Page 1

Vol. VII No. 4

April 2009

The first monthly magazine on ICT4D

ePanchayats in India D K Jain, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI

Local Area Portals Information for development

w w w. i 4 d o n l i n e . n e t

Digital Empowerment Foundation, India

Radiocommunications and climate change

ISSN 0972 - 804X


International Telecommunication Union

knowledge for change


Vol. VII No. 4

Features 5



Ministry of Panchayati Raj, India

Panchayats on e-Highway

April 2009

Rendezvous 41

Common Service Centres: The Change Agents, 19th - 20th March 2009, New Delhi, India


The Change Agents

Agromet Advisory Services, India Meteorological Department


Agromet services for ePanchayats L S Rathore, K K Singh and A K Baxla


Entegramam, Kerala State IT Mission, India Bridging the digital divide Rathan Kelkar

R N Dash, Secretary, Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Orissa, India ePanchayat in Orissa


PriaSoft, National Informatics Centre, Tamil Nadu, India e-Monitoring panchayat accounts K Jayabalan and K Srinivasa Raghavan



Digital Empowerment Foundation, India

45 46

Local Area Portals Emmanuel Neisa

e-Village project starts in Arunachal Pradesh


e-Despatch, CSM Technologies, India


Revolutionising communication Smruti Ranjan Pradhan and Sanjay Prakash Sahoo

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radiocommunications and climate change Alexandre Vassiliev





ePanchayats in India D K Jain



Mail box

What’s on In Fact Panchayat Representatives in India

Portal Review 31

Gujarat Panchayat Raj Department


Karnataka Panchayat Raj Department


Haryana Panchayat Raj Department


Himachal Pradesh Panchayat Raj Department

Climate Change News


World News


India News

25-27 August 2009 Hyderabad, India

I have been reading the i4d magazine from the last couple of months. The content and themes of the magazine is quite impressive. The Thematic Features in the magazine is the best section in the magazine. The layout and design of the magazine is also good. In the upcoming issues of the magazine I would like that magazine should cover topics related to micro-insurance and use of ICT by government and businesses. Jack Rowley Director Research & Sustainability, GSM Association London, UK I have been reading the i4d magazine from the last two years. The content and themes of the magazine are quite impressive. The ‘Thematic Features’ in the magazine is the best section in the magazine. The layout and design of the magazine is also good. The current set of sections come out well and are well researched. The upcoming issues should be focused on outcome of the projects and hence there is a need to continuously speak to the stakeholders and come up with a feature on the projects. I would like to see ‘Innovation’ as a theme in the upcoming issue of i4d. Innovation is not a onetime event, it is a continuous process and it should get a sustained focus. The priority should be to take innovations to market, as early as possible. Tanmoy Chakrabarty Vice President and Head: Government Industry Solutions Unit (ISU) Tata Consultancy Services Limited, New Delhi I have been reading the online version of the i4d magazine from the last two years. The content and themes of the magazine is quite impressive. The ‘Thematic Features’ in the magazine is the best section in the magazine. The layout and design of the magazine needs to be improved. In the upcoming issues of i4d, I would like to see a section on i4d capacity building, i.e., formal education programs, seminars, workshops, conferences, short online courses. ICT for rural livelihoods; ICT for disaster preparedness and vulnerability reduction. Alexander G. Flor Dean and Professor Faculty of Information and Communication Studies University of the Philippines, Open University, Philippines

Please continue to send us your valuable feedback to help us serve you better.

Subscription Form

EDITORIAL GUIDELINES i4d contains articles, case studies and essays on the theme of ‘ICT for development’ and related issues. Authors are requested to follow the guidelines while sending their articles to i4d. Please also consult the editorial calendar to choose the theme of your interest. We also accept soft or hard copy submissions of your contributions. We encourage you to share your original research with our readers.


Information for development



News stand


Price Rs.


(Year) 1











US$ 10% (Rs. 240)

US$ 200


15% (Rs. 720)

US$ 320


30% (Rs. 2160)

US$ 400

The Editor’s decision to select, accept, modify or adjust your write-ups due to space constraints will be final. Editorial guidelines are available at Editorial_Guidelines.asp All correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor-in-chief, i4d G-4, Sector-39, Noida, India Tel +91-120-2502180 to 85 Fax +91-120-2500060 Email


Nocw ribe

subs ne! onli

I/We would like to subscribe for





(circle as applicable) First name............................................................................................ Last name .......................................................................... Designation/profession ........................................................................ Organisation ...................................................................... Mailing address ................................................................................... City .................................................................................... State ................................................... Country ................................ Postal code ......................................................................... Tel (o) ................................................... Tel (r)................................................................. Fax .......................................................... Email ................................................... Website ............................................................................................................................. Payments for mailed subscriptions are only accepted via cheque or demand draft. Cash payments may be made in person. (tick one and fill as applicable) Please find enclosed my/our cheque/demand draft numbered dated ......................... for Rs......................................... in

CSDMS team

favour of CSDMS a/c payable at New Delhi. I am submitting this form in person and paying by cash

i4d news Now available in daily, weekly, and monthly email newsletters!

Subscribe at 4

Please use photocopies of this form as required. i4d, G-4 Sector 39, Noida 201 301, India Tel +91 120 250 2180 to 85 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email

i4d Editorial Calendar 2009 Month



Rural BPOs




ICT in Climate Change




Social Entrepreneurship


Mobiles for Development i4d | April 2009

Editorial Panchayats on e-Highway Advisory Board Dr M P Narayanan, Chairman, i4d Chin Saik Yoon Southbound Publications, Malaysia Karl Harmsen United Nations University Kenneth Keniston Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Nagy Hanna e-Leadership Academy, University of Maryland, USA Richard Fuchs IDRC, Singapore Walter Fust Global Humanitarian Forum, Switzerland

Panchayats have rightly been called the backbone of the Indian villages. It is among the largest system of local self governance which is based on democratic values. Keeping in mind the size and diversity of India, ICTs have started playing a vital role in the effective implementation of the government’s programmes for rural development. The challenges are immense. Effective monitoring of these programmes will require a strong technological backbone and seamless connectivity as also local language support for all these tools. Information dissemination in these local languages that is localised to the needs of the people living in different agro-climatic and economic zones are an essential part of this exercise. Moreover, there is a strong need for trained manpower who can effectively utilise these tools as also the periodic capacity-building of the local elected representatives.

Wijayananda Jayaweera UNESCO, France EDITORIAL BOARD Akhtar Badshah, Frederick Noronha GROUP DIRECTORS Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar EDITORIAL TEAM Editor-in-Chief Dr Ravi Gupta

This issue of i4d attempts to look at the role that the Indian government machinery has envisaged for ICTs in rural self governance. The Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj has already started using ICT tools for implementing and monitoring of various programmes and projects that have been designed for the benefit of our rural brethrens which have been highlighted in this issue. Also, the National Informatics Centre has designed and developed a bouquet of softwares that enable the government machinery to monitor and implement the government’s programmes.

Sr. Research Associates Ritu Srivastava Research Assistant Subir Dey Sr. Graphic Designer Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Graphic Designers Om Prakash Thakur, Shyam Kishore, Chandrakesh Bihari Lal (James) Web Programmer Zia Salahuddin i4d G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA, UP, 201 301, India Phone +91 120 250 2181-85 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email Web Printed at R P Printers, Noida, India

Softwares like PriaSoft, RuralSoft, NREGAsoft, etc., are helping the Union and the State governments in keeping an eye on the developments on the ground. These softwares also help maintain transparency in its functions and be accountable to the public. The journey from Panchayats to ePanchayats has already started but this is just the beginning, a long way has still to be tread. In this issue of i4d, we bring to our readers an array of developments in the ePanchayats arena and hope that this movement progresses from strength to strength.

i4d is a monthly publication. It is intended for those interested and involved in the use of Information and Commnication Technologies for development of underserved communities. It is hoped that it will serve to foster a growing network by keeping the community up to date on many activities in this wide and exciting field. i4d does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors. i4d is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided.

Dr Ravi Gupta Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, 2008 Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

i4d is supported by:

April 2009 |



ePanchayats in India D K Jain, Joint Secretary with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj presents an overview of the Indian Panchayati Raj system and the role ICTs can play in local self governance in India

D K Jain Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India


Potential for the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the field of rural governance has been recognised since long. In recent years, several Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) require the States/Districts to use the packaged applications developed, for reporting the progress of implementation of these schemes. Notable among these are: Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Swaranjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), Indira Awaas Yojna (IAY), National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), etc. Many other initiatives have been taken up on pilot basis by other Ministries/Departments in fields such as use of GIS applications for needsbased planning, e-district project of the Department of Information Technology (DIT), etc. Review of the initiatives in using ICTs in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) indicates that a small beginning has been made. However, the approach being followed by States does not appear to be structured. Further, although a few states have enabled the intermediate levels of Panchayats with the usage of ICT, very few states have attempted to provide ICT access at the village Panchayat level. In some states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa computers have been installed at the Village Panchayat level as well. Gujarat perhaps leads this group. Even where computing facilities have been installed, the utilisation has barely achieved many of the desired outcomes that represent potential improvement in the functioning of the PRIs. For optimal utilisation of ICT potential in buiding capacities of Panchayats and for improving service delivery, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has formulated a Mission Mode Project- ‘e-PRI’ for e-governance in Panchayats under the National

e-Governance Action Plan (NeGP). This was presented to the Apex Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary for consideration. Appreciating that the propsoed e-PRI scheme has a critical role in improving the overall functioning of Panchayats as well as the success of Central and State schemes, the Apex Committee has approved the approach of the MoPR in principle. This project will, inter-alia: • Equip all Gram Panchayats with computers, or provide access to computers with broadband connectivity. In all, about 2,40,000 Panchayats at all levels will need to be equipped with computing hardware and connectivity over the next three years. The approach would be to first use the kiosks being set up under the Common Services Centres (CSCs) initiative of DIT. For the remaining Panchayats, it is proposed to engage independent service providers who would be selected on the basis of a bidding process. These service providers would need to commit a certain duration of the computing time for mandated applications. • Equip all Panchayats with necessary software and skills to handle e-Governance for better delivery of services to citizens. • The other major component of e-PRI would be that of capacity building of PRI functionaries. The infrastructure that is proposed to be created through e-PRI would be utilised for training of elected representatives about their responsibilities and for giving them functional knowledge of the schemes that are implemented through the Panchayats or their statutory committees. Training will also be given for maintaining accounts etc, an area which is weak in PRI structure. i4d | April 2009

As regards applications and software, we have identified around 12-13 applications that are proposed to be deployed. These have been categorised as ‘Core’ and ‘Reference’. There would be some State-specific applications as well, these are being identified. Core Applications are those that would be deployed across the country. Reference applications would be available to the States for adoption should they feel the need to do so. It may not be possible to describe all these applications here and therefore, I would briefly touch upon a few of the core applications. Panchayats Accounts and Financial Management: It is well known that the Central Government is now determined to devolve more funds and functions to the PRIs. There is therefore, a need for proper accounting system at the grassroots level. This has been highlighted by several authorities including Central Ministries and State Governments. The Eleventh and Twelfth Finance Commissions have also emphasised this aspect. Proper accounting systems would also lead to more transparency and hence accountability. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has prescribed simple formats for preparation of budgets and accounts by PRIs. These are proposed for adoption by PRIs. An application ‘PriaSoft’ developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) will be deployed in e-PRIs. This would also help Panchayats in collection of revenues and funding authorities can track the expenditure. Another advantage in doing this would be that we can then operate a system for electronic tagging and tracking of funds that are being sent to Panchayats by Central Ministries/ State Governments. Decentralised Planning has come to be accepted as a part of the Ministry’s Planning Process. In this process, panchayats have a major role to play. To facilitate planning at grassroots level, we propose to deconstruct higher level databases to Gram Panchayat level. Village Panchayat-wise databases would then be used for need-based planning. We have already developed an application ‘PLANplus’ that we are running successfully in several of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) districts. We would modify this to make it more user friendly. The application of GIS tools for planning is another highlight of e-PRI. We have realised that inspite of many specialised agencies developing GIS-based planning methods, such tools have not got integrated with the planning process in the districts for want of capacities. Through e-PRI, the process of planning of new services and development infrastructure will be strengthened by making it need-based. Scheme Monitoring is another requirement that has been projected by a number of Central Ministries. Often, data required for analysis, is either not received or received very late for it to have any value for analysis. This aspect assumes critical importance as more than Rs 1,00,000 Crores out of the Central annual plan, flows into rural areas. Very often, the required data is not furnished by districts because there is no facility for online data transmission April 2009 |

from Panchayats. This would now be possible throiugh the medium of e-PRI. Central Ministries/State Governments would not only get reports on time but online publications of data on development work, expenditure, physical progress, etc., would make the process transparent and further empower the citizens. Services and other entitlement of the citizens will be offered online at the local level. To begin with, we have identified the following citizencentric services, processes for which would be re-engineered so as to make them amenable for ICT usage. • Birth and Death Registration and providing certificates • Payment of Property Tax, Water Tax and other utility services • Grant of licenses • Grant of Building permissions • Grievance handling More such services would be identified through the study that MoPR has commissioned. It is our belief that through ePRI, service delivery will become more efficient, transaction and waiting time will come down and consequent complaints of corruption will get reduced. Another important aspect is the delivery of Panchayat services to citizens and/or the Gram Sabha. Services for Gram Sabhas would include dissemination of internal processes of Gram Panchayats (agendas, resolutions, voting record), proceedings of Gram Sabhas and action taken, progress reports, dissemination of data (family surveys, property lists, lists of people Below Poverty Line (BPL), pensions, census), services data (education, health, water and sanitation), natural resources and biodiversity data, database on Panchayat members and staffing details and availability of government and private infrastructure for village habitat planning. Services for individual citizens would include various kinds of licenses, certificates etc. In this regard, I would also like to draw the attention of the readers to the National Panchayat Portal (NPP) that won the National e-governance award for the best website this year. NPP has been developed by NIC which has a front-end in terms of a dynamic website for Panchayats with information, content and services needed by people, links citizens with Panchayat, links Panchayats with each other, and allows access to information and services provided by MoPR, State Panchayati Raj Departments. Through this portal, an online community of Panchayats will be built. The work of Information Service Needs Assessment , BPR and preparation of DPRs ( State-wise) has already been commissioned through National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI). Some applications have been developed. These may need to be modified further. Work on development of remaining applications will start soon. It is hoped that by the end of March 2010, e-PRI would be fully deployed in around 200 districts at least. „



ePanchayat in Orissa

In an interview with Ritu Srivastava of the i4d team, R N Dash talks about the ePanchayat initiatives of the Orissa Panchayati Raj Department R N Dash Commissioner - cum - Secretary Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Orissa, India What is the current status of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Orissa? Orissa has more than 50,000 villages and each village has a Palli Sabha (Gram Sabha) that is the basic unit of Panchayati Raj. Palli Sabha is a permanent body of the Panchayati Raj and voters (above 18 years of age) residing in that village are members of the Palli Sabha. It plans all programmes and schemes to be implemented in the village. They also decide who will execute the programmes and projects among themselves. Palli Sabha is headed by Ward Members elected from that Palli Sabha. The Palli Sabha also


decides Land Rights to be given to forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Orissa has 6,234 Gram Panchayats, which means on an average 10 villages comprise of one Gram Panchayat which is headed by a Sarpanch, who is directly elected by all the voters of the panchayat. Orissa has 314 Panchayat Samitis, around 20 Gram Panchayats in each panchayat, 30 Zila Parishads in each district and total number of elected representatives 1,00,864. Election is conducted by the State Election Commission. The state also has Panchayat Extension to the Scheduled Area (PESA), under which there are 1,913 Gram Panchayats and 118 i4d | April 2009

