Embedding technology in community-based production systems through People's Technology Initiatives: Lessons from the Indian experience

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The People's Technology Initiative (PTI) represents a radical departure from the conventional paradigm to science and technology (S&T) and rural development by providing an alternative to it. The PTI approach emerged out of the broader People's Science Movement in India, itself a backlash against what was viewed as the weak governance of science and its failure to meet the needs of the poor and enhance their productive capacities. Elements of the PTI philosophy reflect these contextual origins with an approach that seeks to build technology systems around local knowledge, resources, and economies, rather than vice versa, as is the case with conventional models of technology development. Networking as an aspect of building partnership has been a very important component in PTI - both in terms of individual initiatives and in promoting and supporting the PTI approach. Notable also is the capacity development focus of PTI in terms of enhancing the skills and technologies of poor people and linking them to sources of S&T, thereby enhancing the capacity of the local technology system. The evolutionary characteristics of this capacity development reflect the learning-based nature of the PTI approach. PTI presents a rather radical alternative to mainstream S&T and rural development initiatives. It also contains principles of partnership and learning that are of generic significance, capable of being applied to poverty reduction programmes in different countries.

Keywords: India; PTI; S&T; capacity building; co-operation; partnership; poverty reduction; rural enterprise development; rural innovation; rural poor

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijtm.4.1.3/1

Affiliations: National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (India).

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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  • The International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development supports new philosophies on technology and development, their relationship to globalisation, and the problems of world poverty and environmental degradation. The journal explores global, social, economic and environmental conditions in relation to shifts in technology and market paradigms.
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