During my vacation a couple of weeks ago, I was taken on a visit by an enthusiastic representative of an NGO called CTRD Trust to a tribal village rehabilitated by the trust. Until a few months ago, this village, located at the foothills of the Nilgiris Hills around 50 kms west of Ooty, didn’t have electricity.
Before the last state government elections, one of the parties had promised to gift a free TV to every underprivileged household in this village and everywhere else in the state. But, without electricity, the villagers wondered, how would the TVs work? Was this just one more election promise to be conveniently forgotten after the elections were over?
Ah, that was not to be!
After the elections, which the said party won, every household in this village did receive the promised free TV. And, lo and behold, the state’s electricity board (as state-owned power utilities are called in many states in India) actually “electrified” the village! So, the TVs did work — and still do!
Appears that putting the cart before the horse does work sometimes!
Is this a lesson in rural development for emerging economies? Or, is there a larger lesson here that could even apply to other fields and elsewhere in the world?