Blocks. All the Chief Executives, Directors, Presidents belong to the scheduled caste. Panchayati Raj Department allocates the fund through the Gram Panchayat and then Gram Panchayat indicates to that village the amount of fund to be utilised by that village and that is done by Village Level Leader (VLL). This is a direct involvement of people in government and for themselves. Could you inform us about the e-Governance initiatives by Orissa Panchayati Raj Department? How will the government create more transparency within the Department? The Department believes that poverty is directly proportional to the distance from the panchayat. People do not know how to access the benefits provided by the government, so the department wants to make sure that the masses are aware of these benefits and schemes. In this regard, the department has put all information about all the projects available to the villages on the website. Panchayati Raj Department is using several software to update data and information on a daily basis. The amount that Gram Panchayat receives from the Panchayati Raj Department reflects in the website through RuralSoft software that is developed by NIC, New Delhi. It also reflects the physical and financial progress of poverty alleviation schemes on the website. With the implementation of PriaSoft software, the website reflects funds flow monitoring as per the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) guidelines. Under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the NREGA software, developed by NIC, New Delhi manages the database part and it gives online information about job card holders, their project details, their project expenditures, the payment due to them, etc., on a daily basis. Another software called Project Accounting and Monitoring Information System (PAMIS) developed by NIC, Orissa in association with Xavier Institution of Management, Bhubaneshwar that monitors daily accounts in 30 Districts/314 Blocks as per the CAG guidelines. Orissa Panchayat Raj Department has connected all Panchayat Samitis to the district network and state headquarter. The Department has its own connectivity through VSAT and the department has also partnered with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) for 2 Mbps Virtual Private Network (VPN). The department also has LAN connectivity at 314 Panchayat Samities and each Gram Panchayat. Local computer engineers have been appointed to maintain the database. They maintain the service as well as provide training to their junior engineers and other officers of Panchayat Samitis. In order to maintain transparency within the department, the department provides all the information at Panchayat Samiti level and by 2010, the department will provide information at Gram Panchayat level. The department has not only put the information on website but has also set up an Integrated Grievance Redressal System (IGRS), people can lodge any complaints through its tollfree helpline number. The state headquarter has a call centre where people can raise queries and login any complain. The department has developed a software, through which complaints or query directly go to concerned Panchayat Samiti. We have set up specialised squads comprising of about 2 dozen state level monitors, they are sent to see that the grievances are attended to. Secondly, all the letters that we issue are digitised through a software called, ‘e-Despatch’. It goes to the webspace


allocated to the concerned Panchayat Samiti or whichever office it is addressed to. And all the letters that we receive are also digitised. Our website is bilingual and all the information is presented in English and Oriya How has e-Despatch revolutionised communication system in governance? What made you take up e-Despatch for official communications within the Government? We have 314 Block Development Officers (BDOs) and these are host of other officers a additionally, we have more than 6000 Gram Panchayats and 30 Zila Parishads. Whenever letters are dispatched to these field officers it takes a long time for the letters to reach them by post. Often the letters do not reach them and we have to dispatch these letters again. All this leads to a lot of avoidable delays which hinders programme implementation. This is the reason why we decided to move to a system where the delays are minimised. Letters sent now, reach the webspace allotted to the respective Field Officers/Offices. They all have their access codes through which they can check the mails. To ensure efficiency, the system has a feature which informs us when the officers downloaded the letters marked to them. All our Computer Engineers have been instructed to check the webspace everyday. To ensure transparency, these letters are also uploaded to our website from where the general public can access them, they can search for them by the subject, date of dispatch and the letter number. This initiative was started by our department and has now been taken up by four other departments . All the other departments in Orissa are planning to deploy e-Despatch in about a year’s time. Another step that we have taken in this direction is the adoption of e-Receipt. All letters that we receive are digitised and put online. The sender can login to the system and find out the status of the letters/instructions sent to a certain Officer. The said Officer’s mobile number is available on the system which enables the sender to follow up with the respective Officers directly. In case, the sender is not satisfied with the development on the field, s/he can always lodge a complaint through the IGRS in which case, these complaints will come to my office and will also be directed to the person against whom the complaint has been lodged. Then it is upto the concerned Officer/s to complete the task assigned to them and send a report to me. This system works both ways and we are also accountable to the Field Officers and our citizens to complete the tasks assigned to us. This is the first time it has been done in the country. What is the aim and vision of Dakshyata project in capacity building of PRIs in Orissa? The Dakshyata project improves the quality or efficiency of work in Panchayat elected representatives from Gram Panchayats, Zila Parishads, functionaries and other department officials to perform their roles efficiently in local governance through capacity building across the state of Orissa. The Dakshyata project functions through a network of trainers. whom we call State Level Trainers. We have about 80 State Level Trainers and 400 District Level Trainers with about 80 partner NGOs in the state, who have their own set up that includes accommodation, training halls and other infrastructure. With support from UNDP, five modules have been developed with audio-visual training materials. i4d | April 2009

Each Block Office has a training hall which is connected to the Gram Panchayats through GramSAT to enable training through a two way audio and one way video conferencing. Our trainers also visit the training centres set up by the 80 partner NGOs and impart training to the target audience. We intend to train all the one lakh elected Panchayat representatives every year atleast once a year. With support from UNDP and through the use of ICTs we have trained the State-level Trainers who in turn have conducted training of District-level Trainers. This has created a network of 500 trainers who are based throughout the State of Orissa who can go and train villagers. How does the Government plan to increase real representation of women in local governance? How will you eradicate gender inequality and empower women through institutional reforms? To maintain gender equality, where ever the Panchayat Department has a female head, the Vice Chairperson is male and vice versa, so a ratio of 1:1 is maintained in local governance. In a population of one lakh there is a 33 per cent reservation for women. When we talk about real representation, it means that woman should represent themselves and not be a proxy representative of their husband. In these cases, our strategy is to inform women about their rights, that they should not allow anybody to interfere in their decisions and should know how to utilise the power given to them by the people who elected them. In Dakshyata, we have started a module for gender in which we train them not to allow their husband to dictate them. We are also trying to give them more economic freedom and have formed Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to empower women representative to exercise their rights and to receive the right kind of information. We have also made sure that we have women trainers who are better able to understand the conditions on the ground and train the women representatives accordingly. Under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), what are the programmes undertaken by Orissa Panchayat Raj Department? How will the Department reduce unemployment, underemployment and disguised unemployment in rural areas by modernising agriculture and setting-up agro-based industries? Orissa has a fairly large number of farmers who have small and/or marginal landholdings. Due to this, optimal utilisation of land resources has not been possible because it requires lot of land development work. Activities like land development, development of irrigation canals, etc., are permissible under NREGA apart from development of individual land whereby SC/ST and BPL (Below Poverty Line) farmers can be benefitted. Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), Agricultural Universities also provide support by way of demonstration of new technologies related to agriculture to villagers. We have also set up government farms in order to impart training about modern agricultural practices/technologies and to provide employment at the same time under the umbrella of the NREGA. People from the selected villages work in these government farms and are paid wages vide NREGA. The farmers learn from these practices and eventually follow them in their own fields. About 40 percent of the funds from NREGA are intended


to be spent on development of land owned by individuals from the next financial year. The aim is to make sure that farmers can develop their own land with technical guidance from KVKs and Agriculture Department so that agriculture becomes profitable. We also provide appropriate inputs and market linkages. Recently, KVKs and Agricultural Universities have started to advise farmers with information customised to their respective agro-climatic zones. Apart from the current bouquet of services as laid down in the objectives, what other services are in the pipeline that are to be provided through the ePanchayats? Citizens require easier access to a lot of services, not only from the Panchayati Raj Department but from other Departments of the Government too. Most of the time, they have to travel great distances to get information and access to various services. Now they can get information and apply for various services through the nearby ePanchayats, we have about 8000 Common Service Centres (CSCs), it means that there’s one in each panchayat. We have digitised some of the services, like pension application, making application to college and schools, e-Procurement and other e-Governance services. These are services not only by the Panchayati Raj Department but also other departments like NREGA and also from Rural Development Department. The aim is to provide a basket of services to our citizens at their doorstep. People can go to their local kiosks where they can make applications and also lodge complaints if needed through the Sanjog Helpline which is used by Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Health Department, Department of Women and Child Development apart from the Panchayati Raj Department. Through the Sanjog Helpline we also impart information about various services/schemes available to citizens. The manpower required for operationalising the call centre is outsourced. We have partnered with CSM Technologies to train the practitioners. Considering the fact that uplinking costs of VSAT are very high, are you looking at alternative ways of providing Internet connectivity among the DRDAs, Block Headquarters and Gram Panchayats? We also use Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Broadband apart from VSATs. The plan is to extend connectivity to all Gram Panchayat levels through whichever method . We also haveWLL connectivity at the block headquarters. We are trying to connect 100 Gram Panchayats now and the plan is to connect 1000 Gram Panchayats by the next financial year for which we have already asked BSNL to provide connectivity. „

Call for News/Articles/Press Releases Readers/authors/development enthusiasts are invited to send briefings of news/press releases on e-Agriculture, social entrepreneurship, climate change, e-Panchayat, telecommunications, international development, etc. Articles/News should be of contenporary relevance and must relate to the use and applications of ICTs. An ideal article/press release should be neatly typed in 'Times New Roman', 12 font size at double spaqce between 1250-1500 words based the above mentioned topics.

Please send your news piece/article at i4d | April 2009


Agromet services for ePanchayats

The article informs about the bouquet of relevant, localised and timely agromet advisory services that are being implemented by the IMD, Government of India

K K Singh Scientist-E

A K Baxla Scientist-C L S Rathore Head and Additional Director General of Meteorology (Agrometeorology) Agromet Service, India Meteorological Department, India


The Government of India has been focusing on strengthening farmers’ knowledge on sustainable farm practices in their overall efforts to augment food security of the nation. In spite of successful research on agricultural practices and technologies, Indian farmers are facing a multitude of problems to sustain crop productivity. Many of these problems are linked to variability in weather and climate. To address this issue effectively, the Government launched District-level Agrometeorological Advisory Service (DAAS) in June 2008 as one of the flagship programme of Ministry of Earth Sciences. The DAAS aims to generate agrometeorological information (weather forecast and agromet-advisories) and develop suitable dissemination system, to the farming community in order to improve crop/livestock productivity. It enables farmers to take advantage of benevolent weather and minimise the adverse impact of malevolent weather on crops. Presently, the weather based agro-advisories are disseminated to the farming community at district level through mass media (Radio, Print and TV). But there exists a wide information gap between information generator and user. The outreach of IAAS system to deliver the information at Block and Panchayat (village) level, in a timely manner, needs to be stepped up. The Common Service Centre (CSC) of Department of Information Technology is a good solution to bridge the information gap by exploiting advances in Information Technology (IT), which has witnessed incremental use in dissemination of information in the recent past. The DAAS is multidisciplinary and multi-institutional project. It involves all stakeholders such as State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), Department

of Agriculture and Cooperation, State Departments of Agriculture/ Horticulture/ Animal Husbandry/ Forestry (up to District level offices), NGOs, Media Agencies, etc. This project is being implemented through a five tier structure to set up different components of the service spectrum. It includes meteorological (weather observing and forecasting), agricultural (identifying weather sensitive stress and preparing suitable advisory using weather forecast), extension (two way communication with user) and information dissemination (Media, Information Technology, Telecom) agencies (Fig. 1). The critical components of DAAS system (Fig. 2) is discussed in the following sections: • Weather Observing System: Districtlevel service needs meteorological observations at sub-district levels. The current observation forms the basis for running the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models and also refining the weather forecast generated at district scale. Also, the historical climate data is needed to support the crop planning. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has a network of 125 Automatic Weather Station (AWS) and a large number of manual observatories. IMD is in the process to set up 550 additional AWS and 1350 Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) stations in the first phase of its modernisation plan. With this, every district in the country will have at least one AWS and two ARG stations. In the second phase the network density of AWS/ARGs will be further enhanced so as to automatically record meteorological observations at near block level. In addition to this, a network of 55 Doppler Weather Radar has been planned of which 12 are to be commissioned in the first phase. i4d | April 2009

Figure1: Information dissemination agencies

Techniques have been developed to assimilate large volumes of satellite-derived information. A new satellite INSAT-3D is being launched in the year 2009. Through improvement in observing systems, there will be further improvement in defining the initial conditions to run the numerical weather prediction models which may lead to higher accuracy in weather forecast. Weather Forecasting System: IMD has started issuing quantitative district level (612 districts) weather forecast of up to 5 days from 1st June, 2008. The products comprise of quantitative forecasts for 7 weather parameters viz., rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and cloudiness, besides weekly cumulative rainfall forecast. IMD, New Delhi generates these products based on a Multi Model Ensemble technique using forecast products available from a number models of India and other countries. These include: T-254 model of NCMRWF, T-799 model of European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF); United Kingdom Met Office (UKMO), National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), USA and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The products are disseminated to Regional Meteorological Centres and Meteorological Centres of IMD located in different states. These offices undertake value addition to these products twice a week on Tuesday and Friday and communicate to 130 AgroMet Field Units (AMFUs) located with State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), ICAR etc.

