“Radio Bultoo” is the Chhattisgarh’s version of disseminating information through bluetooth-enabled mobile phones in local languages. It uses mobile phone and digital technology for effective communication in rural areas particularly among farmers.
Since transfer of files including the voice recording through bluetooth is free, this has gained popularity in some parts of Chhattisgarh.
People can record their views, complaints or even songs and music using their ordinary mobile phones.
These are then converted to internet-based radio programmes and this is transmitted to panachyats that have broadband services. The radio programmes downloaded by a web-enabled mobile handset are shared with everyone in a village or community through bluetooth and that is without any cost.
Radio Bultoo Speaks Local Dialect
Collector of Chhattisgarh’s Balrampur-Ramanujganj district Alex Paul Menon recently told the Times of India that rather than broadcasting a radio programme, they are working on narrow-casting of programmes in local dialect. “Bultoo is one part of the larger initiative that we have undertaken. First, such radio programmes help us save the ‘dying’ local dialect and local content. Secondly, people understand things better in their dialect. Any message including Swachh Bharat has greater impact when people get them through the dialect that they understand,” he added.
The real challenge is to replicate the example in a larger scale by taking broadband to each and every panchayat and using the narrow-casting of radio programme to bridge the gap between people and administration.
There is a need to adopt the best solutions that have been found at local level and that was the central idea behind highlighting this unique initiative in Chhattisgarh.
Radio Bultoo Welcomes Apps
There is a suggestion that private sector should come forward to develop smart mobile apps to help the farmers. In the first year 300 such apps can be developed and in three years 2,000 such apps should be available for farmers to use. They have also suggested the government assists in development of hand-held devices through start-ups that can be used for carrying out soil, seed and fertilizer testing in a big way.
This is a smart communication revolution.
The mobile phone is common in every household even in this remote Adivasi district. People earlier used it only to make calls. Now, they also use it to report on the happenings around them and to listen to the “Bultoo radio”.
If wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) haven’t been paid, if forest right deeds have not been distributed, they report about it in Kuduk. Once the messages get recorded on a central computer connected via the Internet, they also get translated into Hindi and English.
Then it reaches officers such as Collector Alex Paul Menon, who was once abducted by the Maoists, and also reaches each gram panchayat. One person from each village comes to the gram panchayat office every day and downloads the daily programme of “Bultoo radio” on his mobile phone and shares it with all villagers upon return.
For a detailed report please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CGNet_Swara