Indonesia Smart Village: Technology helps connect small villages to established communities
The Boao Forum for Asia opens in just a few days, and with the theme of an open and innovative Asia, our correspondent Silkina Ahluwalia explores a program called Smart Village in Indonesia. Nearly 200 villages in Banyuwangi, East Java are equipped with the necessary technologies to make lives easier for the residents there. It's a big step in the country's infrastructure development.
This may look like an ordinary village. However, it is anything but. Residents at the Ketapang Village in Banyuwangi, East Java are a part of a new local government program known as "Smart Village".
The main aim of this program is to make public service easy using technology. The local government and village administrators wanted to cut down on bureaucracy. Now residents are able to create important documents just by using a mobile application.
The program also helps expand local economies by supporting homegrown businesses. Residents can directly order and connect with small businesses through online websites. This may sound common for people living in big cities, but for these small villages, it is considered a big step towards Indonesia's development.
BUDI SANTOSO, HEAD BANYUWANGI COMMUNICATION & INFORMATICS AGENCY "We have to start to keep up with the times. If we don't, we will be left behind. We are in the era where our residents don't just want service, they want service that is easy and convenient. We have a mission to be able to provide services to the villages that are in the hard-to-reach areas. All they have to do is go to their administrator's office and there will be computers there for them to search for everything they need."
189 villages in Banyuwangi are already equipped with the technology of the Smart Village program. This means that the residents that are a part of those villages are able to solve all of their administrative problems through the internet.
SILKINA AHLUWALIA BANYUWANGI, EAST JAVA "Although this initiative is still evolving, it is already improving the lifestyle of many residents here. By encouraging digitization of this extent, even the smallest of villages can directly connect with well-established communities around the city."
That is a huge improvement for a developing nation like Indonesia, where small provinces and villages make up most of the country. This proves that infrastructure is massively progressing and is continuing to develop.
SEMMY PANGERAPAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL MINISTRY OF COMMUNCIATION & INFORMATICS "This Smart City or Small Village program creates a conducive environment for businesses to transform as well. It helps provide opportunities for everyone who is interested in being a part of building Indonesia's economy. So we are pushing for inclusivity. We are no longer connecting people with certain companies, but we are connecting people directly with people."
The Smart Village program eliminates the thinking that small rural areas are unreachable or forgotten. This initiative shows that with the technologies present, small villages can be a big part of Indonesia's growing economy. Silkina Ahluwalia, CGTN, Banyuwangi, East Java.