April 2009 |

Agro-meteorological Field Units (AMFUs) and Agroadvisory: Based on the above forecast products and the crop information available from districts, the AMFU prepares district-wise agro-advisories. The Ministry of Earth Sciences has set up a network of 130 AMFUs covering the agro-climatic zones of the country. These are operated at State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), Indian Council of Agricultural Research institutions (ICAR), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) by providing grant-in-aid from IMD. These units are responsible for recording agro-meteorological observations, preparing medium range weather forecast-based Agromet advisories for the districts falling under precinct of concerned agroclimatic zone and dissemination of the same. Concerned universities/institutes have appointed Nodal Officer and Technical Officers, who prepare the advisory bulletins in consultation with the panel of experts already created at these units. The Agromet bulletins include specific advice on field crops, horticultural crops and livestock etc., which farmers need to act upon. Its frequency is twice a week i.e. Tuesday and Friday. • Advisory Dissemination Mechanism: The weather based advisories, generated by 130 AMFUs, are being disseminated to the farmers through mass media dissemination, Internet etc. A mechanism has also been developed to obtain feedback from the farmers on quality of weather forecast, relevance and content of agromet advisory and effectiveness of information dissemination system. The dissemination mechanism needs to be scaled up to communicate advisories through multi-channel dissemination system including Radio, TV, print media, Cell Phone-SMS, Internet and Common Service Centres of Department of Information Technology. (Fig. 2) In order to communicate agromet advisory in real time to the rural farmers in every district of the country, District-level Agromet Advisory Service meetings with stakeholders in all the states of the country has been completed recently. The prime objective of these meetings was to develop a mechanism to involve district-level agencies (District Agriculture Offices, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Kisan Call Centres, NGOs etc.) for strengthening the agro-met advisory service. Augmentation of Agro-Met extension services by synergizing with Common Service Centers (CSC) scheme The Department of Information Technology (DIT) is establishing State Wide Area Network (SWANs) to provide wide area converged network at block level across the state and Common Service Centers (CSCs), one in every six villages across rural India in an effort to deliver all types of services to the citizen at the local level. IMD shares the vision of DIT to bring efficiency in farming sector through use of CSCs as an effective additional channel of farm communication, in order to reach all sections of the farming community. National e-Governance Plan of DIT aims to establish over one lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) across six lakh villages in the country by June 2009. The CSCs are ICT-enabled Kiosks having PCs, basic support equipment like Printer, Scanner etc. The Scheme is being implemented through


Figure2: Critical components of DAAS system

a Public Private Partnership. Both the organisations, IMD and DIT are working to develop suitable mechanisms to augment Agro-Met extension services by synergising with CSCs through the following proposed interventions. • Providing Meteorological Information (observation, forecast and products such as agromet advisories) to the rural farmers

at their locality i.e, villages, based on districts and agroclimatic zones of the country. • Meteorological information be linked with agriproductivity measures like farming inputs/ precautions/ package of practices –information and guidance • Supplementing necessary information on part of meteorology into the complete solution for small farmers through integrated framework of the related stakeholders like KVK, ICAR, Universities/Colleges etc. • Weather warnings to ensure minimal losses due to disastersEstablishing a two way communication linkage through CSCs so that agri-related queries may be attended to and replied. • A mechanism may also be developed to obtain regular feedback based on the skill of forecast, quality and relevance of advisories, problem solving by interactive mode, answering questions of common interest through bulletins, accessibility to information/ experts via ICT. • CSCs may communicate local level observation (Meteorological, Crop, Soil, Pest/Disease, Sowing, Harvesting and Other prevailing intercultural operations) to the knowledge pool for generating relevant and specific advisories. Training may also be planned for the kiosk operators as well as farmers on use of agromet advisories in farm management through AMFUs with active support from IMD/ICAR. „

NREGAsoft After the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 was enacted by the Parliament, the Indian Ministry of Rural Development asked the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop a software for effective monitoring of NREGA in the year 2006. As a result, the NREGAsoft was developed with the aim of enhancing livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage-employment in every financial year to every household who’s adult members volunteer for unskilled manual work. With the help of the software, citizens can now access information about the individual labourer and the duration for which he/she has worked under NREGA and details of wages that has been paid. With this software, the Government can track every single rupee. Panchayats can view their data as reports. At the Block level, all the reports of Panchayats under the Block can be viewed. At the District level, reports for the Blocks under the District can be viewed. Some of the key features of NREGAsoft are: Properly layered structure: The software has been created in accordance with guidelines of scheme which follows a layered approach. Each layer is identified and managed according to the stakeholder’s needs so that proper management and analysis can be done. Unicode enabled: NREGAsoft provides local language support which gives a good understanding of the process to all


software users irrespective of their local language. This makes the software user friendly. Available in online as well as offline mode: The software is available in online as well as offline mode. States having infrastructure for data entry in online mode are encouraged to work on online version. States with poor network infrastructure are provided with offline mode and their data get uploaded after a fixed interval. The offline module is available in Microsoft technologies as well as open source technologies which gives flexibility to the user to choose the version that suits him. Linked with BPL Data 2002: Software is linked with family survey known as BPL Census, 2002 where information on rural household in rural area is available. It is a loose linking of two databases in the sense that if data for a family is found in the BPL Census 2002 database then all the information regarding the persons in the family above 18 years of age can be copied to the NREGA database but if a family is not found then it can be added into NREGA database. Capturing data at grassroots level: Software facilitates entry of jobs and workers at the Gram Panchayat level. User friendly website: The website of NREGAsoft is designed according to requirement of each stakeholder. The only prerequisite for using this software is that a person should have workign knowledge of the Internet. Input forms and reports are designed in user friendly manner with support in local language. i4d | April 2009


Bridging the rural digital divide This article demonstrates how an existing e-Literacy project of the Kerala Government has been successfully converted into a network of ePanchayats

Rathan Kelkar Director, Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM)

April 2009 |

Talk about IT infrastructure and ICT-enabled services in the rural areas, and you will be countered with a volley of questions. One general apprehension related to the creation of ICT infrastructure is always this: “Do we have to give priority to the setting up of ICT in villages, while the rural areas are grappling for other basic infrastructure like clean drinking water and sanitation facility?” This apprehension can be removed by only one answer-that the ICT tools are efficient enough to give a helping hand in solving even the problems related to conventional social infrastructure and we should be able to reap the maximum benefits of this new technology, if we want to be in the pro-development mode. The Government of Kerala faced these kind of questions many a times when it implemented the e-literacy programme called Akshaya. But later Akshaya turned out to be a very successful model which created greater access to Information Technology and thus reduced the digital divide. Now the Akshaya centres are not only the centres which impart e-literacy, but they act as a platform for introducing many IT-enabled services for the public. Many of the projects introduced through Akshaya, require community collaboration also. With all these initiatives, many villages in Kerala evolved as e-panchayats, which have effective access to digital and information technology.

Entegramam This paper looks into a major initiative of Kerala State IT Mission-Entegramam, which was introduced through Akshaya.

This project helped bring in more people to the e-world, created local digital content in local language and reduced the digital divide. It is true that by setting up Akshaya centres, a physical infrastructure was in place in many villages. But it is also to be remembered that the digital divide is manifested not only in access and tools of access but also in the inability to provide locally relevant information in local language. Entegramam addresses these issues and provides a community portal with localised content. The web portals ( are developed in Malayalam, the local language, so that the content can be accessed by all. Entegramam websites have been uploaded for nine villages and one municipality in Kannur district. Another website in provides a comprehensive view of the Kannur district panchayat. Soon, all panchayats in the district will have a portal of their own and the project will be extended to the gramapanchayats of Kollam and Malappuram districts. Now, let’s look into the features that are included in these pachayat portals: Log on to The window that opens on the screen is the window of


a particular village in Kannur district of Kerala. The information that flows into your computer through the open window includes anything and everything related to the village-its history, culture, artforms, institutions, etc. There is information regarding local resources and information on government and public services. Some of the other items on which the portal contains data include: agricultural resources in the village, health resources, educational institutions, labour resources, industries, tourism, etc. Apart from this, locally relevant news and announcements are also displayed on the portal. It will also provide details regarding all kinds of day-to-day activities; including where to find a coconut tree climber to pluck coconuts or what are the new employment opportunities in your locality. So, this initiative of extending the possibility of the new technology and the Internet to these heights, was rightly named as ‘Entegramam’ which means ‘my village’ in English. Moreover, there is space for providing comments, feedback, blogging and the portal prepares the community to a more participative, empowered, democratic knowledge society of the future. How this programme works: Community mobilisation and participation form an important part of the overall approach of the programme. As stated earlier, Akshaya, which is in contact with 1200-1500 families in every locality, provides a platform for Entegramam. The Akshaya entrepreneur with his social network is the focal point around which the community is mobilised, a portal is created after the requisite training is imparted. Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE), a non-governmental organisation working in the area of promoting the use of Free and Open Source Software and media provides technical support to the Akshaya entrepreneurs and the user community. Social mobilisation is also facilitated with active participation of the local self-governing body (panchayat/


municipality, as the case be). The content is provided and updated in the portal by the local residents themselves. Unicode encoding is adhered to, which in return enables the user to search for the content on the web. These portals not only take care of the information needs of the people, but, they will, in future, enable them to conduct transactions over the web. For example, today it provides the names and contact details of all labour resources in the village. A carpenter in the village can provide his details and solicit enquiries from potential customers through the portal.

Impact Entegramam is aligning the rural community to Web2.0 where the web increasingly becomes a tool for information sharing and collaboration. On an average, nearly 2500 visitors navigate the Entegramam websites every month. This number will increase as more people come to know about the portal. This number is quite good because the content is targeting the population of only one panchayat, that is about ten to twenty thousand people. Another important evaluation parameter is the number of articles being posted by the local community in the portal. More than 150 articles have been posted and the site is being regularly updated. 15-20 articles are received per week to be uploaded on the website. Interestingly, even local media has started sourcing information from these portals. In short, no one can write-off a website which gives all the details regarding one’s own locality, that too in the local language. This itself ensures the sustainability and relevance of a project like Entegramam. The ease of access to information as well as the availability of local content in local language will ensure the popularity of IT and the Internet among the rural mass. „ i4d | April 2009


e-Monitoring panchayat accounts

The Tamil Nadu unit of the NIC has developed an online accounting software that enables Government functionaries from across the state feed data on the disbursal of funds to various Panchayats which can be monitored centrally by the State-level Administrator

K Jayabalan Scientist - D NIC Tamil Nadu

April 2009 |

K Srinivasa Raghavan Sr. Technical Director NIC Tamil Nadu

The development programmes in India are designed to meet the objectives of alleviating poverty and area development with an ultimate aim of improving the standard of living. The planning, implementation and monitoring of such developmental activities are carried out through Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in order to ensure maximum participation of people. Hence, the PRIs have the responsibility of creating and maintaining the basic amenities, alleviating poverty and building up of developmental infrastructure. This is being accomplished by self-initiatives of PRIs or State and Centrally sponsored schemes which are implemented through Rural Local Bodies (Village Panchayat, Block Panchayat and District Panchayat) in the rural areas and Urban Local Bodies (Town Panchayat, Municipality and Corporation) in the urban areas. Effective management of funds provided to PRIs, by various agencies, is one of the most challenging task. To this end, the Panchayat Raj Institutions Accounts Monitoring Software (PriaSoft) has been designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre. This web based software application (http://priasoft1. can be effectively used to monitor the funds distributed to PRIs. It also helps in monitoring the expenditure and Panchayats own revenues through various means in the form of taxes, auctions, etc. Ever y Village Panchayat, Block Panchayat and District Panchayat users are provided with user id and passwords. They can login and feed data from block-level (State Wide Area Network connectivity available) or District level. PriaSoft empowers the administrators to monitor the fund receipt, availability and expenditure at all level of the three-tier administrative set up of Panchayat Raj Institutions. Users can generate a number

of reports. The overall administration of software can only be done by State-level Administrator. PriaSoft has been designed to cater to the needs of Accountants General (AG) and State Government. The accounting coding system followed by AG is incorporated in the design itself. At the same time, the account codes are hidden from normal users to avoid confusion. The Village-level user may not be conversant with Account Code System. The security of data is taken care of in the software. For example, one village level user can not see the data of another village. Whereas, the block level user can have control of all the villages under that block. The state level user will have control of all the Villages, Blocks and District-level data. Major features of the software include: • Web-based Software • Bi-lingual Feature • In-built Security • Built using Open Source and Open Standards Technology With the Bi-lingual facility available, the user can operate the software in English or any one of the local language such as Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, etc. Unicode font is supported for feeding data in local language. The software has been developed using open source technology. PHP is used as the scripting language and Postgresql database is used for storing data in the web server. Linux is used as Operating System. „


World News Bahrain continues rise in WEF Technology rankings

Information for development

e-Government egov Australian Government provides high-speed Internet in rural communities The Federal Government of Australia has assured that rural communities will receive high-speed broadband connectivity through the National Broadband Network (NBN). The government has approved $43 million investment to provide broadband services in rural areas. Under the proposed programme, the government will provide high speed broadband to 90 per cent of homes, schools and workplaces in Australia.

