and international know-how. In order to combat the extreme poverty, it is essential to generate livelihoods within the backward regions of the state. Hence, skill building through digital education would not only capacitate rural youth for higher professions, but also enable them to explore new employment opportunities. Training and access of internet services would enable men and women from the tribal communities to explore new ideas for enhancing their current occupations and discover entrepreneurial opportunities. For instance, e-Commerce would help ethnic artisans to showcase their skills globally and hence, prosper in national and international markets.
Digital tools, such as android tablets and smartphones could be vital in improving the state of health in the under reached corners of Odisha. People could benefit from telemedicine, an advanced digital system that uses information technology to conduct remote diagnosis and treatment of patients. Additionally, internet could be used extensively to generate mass awareness regarding child nutrition, antenatal care and neonatal care, especially among the marginalised communities of the state.
CIRCs play a vital role in encouraging participation and governance among rural communities. They have been acting as equitable platforms where community members gather and exchange views on issues arising at the local level and collectively formulate viable solutions.
|Area||1.55 Lakh Sq. Km.|
|Total Population||4.19 Crore (Rural 86%)|
|Population Density||270/Sq. Km.|
|Population, 0-6 years||13%|
|Sex Ratio (per 1000 males)||979:1000 (Rural 989:1000; Urban 932:1000)|
|Total Literacy (7+ years)||72.87% (Male 81.59%; Female 64.01%)|
|Rural Literacy (7+ years)||70.22% (Male 79.65%; Female 60.74%)|
|Urban Literacy (7+ years)||85.75% (Male 90.72%; Female 80.42%)|
|Total Scheduled Caste Population*||22.13%|
|Total Scheduled Tribe Population*||16.53%|
|Total Worker Population||41.79% (Female 27.16%)|
(* The figures are according to 2001 Census)
CIRC was launched in Bhadrak district, Orissa on 1st July, 2013. It has facilitated poor students with better education and prepared them for better employment opportunities. In a time span of few months it has successfully achieved some of its goals and is gearing up for a better future.Read more.