Not many would be aware that the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad has a well established Rural Technology Park (RTP). Here, several relevant and user-friendly technologies are showcased which are useful for improving rural livelihoods.Training is given to interested budding entrepreneurs for their skill up-gradation. After training, they are also assisted, so that they can start their enterprises.The Institute has adopted more than 100 villages across the country where innovative ideas are implemented.Current focus"We are also focusing on "Make in India" theme. The idea is to identify critical gaps and address them by enhancing the quality and marketability of the products having an eye on market demand."As the Indian market itself is so huge, rural producers can tap it and in the process, create enormous value for their enterprises. This is a very important step, especially in creating opportunities for the rural youth across the country and also addressing the current unemployment scenario," says Dr. M.V.Rao, Director General, NIRD.For example, the Institute is promoting the concept of harnessing solar energy at a big level. Solar street lights have become very popular in all the villages adopted by the Institute.Lights have been installed in all these villages with community involvement."Earlier a solar street light used to cost more than Rs.20,000, but thanks to innovative designs, the cost is now reduced to less than Rs.4,000 and several such lights have been installed in remote villages in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra," says Dr. Rao.Preserving food stuffTee Wave, a technology partner with the Institute is working on this concept for preserving vegetables, fruits and fish.Unlike traditional motors and appliances which run on high electricity, these appliances run on very low power DC motors. Hence, these are very useful in remote areas where electricity is a problem. For crops like soya, Saraswathi Mahila Gruha Udyog, a sort of self help group, has been created which is manufacturing a lot of products like soya milk, papad and soya powder.Honey beeThose interested in honey bee rearing can visit the honey house to learn how to set up bee boxes, honey extraction and value addition. NIRD has been training hundreds of entrepreneurs in bee-keeping as well as honey collection and preservation.Another component is the training programmes in bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides. This is fast finding a lot of popularity among the farmers from several states.Emphasis is placed on how to manufacture bio inputs because sourcing inputs is a big problem for growers on time.The institute conducts training on neem based enterprises and vermi-composting as these are eco-friendly and are preferred in organic farming.Cooking gas is not available easily in villages. Rural women need to go to nearby forest areas to collect firewood for cooking.The institute has developed various models and efficient technologies for cooking. These include models developed by Centre for Science & Villages (CSV), Wardha and Appropriate Rural Technologies Institute, Maharashtra.Cooking stoveNIRD has tied up with both these organisations to popularise these cooking stoves and various innovative models so that cooking happens faster with fuel efficiency. In some of these models, as a by-product, cooking coal is also produced. This is used again as fuel."We invite farmers, rural youth, women self help groups and NGOs across the country to come and visit our technology park so that they can get a better idea as to how it can help them," says Dr. Rao.SuccessThe success of the technology park has encouraged the Government of India to commit setting up such parks in five African countries including Malawi and Zimbabwe to start with, as part of India-Africa partnership.For more information interested readers can contact Dr. M.V. Rao, Director General, National institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, email : , Mobile : 09703440004.