Under the scheme, 10 per cent of Australians, especially those living in remote areas, will get broadband at just a tenth of the proposed speeds of 100 megabits per second that will be delivered through next generation wireless and satellite technologies. The government’s new scheme will create new opportunities for rural Australia. According to National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President, David Crombie, modern Australian farming practices were increasingly


For the second consecutive year, Bahrain has moved higher in ranking in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report. Bahrain has been ranked 37th out of 134 economies worldwide and indicates a commitment to ICT both as a sector and an infrastructure to enable further business growth. The report is the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and competitiveness of nations. Its Networked Readiness Index (NRI) assesses how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively on three dimensions: 1. general business and regulatory infrastructure environment for ICT 2. the readiness of three stakeholder groups – individuals, businesses and governments – to use and benefit from ICT 3. their actual usage of the latest technologies available. Bahrain has made significant progress in all three NRI components this year namely ‘environment’, ‘readiness’ and ‘usage’. Leading international ICT businesses have regional offices in Bahrain including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, WIPRO, Satyam, Software AG, Netgear and Atos Origin.

reliant on Information Communication Technology (ICT) for GPS-guided tractors and remote sensor irrigation devices.

Jamaica Government allocates $87.6 million for ICT project The Government of Jamica has allocated $87.6 million grant for the ICT project for the current financial year. According to the 2009-10 Estimates of Expenditure, the grant is allocated for the procurement of equipment to support e-government services and the training of staff in the use of the new equipment and services. In order to provide e-Government services, the government will launch and implement the e-government tax portal; establish e-Transaction Act; implementation of the Certificate of Authority and the procurement of database management software. Apart from these programmes, the government has already been providing computer facilities at revenue centres for public access in the payment of taxes and also established community access points in marginalised communities. The government is also seeking to enhance efficiency and access to government services to reduce transaction costs and increase ICT use in the private/ public sectors and civil society.

e-Health Rural medics to get mobile advice hotline The Government of Ghana has launched a pilot initiative to provide rural community health workers, nurses and doctors with advice on diagnosis and treatment via mobile phones. The project will enable rural health workers to call specially-trained doctors at a call centre and also provide the daily support that health workers in richer countries take for granted. A health worker might ring for advice on whether a child they have visited at home should be referred for more testing or treatment, for example. The health hotline is one of many mobile-health (m-health) pilots run by the Millennium Villages Project. A number of such hotlines have sprung up in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Pakistan - many of which aim to provide consumers rather than health professionals with advice and diagnosis from doctors. i4d | April 2009

India News National Agro Foundation’s new initiative

Information for development

e-Agriculture Chile, India tie up for rural development T h e M S Sw a m i n a t h a n R e s e a r c h Foundation (MSSRF), India has signed an agreement with Chile’s Foundation for Agricultural Innovation (FIA) to work together to promote agricultural innovation and explore the potential of ICTs in improving rural livelihoods. The two organisations will promote the diffusion and use of agricultural research, organise joint courses, seminars, training and field visits in agricultural innovation; and set up workshops to address food, nutrition and environmental concerns. MSSRF will train scientists from Chile in replicating its ‘Village Knowledge Centres’ (VKCs) which use ICTs to provide farmers and fishermen with timely, local information on weather, market prices for crops, livestock and fish, and prevailing diseases. Both the countries will work together to improve digital connectivity in rural areas and train more rural people to use digital technologies. MSSRF has undertaken a project to restore mangroves as natural storm barriers along India’s coasts, following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December, 2004.

m-SERVE Nokia plans to launch Life Tools in India Nokia is planning to launch its Life Tools service across India. Nokia’s Life Tools service will offer information related to agriculture, education, and other services to users in small towns and rural areas. Initially, the service will be offered on two models of Nokia phones, the Nokia 2320


The National Agro Foundation is putting in place agricultural technologies and livelihood and training programs that have the potential to benefit millions of small farmers in India, says Foundation Managing Trustee S. S. Rajsekar. Mr Rajsekar, who is the son of Shri C.S. Subramaniam, the architect of India’s ‘green revolution’ in the 1960s, gave a presentation on the Foundation’s work at Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters today. The Foundation is a charitable trust dedicated to improving the lives of rural families. It operates in the state of Tamil Nadu where it has a research and development centre, including stateof-the-art laboratories for soil and food testing, and another facility dedicated to training. It has had significant success in adapting and bringing technologies out of the laboratory and to poor rural communities who are facing the challenges of shrinking available land and growing food demand, says Mr. Rajsekar.

and Nokia 2323, and will be extended to more devices. Nokia will host the service, and will get content for it from a variety of information sources. Under the Life Tools service, Nokia will provide agriculture service like advance information about weather, and crop advisory services including information about probable diseases, weather disruptions and tips for more successful harvests. The service’s commercial launch will follow a pilot project that was started last December in the Indian state of Maharashtra in association with Idea Cellular, a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) service provider. During the pilot phase, the agriculture service was priced at 60 Indian Rupees (around US$1.20) per month, while the services for English learning and general knowledge were priced at 30 rupees each.

Community Radio IIT Bombay students launch web campus radio Students from IIT Mumbai have launched their own web-based community radio station with a platform to voice their opinions, take part in debates and allow them to be more informed. This is the first time a university in India has taken such an initiative. The station will provide campus, city, national and international news, music, reviews of websites, information on books to read, gadgets, movies to watch, places and restaurants to hang out and extra-curricular activities.

The primary objective the students have for the radio station is to be able to provide good quality content to the students and be able to maintain that quality. They intend to keep the interest for the campus radio going with updates that students would genuinely be interested in knowing about such as top ten websites, top movies, gadgets and relevant issues both on campus and nationally. A steering committee has been set up which regulates and scans content before it is uploaded onto the online radio station. The committee comprises of a few students and teachers. Presently 10 people are managing the web-based radio station and about 9 who are peripheral to its management.

e-Governance egov 3i Infotech to set up 12,000 kiosks by year end 3i Infotech plans to expand its network of IT kiosks in rural areas from the current level of 4,000 to over 12,000 by the end of this year. Apart from providing certain insurance and ticketing services, these kiosks will provide other services in the education segment. Each of these centres will be set up at a cost of INR 1-1.25 lakh spread across nine states while being networked and automated. 3i Infotech is looking at providing e-governance and business to consumer services in rural market through IT kiosks. Around 28-30 percent of the company’s revenue comes from the Indian market. i4d | April 2009


Radiocommunications and climate change Almost everybody now recognises that climate change represents a threat to mankind on a similar level to violent conflict and war, and indeed can lead to a breakdown of peace because of the increased competition for the earth’s resources. Radiocommunications are undoubtedly part of the cause of global warming as witnessed, for instance, hundreds of millions TV sets, VCR and Figure 1: WMO Global Observing System (GOS) other radio devices that are left on standby mode 24 hours a day still consuming altogether • significant amount of power. But radiocommunications can also be part of a solution, because of the role they play in climate change monitoring, mitigating and adapting to it. •

equipment placed on satellites, aircraft, radiosondes and relay data to environment control centres. Environment monitoring activities that result in constant media attention include: • weather satellites that track the progress of hurricanes and typhoons; • weather radars that track the progress of tornadoes, thunderstorms, and the effluent from volcanoes and major forest fires; radio-based meteorological aid systems that collect and process weather data, without which the current and planned accuracy of weather predictions would be seriously compromised; and broadcast sound and television systems and different mobile radiocommunication systems that warn the public Radiocommunications use in monitoring the of dangerous weather events, and aircraft pilots of storms environment and climate change and turbulence; Timely warning of impending natural and environmental disasters, Satellite systems that are also used for dissemination accurate climate prediction and detailed understanding of the status of global water resources: these are all critically important of information concerning different natural and man-made everyday issues for the global community. At present, remote disasters, etc. Let’s consider a few examples of remote sensing use. In order sensors1 provide the main source of information about the Earth’s atmosphere and surface. This information is used for climate, to promote global warming countermeasures, it is essential weather and water monitoring, prediction and warnings, natural to monitor the state of global warming precisely, and for disasters risk reduction, support of disaster-relief operations and this purpose it is necessary to observe the concentration and for planning preventive measures for adapting to and mitigating increase/decrease in greenhouse gases (GHG) at various locations throughout the world. Remote the negative effects of climate change2. sensing satellites observe the The science of climate change, which has concentration and distribution developed over the last century or so, has of GHG from outer space, and benefited greatly from the parallel development its purpose is to contribute to of ICTs in general and radio technologies in the international effort toward particular. The role of radicommunications in weather and climate monitoring is clearly shown prevention of warming, including monitoring the GHG absorption in the structure of the World Meteorological and emission state. A recently Organisation’s (WMO) Global Observing produced global satellite map of System (GOS). GOS provides observations of carbon dioxide distribution based the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface (including oceans) from the globe and from outer space Figure 2: CO2 global map July 2008 - in parts per million on remote sensing data is shown in Figure 2. (see Figure 1). The GOS uses remote sensing by volume (Source: NASA) April 2009 |


Increasing ocean surface temperature is one of the governing factors influencing violent storms, hurricanes and rising sea level. The global control of the ocean temperature is also being carried out by remote sensors from satellites. Modern remote sensing applications measure the sea surface temperature Figure 3: Mediterranean sea surface temperature map (Source: ESA) with an accuracy of up to 0.2° C (see Figure 3). number of transmitters may be reduced due to the possibility of However, it is important to remember that frequency bands transmitting up to 10 TV programmes in one 8 MHz channel used for remote sensing are determined by fixed physical instead of 1 TV programme per channel. properties (molecular resonance) and cannot hence be changed or ignored, nor are these physical properties able to be duplicated in Radiocommunications in mitigation of negative effects other bands. That is why only certain frequencies are suited for of natural disasters initiated by climate. extracting the environmental information (see Figure 4). The main tasks are the following: Other information and communication technologies, • prediction and detection of disasters such as wired and wireless telecommunication systems, and • delivery of early warning information to the general public computers, are also essential components of the Global Climate • damage assessment and providing information for planning Observing System. relief operations • ensure communication between humanitarian response crews Radiocommunications for adaptation and and other agencies working onsite, providing contact with mitigation local hospitals and paramedics, and also with the victims Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is a key issue As it is shown in Figure 5, annual disaster occurrence has for all countries, but especially for developing countries, which almost doubled between 1995 and 2005. In contrast mortality are often the most vulnerable and the least equipped to protect trend is almost ‘flat’, that may prove an increased effectiveness their population. of disaster relief operations. However, it is necessary to indicate that the mortality trend is also conditioned by major reduction in drought mortality in Africa since the early 1980s. Disaster prediction and detection is one of the main functions of Earth Exploration Satellite Systems, which also provide the relevant data to emergency telecommunications for distribution of early warning signals. The same systems control one of the most dangerous consequences of climate change - rising sea level that may lead to inundation of coasts worldwide with some Small Island States possibly facing complete inundation. A sample of a remote sensing Figure 4: Atmospheric opacity in frequency range 1-275 GHz (Source: ITU) instrument for sea level monitoring - a spaceborne altimeter is shown on Figure 6. Modern altimeters can identify a change in The major contribution of radiocommunications to climate sea level with a precision of 2-3 cm. The sea-surface height is the change comes from the proliferation of user devices, all of which difference between the satellite’s altitude relative to the reference need power and radiate heat. For instance, in the decade between ellipsoid and the altimeter range. 1996 and 2008, the number of mobile phones rose from 145 million to 4 billion. Radiocommunications in planning the One of the most effective ways of preventing further climate organisation of relief operations change is energy saving by reducing radiocommunication Radiocommunication systems are especially important in equipment consumption and “dematerialisation”3. disaster relief operations because in many cases, the ‘wired’ An impressive example in radiocommunications is switching telecommunication infrastructure is significantly or completely to digital broadcasting. The use of digital modulation allows destroyed by a disaster, and only radiocommunication systems significantly reduced (by almost 10 times) transmitter power. (especially satellite systems and high-frequency terrestrial systems) Taking into account that there are hundreds of thousands of can be employed for disaster relief operation. That is why deploying transmitters around the world with power of up to 100-150 wireless communications is typically among the first priorities in kW each, the resulting effect is very significant. Moreover, the any emergency response, rescue, or relief situation.


i4d | April 2009

ICTs and climate change. In accordance with this programme ITU will: • allocate the necessary radio frequencies and provide interference-free operation of radio-based applications and radiocommunication systems (terrestrial and space) used for climate monitoring and prediction, weather forecasting and disaster early warning and detection; • work to limit and reduce GHG emissions and promote the use of more energy-efficient devices and networks and the development of corresponding technical standards; • facilitate the use of ICTs (including radiocommunications) for travel replacement, dematerialisation and, as a result, reduced energy consumption and GHG emissions in other industries;

Figure 5: The annual number of disaster events recorded and the annual recorded mortality (number of killed in thousands) - using a five-year moving average (Source: ISDR4)

Radiocommunications such as satellite communication systems (see Figure 7), Earth Exploration Systems employing remote sensing equipment and satellite imaging can make a real difference during those first crucial hours and days. Typically they can assess the extent of damage, help locate survivors, measure the potential danger for rescue teams and ensure that humanitarian response crews can communicate effectively with their team members, with other agencies working onsite, with local hospitals and paramedics, and also with the victims.

ITU and Climate Change In 2007, ITU and its membership and partners launched a major programme to investigate the specific relationship between

Figure 7: A satellite system in disaster relief operation

(Source: CNES)

assist Member States to take full advantage of ICT applications for environmental management and sustainable development and to use telecommunication/ICTs to adapt to, and mitigate the effects, of climate change; join the UN commitment to lead by example through achieving climate-neutral status within three years. „

The latest information on ITU activities related to battling of Climate Change is available at: References 1 Remote sensors (passive and active) are radio devices, that derive environmental information by analysing the characteristics of received radio waves 2 ITU/WMO Handbook “Use of Radio Spectrum for Meteorology: Weather, Water and Climate Monitoring and Prediction”, ITU/WMO, 2009, Geneva, see at: http://www.itu. int/publ/R-HDB-45/en 3 “Replacing atoms with bits”: use of electronic publications instead of documents on paper, on-line delivery instead of pre-recorded on DVDs/CDs movies and music, videoconferencing to reduce business travel, etc. 4 “The Disaster Risk Reduction: 2007 Global Review”, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, see at:

Author’s Profile Alexandre Vassiliev Counsellor of ITU-R Study Group 7 (Science services) and Working Party 5B (Maritime and aeronautical mobile, and radiodetermination services), BR Focal point on Radiocommunications and Climate Change

Figure 6: A spaceborne altimeter monitoring sea level (Source: CNES) April 2009 |


„ CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS Wipro Infotech, No. 1 green firm in India According to the latest report of Greenpeace, Wipro Infotech has been rated the No. 1 green brand in India and among the top 5 global green brands in the world. The report entitled ‘Guide to greener electronics’, states that Wipro’s rank moved up largely due to its efforts in energy efficiency and structured programme for effective e-Waste management. The company has crossed the half-mark under stringent ranking criteria with a score of 5.5 out of 10 to maintain its position in top 10 countries. Wipro has scored this position on its voluntry takeback policy and pro-actively providing information to individual customers on recycling and collecting e-Waste rather than mere disposal. The company has also restricted the use of hazardous substances in the manufacturing aspects of the business. In order to create public awareness for e-Waste and even more focused on usage of recycled plastics in new production, the company has launched energy star compliant products and also adopted e-Waste management programmes. articleshow/4372987.cms

ADB, Japan help Bangladesh tackle climate change challenges The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan are supporting Bangladesh in order to tackle the challenges posed by climate change over the coming decades. ADB has approved US$2 million technical assistance grant from the Japan Special Fund to empower the capacity of government agencies in carrying out a 10-year Strategy and Action Plan that addresses food security, disaster preparedness and other key issues related to climate change. The support will build up the capacity of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and other government agencies and also develop a scientific climate change mitigation and adaption programmes and projects. ADB will also put in place a sub-programme to attract private sector businesses and other stakeholders to invest in clean energy projects eligible for carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. According to Zahir Ahmad, Project Implementation Officer for ADB’s Bangladesh mission, this assistance will help in putting a low-carbon economic growth path. The grant will also help in making the country more climate-resilient and help strengthen its food and energy security. The full cost of the technical assistance is estimated at US$2.5 million with the Government making an in-kind contribution of $500,000. The project will start on August 2009 and it will be completed within two years. default.asp


UN programme aims to slash emissions from five countries Five pilot countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will receive US$18 million funding from a United Nations programme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forests while boosting local livelihoods. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon launched the UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) last September in order to combat climate change by creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20 per cent of the overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. The programme’s Policy Board members have approved US$18 million fund for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Vietnam. Along with the countries currently engaged in the programme implementation, the Policy Board includes members of indigenous peoples groups and civil society, as well as donors and many other interested parties such as the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility secretariat. In addition to the five countries that are set to receive the new funds, Bolivia, Panama, Paraguay and Zambia have also expressed interest in receiving assistance through UNREDD, a collaboration between UNEP, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

South Africa plans to launch atlas on carbon capture The Council for Geoscience and the Petroleum Agency of South Africa has compiled an atlas of potential underground storage sites for carbon dioxide emissions as a part of plan to be using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology by 2020. The organisation has compiled the atlas with funding from the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) and a range of energy companies. The South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage, which will oversee the compilation of the atlas and drive the CCS initiative in South Africa was launched in Johannesburg on 27 March 2009. The first phase of the project will be tested by 2016 and a demonstration plant will be implemented by 2020. The atlas will cost around US$219,000, while around US$2.7 million has been raised for the new centre. Other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are not included in the initiative but the government will make expertise available to neighbouring states, so that they can decide to produce their own atlases or eventually set up their own carbon capture and storage plants. Carbon capture and storage involves trapping carbon dioxide before it is released from power stations into the atmosphere and then injecting it into deep underground geological formations such as deep saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas mines. „ i4d | April 2009


Local Area Portals DEF’s innovative model brings together all the benefits of Web2.0 at the disposal of the rural masses and reduces inequalities by giving them access to information

Emmanuel Neisa Intern, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) New Delhi, India

April 2009 |

There is a growing development gap between the societies and communities that have been able to utilise communication technologies to access and create relevant information and content and the ones that are still isolated with weak knowledge-exchange systems. In fact, the links between information, development and livelihood have been largely demonstrated over the past decades in India, especially through ICT projects in rural areas that have brought them access to the markets, empowered local producers, spread location-related knowledge and improved local governance. Providing Internet access with appropriate tools and services to underserved and isolated communities is then paramount to produce a leveraging effect on their development and reduce inequalities that are due to information access. In order to bring the benefits of Internet to the masses, solve the lack of circulation of information in rural areas and foster their access to markets, health, education and public information, Digital Empowerment Foundation came up with the concept of Local Area Portal (LAP) during the ICT for Development visioning workshop organized by the UN Solution Exchange in Puducherry, India at the end of 2007. The LAPs are community-driven web portals designed to work as two-way mediums to share information, services and content between the government, businesses and villagers at the Panchayat level. There are today more than 270,000 Panchayats in India mapped by NIC and Ministry of Panchayati Raj but only few of them are using Internet to bring benefits to the villagers. For this reason, LAP focuses on locally produced content, in order to gather the existing information and knowledge and make it accessible to the entire local community. LAPs both push and pull information by digitising and globalising the local knowledge and by collecting and organising the national and international knowledge

of local relevance available on the web- such as information about government schemes or international market prices for crops. In this sense, LAPs are part of the gLocalisation process, in which there is a growing interaction between local and global knowledge.

Local Area Portal objectives Local Area Portals are run by the communities themselves - in local languages and English - and are customisable and sufficiently flexible in terms of services, languages and information to fit into the local environment and cater to the specific community requirements. LAPs were designed to provide villages an information-rich platform, which could bring three main benefits: • inclusion of rural economies into the markets • circulation of information and knowledge at the village level • transparency in public and administrative processes

Creation of digital local knowledge repositories Connectivity has been growing at an impressive pace in India over the past few years and today, it has become the fastestgrowing telecommunications market in the world. Mobile phone penetration has been steadily increasing – more than 10 million new subscribers per month - and

English Local Area Portal of Dausa district in Rajasthan, India


Local Area Portals as economic opportunities Most of people living in rural areas live from their own produce, crops or artisanry. In fact, it is estimated that more than 60% of Indians are directly dependent on agriculture. Poor infrastructure such as roads and connectivity lead them to sell their produce to middlemen at lower prices and they are not able to grasp all the benefits from their work. On another hand, villagers are obliged to buy goods at higher prices from local resellers because of lack of access to markets and information. Local Area Portals are designed to bring economic opportunities to the villagers by bringing information about the markets, prices of commodities and business prospects. there are today more than 330 million mobilephone subscribers in the country. However, Internet penetration remains very low and only 5 to 6 percent of the Indian population, mostly located in the cities, use Internet regularly. Even though Common Service Centres and other ICT kiosks have been reaching rural areas, their impact is still limited due to the lack of adequate content for the rural reality. In fact, the focus on rural connectivity was given to infrastructure and so little attention has been given to fostering local content creation to provide useful and pertinent information and services in local languages to rural areas across the country. In fact, Internet continues to be English-medium and even Hindi – which is the third most spoken language in the world - does not appear on the list of the top ten languages used on Internet.

India has been a country with immense traditional knowledge, resulting from interaction with a variety of cultures, which has produced an array of music styles, literature and other forms of documented and undocumented knowledge, danceforms, cuisines, agricultural and artisanal practices over the centuries. Much of this traditional wisdom has been disappearing over time as most of it is transferred from one generation to another through oral transmission, without being collected, documented or stored anywhere. The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted in 2001 recognises the importance of ICTs in preserving and disseminating local knowledge to enable intercultural dialogue. In fact, the Internet offers the possibility of gathering immense quantities of knowledge in a variety of formats - audio, video and texts – than can be used to promote local cultures and traditions. Gathering this knowledge under LAPs would not only make Internet relevant to local communities and fill the content gap, but would also contribute to foster tourism and generate revenue opportunities for artisans and local producers.

Enhancement of local governance In a recent study conducted in seven Indian states-Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa - by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and funded by the UNDP, more than a 30% of the respondents were not even aware of how often the Panchayat met and thought that the Panchayat did not work for the local community. The lack of involvement of local communities in the functioning of their Panchayats and the lack of documentation about government schemes and activities has been affecting Panchayats’ legitimacy at the village level. LAPs are essential to rebuild confidence between the citizen and Panchayat authorities by bringing transparency in information, fostering their accountability to all stakeholders and creating

Partners Story

English Local Area Portal of Maval district in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Through their Local Area Portal, people from the villages can upload, manage and update content on the platform and use it as a digital hub for all their activities to gain in efficiency. Each LAP is a bottom-up platform capable of gathering local repositories of knowledge and information, which are easily retrievable and updatable. By aggregating the experiences of the village in terms of problem solving in the medical and agricultural field and sharing them with other villages through the LAP, community members are able to find answers and solutions to their daily queries and problems. This knowledge base has direct impact on people’s livelihoods as it saves them money and time finding solutions that someone has already found.


The introduction of ICTs in the Awasari Gram Panchayat – which comprises 143 villages - in Pune, Maharashtra, has changed the relation between the government representatives and common people. In fact, a Local Area Portal (LAP) with Digital Panchayat facility was installed here in October 2008, providing e-governance facilities and services easily available to the villagers. Two rounds of training were given to the Panchayat resource persons and community members to learn how to update and manage the content on the portal. The villagers are now able to follow the activity of their representatives more closely and know about public services and activities better. The LAP opened a new gateway of information for the villagers who can access content related to their locality in their own language, Marathi. The platform is also translated in English to bring universal outreach to local content and facilitate exchanges. One of the villagers has been traveling to collect information about his region’s economic, demographic and cultural details and post it into the portal. i4d | April 2009

participation mechanisms. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) recognises the utility of public portals to ensure that people exercise their rights by having access to transparent information. In this sense, Local Area Portals are essential to enhance the application of the Right To Information (RTI) Act that came into effect in 2005, functioning as neutral platforms where information about public action could be available at the village level and bringing awareness on public schemes and programmes. Gathering this information will enhance the public monitoring and surveillance of the Panchayats’ functioning. In fact, LAPs are also useful to build mechanisms of citizen participation by offering an online grievance service and direct contact with Panchayat authorities. With the possibility of taking better-informed decisions, LAPs will give Panchayats the means to strengthen the decentralisation process. Moreover, it is largely known that lack of adequate data is one of the main problems that policymakers face while designing programmes and schemes for rural areas. In fact, the data available is often outdated, hardly reflects the situation of the studied areas and its collection is extremely costly for the government. LAPs encourage data gathering at the local level, by the villagers themselves who feed data about the village infrastructure, facilities, needs, demography and economy. This process enhances villagers’ knowledge about their own resources and necessities and creates awareness among the community on the real issues faced. If data about village’s necessities, health statistics, education, agriculture and production is regularly collected, trends could be traced and be used as inputs into the policy-design process. By training young users in data gathering, LAPs could also provide employment opportunities at the village level.

Taking Local Area Portals to the village level Which infrastructure to bring the services? LAP can be implemented through the Common Service Centres (CSC), Community Information and Resource Centre (CIRC), Village Knowledge Centres and other Telecentres existing in rural areas. The implementation of LAPs involve a variety of stakeholders from the private and public sector. In fact, the 100,000 CSCs coming up under the frame of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) are planned to be run in a Public-

April 2009 |

Private Partnership (PPP). The village entrepreneurs shall be able to provide the necessary inputs into the portal and to be the essential link between computer-illiterate villagers and services and information. The offices of the elected representatives will provide information regarding public administration and the main schemes and programmes being run at the community level to guarantee that every villager has access to this type of information. Finally, villagers have to be sensitised about the creation of content and some of them could be trained to work as village reporters to provide the inputs coming from the bulk of the population. Another way to reach the more isolated villages is to make the Local Area Portal available to them through a multi-purpose ICT vehicle (MICTV). This vehicle would cover backward regions of India over a period of 6 or 7 years to take content generation and dissemination across the country to the next level. The MICTV is planned to promote awareness in the villages and launch information campaigns about development schemes, policies and facilities to encourage villagers to ask for their rights and make government officials accountable. Data from different villages will also be collected to document their needs and requirements and serve as inputs into policy-making.

Involving and training all the stakeholders Capacity building and establishing contact with the main village stakeholders is essential to ensure LAPs success and sustainability in rural areas. Government agencies, elected representatives, local administration officials, NGOs and local community leaders shall be involved in the process from the beginning to make LAPs the interaction hub for all of them. Digital Empowerment Foundation, with the support of Micro Associates of Mumbai and Pune’s SMSOne identified 50 Panchayats from Maharashtra and invited them to participate in a workshop organised in February 2008. The focus of this workshop was to raise awareness within the different Panchayats on the importance of digitising their activities – through text, video and audio - and the way of running their own portal and upload, update and manage content on it. The Panchayat representatives were also sensitised about the kind of content and services that would serve the communities’ needs and make their processes more transparent and efficient: RTIs, available schemes, grievance systems, local news, information on markets and entrepreneurial opportunities and cultural content. „


Case study Dhanjay Vidhate is a proud Sarpanch of Salumbre now. His panchayat is on the global map of World Wide Map http:// and has a virtual identity. Salumbre panchayat is located in Salumbre village in Malval block of Pune district in Maharashtra. It is one of the 100 panchayats piloted to have their own website, uploaded with their own developed content, under the Digital Panchayat project spearheaded by Digital Empowerment Foundation. There are approximately 270,000 Panchayats in India whereas all of them are mapped by National Informatics Centre and Ministry of Panchayati Raj on the ministry website under the project called E-Panchayat. However, one cannot find any content on them. Considering that content development and involvement of the citizens and other stakeholders are the most important steps in digitally inclusive projects, Digital Empowerment Foundation launched a Digital Panchayat programme in late 2007 to showcase atleast 100 Panchayats to be virtually present where key players should be citizens and the relevant Panchayat. Digital Empowerment Foundation had organised a 3-day training. It was co-supported by local partners Micro Associates and SMSOne. The training revolved around familiarising the trainees to use computers, Internet and web camera. It was followed by discussing the parameters and steps involved in aggregating local content and finally placing content in digital format. After a few months the same villagers were again invited to attend a refresher training. The refresher training provided them the opportunity to share their experiences of uploading the content and enhanced their existing knowledge on uploading the content. After attending the training sessions organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation, the villagers were equipped to

English Local Area Portal of Maval district in Pune, Maharashtra, India


use the earlier dormant technology services in the village which included BSNL as a major telecom service provider and Gyan Probini as a local computer institute. The villagers started uploading the information on village culture, lifestyle, education, enterprise, culture, health, governing bodies and microfinance in Marathi which is their local language. Dhanjay Vidhate, Head of the Panchayat said, “It’s my dream to see my rural village gets transformed into a smart village. I am looking forward to integrate technology in the rural fabric.” The Digital Panchayat programme is a timely value addition to this dream. The members of the Gram Panchayat felt honoured that DEF had selected their village to help them cultivate skills to use ICT as empowerment tools. Some of the major spin offs of this intervention were: Enhanced awareness levels: The villagers shared their agriculture related information on the portal to advertise about their agriculture products. Access to Internet helped them to get insights into current market rates and reduced possibilities of exploitation. The farmers also used Internet to discuss the agricultural queries and seek expert advice on it from A Pawar, of the Baramati Agriculture Institute. Networking support: The villagers felt they were good at playing Kabbadi and Cricket. In the near future, they will be advertising it on the Local Area Portal so that they could reach out to a network of people who could help them get connected to a pool of resources. So that they could fulfill their dream of playing on a national forum. Maintain connection with the roots: Mr Thane who had migrated from the village to complete his higher studies from Maharashtra after reading the article about his village panchayat getting transformed into digital panchayat. He immediately logged on to the local portal and got in touch with the Sarpanch of the village. Seeing the developments in his village he decided to sponsor 5 computers and 5 scholarships for students so that more villagers could be empowered to use these ICT tools. Moving forward, the digital panchayat aspires to create their own computer lab in their village. Currently, they have to travel 17 kms to access the computer centre. Having a computer lab in their own village will equip hundreds of people residing in their village to create, sustain and strengthen 21st century skills and use the global network for their advantage. „ i4d | April 2009


Moving towards e-Panchayat The Gujarat Panchayat Act, 1993 came into force after the 73rd amendment in the Constitution of India. The Panchayat Raj Department in Gujarat has a three-tier arrangement; Gram Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat. With the help of its portal, the Gujarat Panchayat Raj Department is reaching out to rural masses of the state. The homepage of the Department’s portal gives a brief description about the department, various schemes launched by the government, statistical information related to the number of districts, taluka, gram panchayat, villages, etc.

About District This section gives brief description about the department. The section is again divided into three key sub-sections; Organisational Chart, Golden Goals and Panchayati Raj. Under its Organisation Chart, users can view the set up of the organisation in two ways: • Setup of Panchayat Gram Rural and Housing Development • Administrative Setup of Development Commissioner Office In its Golden Goals section, the portal describes the vision of the department for the year 2010. Some of them are: • Gram Sachivalayas (Secretariat) in all villages • Connectivity of 18000 villages by video conference • Urban Villages • Training facilities for gram panchayat members and staff • Total Clean (Nirmal) The Panchayati Raj section presents the number of District, Taluka and Gram Panchayat. The department has distributed different function to each of the three tiers.

Schemes The Gujarat Government implements various schemes to empower its citizens. April 2009 |

Each webpage of the scheme provides detailed information about the scheme as presented below: Sardar Patel Awas Yojana: The scheme has been launched for landless agricultural labourers and village artisans living Below Poverty Line (BPL) in rural areas of the state. The webpage gives detailed information about the scheme and also allows users to avail this scheme by filling the online application form. Panchvati Scheme: Under this scheme, the government creates recreational areas/ parks for the rural masses where they can all spend their leisure time in the company of other members of their community. Tirth Gram Yojana: The Government initiated this scheme in 2004-05. The Tirth Gram Yojana has been formulated to strengthen goodwill amongst people living in the rural areas, to promote unity and more importantly, help the overall development of the village by involving the villagers in the development process. E-gram Vishvagram Yojana: In order to modernise Village Panchayats and to make their functioning organised, timebound, simple, error-free and transparent through the implementation of IT, the State Government has implemented this scheme. The government provides the necessary hardware and software to link the Gram Panchayats, Taluka Panchayats and District Panchayats to the Secretariat. Nirmal Gujarat: This is an initiative which envisages capacity building in waste management and is an attempt on a complete behavioural change through communication on environmental

consciousness, awareness, capacity building, participation, best practice, and guidelines. Apart from the above mentioned schemes, the state government has also implemented some other schemes like Swachcha Gam Swasth Gam Yojana (Clean Village, Healthy Village scheme), Gramsabha, Jamin Sampadan Suvidha (Land Acquisition and Structural Facilities), Gram-Mitra Yojana and 12 th Finance Commission.

Statistics This section carries detailed information about the budgetary allocations made to the department under various heads apart from other statistical information.

e-Citizen This section is divided into four subsections; Government Resolutions, Citizen Charter, Right to Information Act (RTI) and Rules and Regulations for the state residents. Apart from these services, the portal also connects to State Government, Union Government and other Line Departments of the state like Education, Agriculture, Finance, Forest and Environment, etc. The portal also acts as a platform for uses to know whom they have to approach for the processing of their applications and resolution of grievances. The portal has a hyperlink to a customised iGoogle page called ‘eGram Google’ (http://panchayat. sitemap.htm) through which users can search for information in Gujarati with the help of a Gujarati on-screen keyboard. eGram Google also carries news from Gujarat, photographs and YouTube videos of eGram, other state government websites, Google maps gadget and other services of Google. Keeping in mind their target group for which the information is presented in the websites, almost all the content is posted in the local language (Gujarati). „



Serving the rural masses L i k e Gu j a r a t , K a r n a t a k a’s Ru r a l Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department also has a three-tier Panchayat Raj system in the state with elected bodies at the Gram, Taluka and District levels in keeping with the Constitution Amendment relating to Panchayats for greater participation of the people and more effective implementation of rural development programmes and to function as units of local-self governance. The portal of the State’s Department gives access to various notifications, annual reports, schemes, development policies and payments receipts through the homepage itself. The department’s portal has three main sections and eight sub-sections. About the Department: This section gives detailed information about the department and their developmental activities. The department is implementing a number of schemes to improve living conditions of the people, to create economic and political awareness in rural areas. Some of the schemes are for improvement of rural infrastructure, poverty alleviation, democratic decentralization and rural energy programmes. Organisation: This page carries the organogram of the department. Users can also view details about specific divisions within the department and directly contact the head of the divisions. Schemes: This section carries information about various schemes launched by the state government. The schemes are laid out under various heads/ projects under which the schemes fall. Each scheme is hyperlinked with the .pdf version of the file that gives detailed information about that scheme. Some of the schemes are Sampoorna Grammena Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), Jalarakshane, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Swarna Jayanthi Gram Swarozgar yojana (SGSY), etc. Pioneers: The Pioneers section contains the contact details of various functionaries at the Zila Panchayat level. Panchayat Raj Acts: This section contains full text of the Karnataka


Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 for the benefit of the general public. Panchayat Raj Rules: This section is a continuation of the previous section and contains rules regarding various relevant acts, amendments and notifications. Rights to Information: The RTI section is a continuation of the previous section and allows users to know about their Right to Information and RTI’s scope in the functioning of the department. Accounts and Budget:This section covers the budget allocations of the state government for various schemes and programmes. It also shows the annual auditing report of Zila Panchayats. Training Centre: In order to train elected representatives of the Panchayat Raj Institutions(PRIs), functionaries of line departments, NGOs and Rural Credit Institutions, the state government has established two Training Centres; Abdul Nazeer Sab State Institute of Rural Development (ANSSIRD) and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development (MGIRED). • ANSSIRD: Set up in 1989, with a mission to serve the rural development functionaries of Karnataka, the centre offers training programmes in several thrust areas of rural development and decentralised governance for the elected representatives of PRIs, functionaries of line departments, NGOs and Rural Credit Institutions. The institute provides intensive training in face-to-face as well as distance mode, using contemporary methodologies and technologies to

suit different programme requirements. • M G I R E D : T h e c e n t re was established to provide training in the field of rural energy with special emphasis on renewable energy to the officers of various State G ov e r n m e n t s , C e n t r a l Government, NGO’s, public representatives of PRIs, students and entrepreneurs. Gram Swaraj: The portal also connects to the project, called Gram Swaraj that has been implemented by the Department in association with World Bank. The projects aim to covers 1341 Gram Panchayats (GP) with opportunities towards improving their present conditions particularly with respect to the management of public resources and the delivery of relevant services that rural people prioritise. In order to achieve these objectives, the project would: • Build capacity in the Gram Panchayats, Ta l u k a Pa n c h a y a t s a n d Z i l a Panchayats. • Improve framework and guidelines for revenue collection. • Provide formula-based untied grants to 1341 GPs in the ‘Most Backward Talukas’ • Revamp financial management and procurement system. • Improve the effectiveness of service delivery across a range of services that have devolved on them under the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993. Apart from the above-mentioned sections, the portal also allows people to know about the NREGA scheme, directories of SHGs to read decentralisation report and evaluation report given by the Panchayat Raj Department and other state departments, connects to other central and state department and and also allows them to give feedback to the department. Keeping in mind their target group for whom the information is presented information about all schemes is posted in the local language (Kannada). „ i4d | April 2009


From vedas to e-Panchayat After the state of Haryana came into existence on 1 st November 1966, the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act, 1952, was made applicable to the Panchayat Raj Institutes (PRIs) in Haryana. On 1994, the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act was framed which came into force on 22nd April, 1994. According to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act 1994, PRIs have been entrusted with duties and functions related to all the 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution. The Haryana Development and Panchayats Department strives to reach out to its rural masses and bring all the government services to their doorsteps. The homepage of the department’s portal has different sections like, About Haryana, State of Panchayat, Online Applications and Contact Us. The ‘About Haryana’ section takes the user to the portal of the government of Haryana. The district wise total number of Gram Panchayats are also given in this section. With the help of the Online Application section, users can fill the following online forms for various schemes launched by the State Government that are: 1. ePanchayat 2. Model Village System 3. Mahatma Gandhi Gramin Basti Yojna 4. e-Village Directory 5. Engineering Wing Reporting System Apart from above mentioned sections, the portal has following sub-sections: Administrative Set Up: This section gives detailed information about the administrative set-up of the department at the State Headquarter, District Level and Block Level. It also gives name of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) and Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) who are incharge at Block level. About PRIs: The section gives information about the PRIs and history of panchayati raj system in India. Budget: Through this section, users can view the budget allocations by the Department under the Panchayat Wing and Development Wing. Under the Panchayat Wing, the webpage shows the April 2009 |

budget statements of the expenditures incurred during the past five years, budget estimates of 2007-2008 and other rural development programmes under Panchayats Wing. The Development Wing webpage shows the non-plan scheme as well as plan scheme statement of expenditure from 2006-2007 to 20082009. Users can also see the explanatory memorandum for these budget allocations under these two wings. Capacity Building: Through this department, the State Government has launched two capacity building initiatives; Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilokheri, Karnal and the State Community Development Training Centre (ETC). The Haryana Institute of Rural Development connects to the official website ( of the initiative. The State Community Development Training Centre webpage gives detailed information about the launch of Community Development Programme. Under this programme, the centre provides training courses for Block Development and Panchayat Officers and Extension Officers of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi State and some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. This training centre is engaged in imparting training and research on Rural Development, Panchayati Raj for Elected Panchayati Raj Functionaries (Panchayat Samitis, Sarpanches and Panches), Officers, Officials and Non-Officials of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Department and Line Departments. Wings of the Department: The Haryana Development and Panchayats Department has four wings; Development Wing, Haryana Rural Development Fund Administration (HRDFA) Board, Engineering Wing and Panchayats Wing. Development Wing: Under the Development Wing, the department has implemented various schemes like Rural Health and Sanitation Scheme under the Community Development Programme, Construction of Harijan/ Backward/General Chaupals Subsidy Scheme, Construction of New Block

Office Building Including Panchayats, Zila Parishad Buildings, etc. Haryana Rural Development Fund Administration (HRDFA) Board: The HRDFA board aims to improve quality of agricultural produce and to provide good markets. Engineering Wing: The Panchayat Raj Engineering Wing (PREW) is the engineering wing of Development and Panchayats Department. The objective of engineering wing is to design, execute and maintain the required infrastructural facilities in rural areas for the economic development of rural people in Haryana. Panchayats Wing: The Panchayat Wing monitors the development works and panchayat activities. It also covers various schemes like Revenue Earning Scheme, Matching Grant Scheme, Grant-in-aid to Panchayati Raj Institutions, etc. Apart from the above mentioned sections, the portal also allows users to download various application forms, acts and rules and various Right to Information (RTI) forms for panchayat wing, funds release for construction of streets in villages under 3 rd State Finance Commission Scheme during the current financial year 2008-09 (Non-Plan) and funds release for construction of CC streets in villages under pavement of streets scheme during the current financial year 2008-09. The website also allows users to connect with other State Departments and Administrative Reforms Commission and to view the map of the state, news and state press releases, success stories of state/district/village panchayats, notifications details about letters and orders. The website is a one-stop platform that allows users to organise and evaluate data from the grassroots level with some new e-Panchayat tools. „



Serving the unreached Under the provisions laid down in the Himachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act, 1952, the Panchayati Raj System was established in the state in 1954. After the enactment in the Act, 466 Gram Panchayats were established in 1954 and by 1962, Himachal Pradesh had 638 Gram Panchayats. Like other States in India, the Himachal Pradesh Government provides information about its Panchayati Raj System through its portal ( html). The home page of the portal has sections like ‘Telephone Directory’ that allows users to view contact details of elected representative of Panchayat Raj Department and ‘Structure of Department’ that shows hierarchy of the department officials. Constitution Provision for Panchayats: The section covers the statement of objects and reasons appended to the Constitution (Seventy-second Amendment) Bill, 1991 which was enacted as the Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992. The webpage shows the changes that have taken place in the Panchayati Raj System after the 73rd Amendment in the country. Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996: This section is a continuation of the previous section

and covers the provisions of the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. State Act and Rules: The page shows the Act and Rules made by the Himachal Pradesh Government to establish Panchayati Raj System in the state. Each Act is hyperlinked with a new page that gives detailed information about the particular Act. In order to reach rural masses, the government has presented all the content in Hindi also. Computerisation of PRI’s: This section displays the list of Panchayats, Block Offices, Zila Parishad and DPO’s Office where the State Government has provided computer facility. The list also shows the number of computer systems that have been provided by the government in each Panchayat, Block and Zila Panchayats. Users can also view status report of the second phase of the computerisation project in the state. Sections like Panchayati Raj Setup in Himachal Pradesh, Status of Reservation in PRI’s, number of PRI’s and Names of PRI’s show the status of Panchayati Raj System with the number and name of Gram Panchayats and Zila Panchayat in the state and detailed information about wards/constituencies of members

of Gram Panchayats and number of wards/constituencies reserved for the Schedules Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women. Sections like category-wise names of Chairpersons of PRIs and directories of PRI’s allows citizens to view the name of Chairperson of Gram Panchayat, Zilla Panchayats and Panchayat Samiti with their contact details. The ‘Facilities to office bearers of PRIs’ section allows staff members from PRIs to view the status of facilities provided by the department. In order to provide grants, the state department has also initiated Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) for scheduled caste and backward classes. BRGF is designed to redress regional imbalances in development. The fund will provide financial resources for supplementing and converging existing developmental inflows into identified districts. Through the ‘Backward Region Grant Fund’ section, users scan check the status of grants provided by the State Government to scheduled castes and other backward classes. In order to inform citizens about their judicial rights and other rights, the portal allows citizens to read judicial functions, PRI functions, their power and other administrative reports also. Keeping the target population in mind, the State Government has provided most of the content in local language (Hindi). „

Gram panchayats are local governments at the village or Small Town level in India. The gram panchayat is the foundation of the Panchayat System. A gram panchayat can be set up in villages with a minimum population of 500. Sometimes two or more villages are clubbed together to form groupgram panchayat when the population of the individual villages is less than 500. Tehsil/Taluka/Mandal are administrative divisions of some countries of South Asia Portals reviewed by Ritu Srivastava


i4d | April 2009

e-Village project starts in Arunachal Pradesh The College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University (CAU) at Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh and C-DAC, Hyderabad are jointly implementing a research project on “Creating Model e-Villages in North-East India” from June, 2008 to May, 2010. In the NorthEastern part of India, for the first time, the pilot project will be implemented in the East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh State. Ten e-Village Centres are established covering entire the district having 132 villages. R Saravanan, the e-Village Project Investigator from the College of Horticulture and Forestry, CAU, Pasighat indicated that, “these e-Village Centres are going to be developed as one of the model e-Village Centres in the entire north-east for e-Governance in Agriculture, Health, Education, Energy and Government services”. The model e-Village project centres are equipped with computer, printer, scanner, wireless Internet connection (EVDO) and DTH (Direct-to-home)TV. Regular computer training and awareness on IT is provided to the villagers, especially village youth and students free of cost. For this purpose, a trained youth from the same village is appointed as a Project Facilitators in all the 10 e-Village Centres. The project also provides printing, scanning and Internet accessibility to the villagers. Simultaneously, College of Horticulture and Forestry, CAU, Pasighat Experts and

Project Researchers will take up farmers’ need-based training programmes, field visits, diagnostic survey and online advisory services for better farming. S N Puri, Vice-Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal, Manipur visited Berung and Sille village centres on 30 th and 31 st March, 2009 and interacted with villagers and e-Village project team members on agricultural and rural developmental issues related to e-Governance. The CAU, VC asked the e-Village team to connect e-Village Centres with other seven constituent colleges of the CAU located in the six north-Eastern states through online videoconferencing facility for expert advice to the farmers of Berung village. After interacting with villagers on farming issues, he directed the e-Village teams to collect village level base line survey data on ‘agricultural status’ and farm production plans to be prepared in consultation with the villagers and same to be uploaded in the e-Village web portal. He also cautioned the scientists not to recommend only advanced technologies, which may not be relevant to the local condition and hence, asked agricultural scientists to give more emphasis on Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of the farmers. This IK may need to be tested and refined to provide better income to the farmers. He also suggested that Veterinary camp, health camp, entrepreneurship development programme, should be organised through e-Village scheme in collaboration with College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, CAU, Aizawl, Mizoram and College of Home Science, CAU, Tura, Meghalaya and also along with other state agricultural a n d r u r a l d e ve l o p m e n t a l departments, institutions and NGOs. Through these e-Village C-DAC, Hyderabad and College of Horticulture are Forestry Centres all the extension and (CHF), CAU, Pasighat e-Village Centre at Sille Village, East research schemes of the Central Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh Agricultural University and


improved seeds developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes will be made available to the farmers of Berung. He also suggested taking entrepreneurship training at CHF to ensure self employment to the village youth. Further, based on his advice, the e-Village team assured for displaying employment related advertisements at e-village centre notice board and e-Village project portal regularly. The VC also suggested forming village self help groups to take-up agricultural and allied entrepreneurial activities. He requested community participation and feed back regularly for the improvement of this e-Village Research Project. In one of the e-Village centres at Berung village Nalong Perme, Gram Chairperson expressed that “I am really thankful to the College of Horticulture and Forestry and C-DAC, Hyderabad for selecting our village and we (villagers) contribute towards the e-Village project, and also take the responsibility of security and maintenance of the centre in coming days”. In similar vein, Jayeir Dai, College going girl student reacted that “I really felt that I should contribute my sincere efforts towards this project as it is a contribution to my younger generation and to my village”. Most of the villagers are very enthusiastic about the e-Village project. They are very keen to learn the knowledge of computers and also advanced farm technologies, health information through Information Technology. „ i4d | April 2009



Revolutionising communication The e-Despatch system deployed by the Orissa Panchayati Raj Department can revolutionise the Governments’ communications system bringing about efficiency, transparency and accountability

Smruti Ranjan Pradhan Dy Secretary, Department of Panchayati Raj, Government of Orissa

Sanjay Prakash Sahoo Vice President (Operations), CSM Technologies

April 2009 |

Orissa is one of the few States in the post-independent period to take up the Panchayati Raj (PR) as its main fulcrum of rural administration. Over the last 50 years, Panchayati Raj Institutions have emerged as powerful institutions in bringing about rapid and sustainable development and socio-economic transformation in rural Orissa. The prime objectives of the three tiered Panchayati Raj System are to eradicate poverty, uplift the standard of living of people in the rural areas, and bring about a healthy society by creating awareness for hygiene, sanitation and eradication of illiteracy. At present 1,00,862 elected representatives of 30 Zila Parishads, 314 Panchayat Samities and 6,234 Gram Panchayats are getting the opportunity to participate in the governance of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). There are three primary functionary bodies for the PRI: • Zila Parishad • Panchayat Samiti • Gram Panchayat. Gram Panchayats in Orissa have been empowered to levy taxes and manage community assets created out of different poverty eradication and area development schemes. They, as constitutional bodies represent the model of community participation and social empowerment. Basic services among other include: • Primary education • Primary health • Safe drinking water • Sanitation and street lighting • Environment protection • Common Property Resources (CPR) management

Technology incubation Panchayati Raj in Orissa as an early technology adaptor has recognised the value that knowledge and insight can add to their system, thereby enhancing the delivery capability of their workforce. This initiative has kept the much prevalent monster managers at bay. Successful deployment of e-Despatch - a knowledge management and productivity tool has ensured that all facets of business processes are adequately captured within its framework and enable organisation-specific

approval system, electronic documentation and records management. This framework supports rapid configuration of a wide range of systems including collaborative networking, sharing documents, knowledge acquisition and knowledge representation, and also various combinations of mindsharing technologies. The e-Despatch framework serves as a robust enterprise platform for managing people, applications and systems in any routine business processes and provides significant competitive advantages. • The technology is based on MVC (Model View Controller) architecture using a rule engine-based pattern which isolates the business logic


from the user interface, in such a scenario the user Advantages of e-Despatch over traditional method interface and the business logic can be independently Traditional Method e-Despatch Heads Sl No configured and managed by the user. • The Communication and the Data Integration Less Huge Time Consumption 1 Interface Channels are based on service-oriented Modern Traditional Process 2 methodology provided for system group Optional Mandatory Letters by Post 3 functionality around business processes and are Not Required Mandatory Resending letter 4 packaged as interoperable service. Not Required Mandatory Speed Post 5 • This methodology has been enabled to allow Low High Work Pressure 6 NREGAsoft, PriaSoft, RuralSoft and PAMIS the Not Required Not Required Technical know-how 7 other legacy software being used in PR Orissa to Yes No Transparency 8 exchange data with one another as they participate Instant Delayed Delivery 9 in business processes. Service orientation provides a Yes No Citizen Centric 10 loose coupling of services with the operating system, Yes No Complies RTI 11 programming language and other technologies Easy Tough Search post dated letter 12 which under lie IGRS application. • Use of relational database management system Auto Generation Maintaining out peon book Mandatory 13 to facilitate data exchange between different Auto Generation Mandatory Maintaining Register 14 departments. Automatic Writing address on envelope Manual 15 The following problems are faced by Panchayati Automatic Manual Faxing 16 Raj Department as per the normal process that is Automatic Manual e-mail 17 followed: Automatic Manual Publishing on website 18 • Average time of delivery of letter from its start point Available Not available Daily/Weekly report 19 to issue dispatch section is 1 hour. High Not Available Data Availability 20 • Most of the letters either have to wait in queue and Easy Tough Monitoring 21 ultimately get physically dispatched by the end of the day or next day to the post office/courier. • On an average the dispatch section takes 3 hours to dispatch the letter on the same day browse the Internet will have no problem using this system. • There is no guarantee on whether the letter dispatched has Entirely database driven, e-Despatch is incredibly robust – making it suitable for sites ranging from low traffic, small business sites reached the recipients which is dispatched by post. to large Government sites requiring hundreds of updates daily. • Monitoring of letters sent becomes very difficult. e-Despatch streamline PR Orissa content updates. It stores a • Searching of a particular letter takes a lot of time. Because of the lack of accountable, transparent and service- single copy of the information within the designated e-Space oriented practices of dispatching letters one has to remember the and is accessible via a password configured using a secured letter’s subject and its addressee. It is impossible to have a central Admin Manager. repository of these letters for future reference. This practice leads to an even more difficult process of asking the sender to resend the letter via fax or e-mail if a reference is required.

Expected outcomes e-Despatch aims to correct these problems of a fragmented user interface, confusing navigational support and disparate knowledge repository by presenting a single gateway for all Government information and services. e-Despatch was developed by Software Technology Parks of India(STPI) to fill the following needs for the Government that require maintaining their People, Business Processes, Technology and Knowledge base with the latest Governance culture, information and also being able to empower employees to communicate within or outside the Government departments. e-Despatch allows organisations to make their processes and knowledge transparent. Anyone who can use Microsoft Windows and can


Existing Process Chart i4d | April 2009

Proposed solutions Without re-engineering the process of issuing letters, this solution will not only help speed up the process but also avoid delays in monitoring of the letters. The e-Despatch solution includes the following process: Receiving letter pad: The e-Despatch application starts on receipt of the final letter. Generating Auto Letter number and entry to SW: Once the letter is received the user generates a letter number and enters the same in the hardcopy of the letter.

Assign subject: The letter number generated should have a subject. The subject to the letter is assigned at this stage. In this stage the mode of despatch and the destination are also specified. Here, by destination we mean whether the letter is to be sent intra-department or outside the issuing department. Assigning letters to the concerned address: The letter number generated is saved in the database. This particular letter number is now selected and concerned addresses are assigned which are already entered in the master data. This application also caters to those addresses which are not entered in the master data. Scanning of letters and conversion to .pdf: After assigning the address, the hardcopy of the letter is scanned against that particular letter number. Work monitoring and assigning letters as per schemes: The next step in assigning the scanned letters to a particular scheme. Letter despatch as per instructions: After the letter is attached to a scheme the letters are ready for despatch which can be done at click of a button. Letters can be despatched as fax/e-mail and published on a website. To send urgent messages, the application also has a facility through which the user may send text messages (SMS) too. „

Special needs of elected women panchayat representatives It is high time for us to accept and appreciate that the panchayats at the bottom level of administration executing the policy-based programmes do carry major responsibility of doing good to people including the disadvantaged group of people and women. In a country like India where societal diversity and cultural cleavage are prominent as is the low literacy rate among women, it is a major challenge faced by the panchayats to empower the leaders and more specifically women for involvement at the grassroots level of democracy. It might have been heretical in the beginning of the 20th century to give women belonging to the weaker sections of the society their due representation in the governance structure. Prior to Government of India Act, 1935, women were not even eligible for appointment as members of legislative council. After seven decades of the amendment of the Government of India Act, 1919 i.e. in 1993, the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, the status of women in political representation was enhanced considerably though it is limited only to 3rd order of governance. The 73rd amendment to the constitution was made providing one-third reservation of seats for women’s representation in the panchayats. The amendment gave women the right to play a role in the decision-making process within a democratic political system. April 2009 |

Orissa became the first State to implement the women quota at a time when the Union Government was still deliberating on the issue. The provision made under the Orissa Gram Panchyat Act, has bolstered the leadership of women in panchayats by enabling them to hold office at all the 3 tiers of the system (Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samiti) of governance. 33 percent reservation for women in the panchayats as mandated in the 73rd amendment of the constitution is not a proportional representation, but an initiative to allay the gender disparity partly. The major impediment of gender-based quota system is perceived as “proxy representation” by women in the panchayats, where their husbands actually function as de-facto people’s representative. This happens when women are less literate and have no political standing in the society. Here, capacity building of women representatives who are holding offices and also potential future leaders is crucial in reversing the trend. The Civil society organisations also need to sensitise the male dominated society to accept women as leaders, change in attitude by the general public is a must for diminishing the gender biasness of the society and the panchayat raj institutions.


e-Panchayat as Decision Support Systems Panchayats have, since their genesis, been endowed with a lot of responsibility and authority with so less resources, including human resources, at their disposal. Now the panchayats are required to take their own decisions in respect of developmental activities through a participatory process. Having said this, it is imperative for the panchayats to have appropriate decision support system in their endeavour towards self-governance. ICT tools can perhaps provide a solution to the challenges faced by the panchayats in a post 73rd amendment era. The Panchayati Raj Department of Orissa has incorporated the following Decision Support System which act as an online real time input to its Business Intelligence MIS Dashboard.Block Computerisation in Orissa started during the year 2003-04. Two computers and one dot matrix printer was provided to each block of Orissa. Technical manpower, MCA/ B.E (Computer Science), BE in IT/ BE (Electronics and Telecommunication) were engaged as Computer Programmer out of the Eleventh Finance Commission (EFC) Award Grant on contractual basis. To add on this infrastructure, GRAMSAT Pilot Project – Orissa (GPP-O) played a vital role, where apart from the Computer and printer, one VSAT unit with antenna (ODU) and Modem (IDU), one IRD system, one TV set were provided to each block. Besides this, the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) and District Head Quarter had been provided

with 4 computers, two printers, one VSAT unit, one IRD system in GPP-O. To man these, a computer programmer was engaged on a contractual basis. Also, a programme officer having 15-18 years of exposure in IT was put incharge of the e-Governance activities implemented by Panchayati Raj Department from time to time. The programme officer was assigned the work of supervision and guidance to computer programmers engaged in DRDA and Blocks. To start with the implementation of online applications with the help of VSAT, two small applications were developed by NIC, Bhubaneswar (Orissa) with active guidance and support by Panchayati Raj Department, Govt. of Orissa. The software are RuralSoft and PriaSoft. RuralSoft aims for monitoring of all wage employment programmes. This was developed and implemented as per the suggestion of N C Saxena, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India to review all the anti-poverty programmes. The URL of RuralSoft is The other software is PriaSoft i.e. Panchayati Raj Institutions Accounting Software, which gives the Panchayat(Gram Panchayat/ Block or Intermediate Panchayat/Zila Panchayat)-wise flow of funds under different schemes in shape of Cash, Bank, Treasury and Advance. The URL of PriaSoft is http://ori.nic. in/priasoft. There are 30 Zila Panchayats (DRDA) and 314 Block or Intermediate Panchayats, 6,234 Gram Panchayats (the smallest administrative unit at village level)

in Orissa. Before installation of GPP-O, the above two software were implemented at District Level i.e. DRDA by dialup connectivity. The data are being collected from all Gram Panchayats, all Block Panchayats and entered into RuralSoft and PriaSoft. The availability of Internet connectivity at the block level through GPP-O provided the facility for online data entry and report generation. To add on to this process, one online Pay Roll software namely BETAN is developed by OCAC and put in place online for pay bill generation of all teachers, all block staff and all DRDA staff. Similarly, the stand alone software to generate computerised cash book of Block Panchayat and DRDA was hosted on the web. Now, the block and DRDAs have discarded handwritten cashbook and hand written pay acquaintance. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA) of the Union Parliament received the assent of the Hon’ble President of India on 5th September 2005. A scheme namely NREGS was in operation in 200 districts of India from 2nd February, 2006. The Government of India has identified 19 districts of Orissa consisting of 205 blocks covering 3,672 Gram Panchayats that covers more than 33,000 villages under this act. NREGS – Orissa started its implementation on 2nd February, 2006. Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa inaugurated the scheme at Nadiali Gram Panchayat of Dhenkanal district by distributing the jobcards.

WWF launches campaign to save Himalayas The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched awareness campaign on Climate Change in the Himalayas to raise awareness on climate change in the Himalayas all over the world. With an aim to raise awareness on climate change in the Himalayas all over the world, WWF has launched its year-long awareness campaign on “Climate Change in the Himalayas”, local media reported on Sunday. Jon Miceler, Managing Director, Eastern Himalayas Program, WWF-US, handed over a banner with the climate change message “Stop Climate Change, Let the Himalayas Live!” to Apa Sherpa, 18-times Mt. Qomolangma summiteer, to be taken to the top of Mt. Qomolangma in his 19th ascent this year. This message will be taken to the top of the world during the “Eco Everest (Qomolangma) Expedition 2009” under the


leadership of Dawa Steven Sherpa, two-times Everest summiteer. Last spring, he had led the team of “Eco Everest Expedition 2008” which had done scientific research on glacial lakes and melting glaciers. Sherpa said, “The disastrous impacts of climate change are visible in the Everest region. It is a warning to the whole of mankind to do something before it goes totally wrong.” Anil Manandhar, Country Representative, WWF Nepal, said, “The Himalayas are the youngest and most vulnerable mountains to climate change. Through this campaign, we aim to draw the attention of the world community towards the plight of the Himalayas.” “Garbage Out of Thin Air” was opened at the Gallery displaying artistic creations made from garbage and debris collected from Mt. Qomolangma trail and brought down by the team of “Eco Everest Expedition 2008”. i4d | April 2009


The Change Agents As the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has become a sine qua non for rural development of India, Government of India has taken an initiative to introduce e-governance on a massive scale under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) to provide basic facilities to citizens in the areas of e-governance, agriculture, financial inclusion, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment and so on. Having assumed the significance of the technological intervention and Common Services Centres, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India organised a conference on 'Common Service Centres: The Change Agents' on 19th -20th

April 2009 |

March 2009 at FICCI Federation House, New Delhi. The inaugural session was addressed by the highest echelons of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. In his opening remarks Shankar Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Information Technology highlighted the importance of NeGP, which is intended to provide better access to information and effective public service deliveries to rural communities through public-private partnership. He told that the thrust areas were education, health, and agriculture, skill upgradation, employment generation, renewable energy and microfinance. R Chandrashekhar, Special Secretary of the Department of Information Technology, talked about how CSCs could transform the lives of rural communities and change the course of rural development in India. He

was convinced that CSCs would stimulate entrepreneurship, generate employment and also create competitive and attractive market for private investment in rural areas. He also pointed out that the ICT sector had played a very limited role in welfare of rural communities in the past but lauded new governmental initiatives which had the potential to eliminate poverty, bridge digital divide, create more employment opportunities and enhance rural development. Jainder Singh, Secretar y at the same department also highlighted the importance of CSCs and informed how they could be crucial in effective public services delivery to common people, particularly in keeping water service records, maintenance of infrastructure and stimulation of entrepreneurship. CSCs include not only the private players but


also bring social actors into the process of development that would increase people’s participation. Therefore, Jainder Singh was of the opinion that a second green revolution was not possible without active participation of CSCs. In his inaugural speech, K.N. Chandrasekhar, Cabinet Secretary of Government of India said that inclusive growth; citizen oriented government and broad based empowerment were the main planks of India’s e-governance plans. He shared the experiences of e-city of Ahmedabad, Vision Centre of Tripura and Jankari of Bihar. Vote of thanks was given by noted economist and Secretary General of FICCI, Amit Mitra who also applauded India’s e-government initiatives.

Session 1: Augmenting the agricultural services through CSC Since agriculture is the backbone of Indian rural society and economy and the role of CSCs is critical in accelerating growth in the sector, therefore it was only natural that the first session was dedicated to the agricultural sector. The session was chaired by T Nanda Kumar, Secretary of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and the discussion panel consisted of C K Gopalakrishna, Chief Manager - Development Policy Department (Non-Farm Sector), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); Anjan Mandal, Head of Business Development (North and East India), National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX); N T Yaduraju, National Co-ordinator, National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP); N N Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Birsa Agricultural University and G Veerappan, COO (e-Governance ), Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd. Special remarks were made by C K Peethambaran, e-Krishi Project Consultant and former Dean of Kerala Agricultural University. C K Peethambaran shared his experiences of e-Krishi project, which is a network of Akshaya centres in Kerala. Akshaya centres provide agricultural information and advice to farmers. These centres are also instrumental in providing many other services such as marketing agricultural


products - both selling and buying, orientation programmes, soil testing, and so on. e-Krishi centres have ties with various institutes working in the realm of agriculture research, including NABARD. Remarkable success was achieved in promotion of paddy and mushroom, but language, lack of skilled staff and infrastructure remain the main hurdle in smooth functioning of these centres. In the same vein, C K Gopalakrishna also said various e-services could be provided through CSCs. Anjan Mandal discussed the role of CSCs in agriculture marketing and observed that Kisan Call Centres are crucial in this regard. N T Yaduraju focused on research co-ordination among premier institutions such as IITs, ICAR and various agricultural universities. The creation of All-India Co-ordinated Research Project under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) system is landmark in the history of agriculture in the country. N N Singh opined that CSCs should also provide services to livestocks because they are also a crucial part of the rural economy. G Veerappan highlighted the dichotomy between theory and practices. Theoretically speaking, CSCs are capable of transforming the rural societies and economies, but good infrastructure and skilled leadership are the main prerequisites. He recommended that project should be formulated according to the local needs else this fascinating idea would gradually become obsolete.

Session 2: e-Governance Services: Key Drivers for CSCs This session was chaired by Shankar Aggarwal and the panelists were S Abbasi, Director, Department of Information

Technology; Aruna Sundararajan, CEO (CSC Programme), IL&FS; Tanmoy Chakrabarty, VP and Head - Global Government Industry Group, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Sabahat Azim, CEO, SREI Sahaj e-Village Limited. In her brief presentation, Aruna Sundararajan talked about e-Krishi and introspected the evolution of CSCs’ project. Tanmoy Chakrabarty argued that e-Governance was a holistic plan to bring IT to the masses. In his opinion, CSCs resemble radio community stations or community television centres and they can play a leading role in providing information to rural communities but we have to avoid the misuse of these centres. He brought to notice how Common Information Centres were misused and turned into a hub for entertainment in the North East region of India. S Abbasi briefed about e-Districts which is being transformed into a “virtual government office”. e-Districts provide basic services which are delivered by district government offices. If CSCs do not yield desired result, they will lose their legitimacy. He opined that the need of an awareness campaign about the CSCs has been felt. Sabahat Azim advocated that technological interventions were very critical for eradication of poverty and creation of productive wealth in the poor regions of the country. In his opinion, despite transparent, honest and effective government system, Tripura is still a poor state of India because it lacks resources for development and necessary technological inputs. He feels that CSCs can provide a viable option for rural development at the local level. i4d | April 2009

Session 3: Addressing the Healthcare challenges in Rural India through CSCs This session was chaired by Amarjeet Sinha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Panelists were Deepinder Bedi, Executive Director, Tulip Telecom Ltd; B S Bedi, Adviser, Health Informatics, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC); Ranjan Dwivedi, National Professional Officer, e-Health, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Zubin Daruwala, Director - Business Development, Johnson & Johnson. Sashi Priya, Faculty - LICO, Aravind Eye Hospitals, shared her experience of Vision Centres. The Vision Centres are part of a global initiative of the International Agency of Prevention of Blindness. Aligning with this initiative, Government of India is planning to set up atleast 20,000 vision centres across the country. The Vision Centres have adopted the bottom up approach to target the rural masses. Deepinder Bedi put strong emphasis on local innovations which would be cost effective and more adoptive in local environment. Agreeing with the previous speaker, B S Bedi said that interinteroperability between 3G and WIMAX will enhance connectivity and disbursal of service. Ranjan Dwivedi pointed out that e-Health services were costly due to expensive technologies involved like video conferencing and there is also a lack of good April 2009 |

connectivity in many parts of the country. Cultural factors should also be taken into account. He opines that infrastructure sharing with the CSCs can reduce costs and telemedicine can reduce the isolation of rural areas. Zubin Daruwala spoke about how the private sector is looking towards the rural market and is interested in providing cost effective services in rural areas. He was convinced that the private sector could only play a complementary role in developmental process. He opines that awareness, access, affordability and adoption would be crucial to reach the rural areas.

Session 4: Rural Development and Financial Inclusion through CSCs The session was chaired by Aruna Sundararajan and the panelists were S Shekar, Deputy General Manager - Rural, State Bank of India; Michael Andrade, Senior Vice President, HDFC Bank; V G Sekar, College of Agricultural Banking, Reserve Bank of India; Sanjay Bharti, Zonal Manager - Rural Sales (North), Birla Sunlife Insurance and Abhinav Rahul, Vice President, Corporate Communication, Max New York Life Insurance. Anoop Kaul, National Head of Financial Inclusion, BASIX shared his experiences of microfinance. He told that people’s partnership was also required with public and private partners. He also informed about the seven thematic services

of the Rainbow Common Services Centres. S Shekar talked about financial inclusion which includes microcredits, financial literacy and access to financial services. He informed that though State Bank of India had opened 37,00,000 no-frills bank accounts but only 10 per cent of these were operational. Michael Andrade said that CSCs do fit in the future plans of HDFC Bank and computerisation and technology had changed the scenario of the past when having a bank account was not considered important by the people living in rural India. He talked about capturing the agrivalue chain. He informed that e-payment system was being set up in rural areas. V G Sekar sees financial inclusion as a business opportunity and an innovative solution. Abhinav Rahul said that the rural populace was not aware of the importance of life insurance and only 19 per cent households held life insurance. CSCs can be the common platform and distribution channel for the same. At the same time he pointed out that the needs of the rural market are different from those of the urban market. Sanjay Bharti discussed the economy of scope and economy of scale. He also agreed that CSCs can provide facilities for rural marketing.

Session 5: Increasing Access to Education through CSCs This session was chaired by Anshu Vaish, Secretary, School Education and Literacy, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resources Development. The other panelists were Santosh Kumar Choubey, Director General, All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT); M Aslam, Director, School of Continuing Education, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU); Abhishek Gupta, Head, Hole-in-the-Wall Education Ltd and Ninad Vengurlekar, Vice President, IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited. Sabahat Azim shared his experience from the SAHAJ project. SERI SAHAJ has received permission to open more than 14,000 CSCs across India. There is lack of access to good quality education. It has been observed that foundations of primary education and cognitive structures are very weak. The SAHAJ initiative intends


to bridge this gap. It plans to provide not only quality education but also interactive online learning services for teachers. It has also developed the Chakri (online job search) model and Chakri portal for livelihood generation and providing employment. In the realm of health, online learning module has been prepared. Santosh Kumar Choubey addressed the issues of IT training programmes. Education should be the core of CSCs’ activities and training also should be added. As 75 per cent revenue comes from the education sector, all other processes SSA, RRI, NRHM should have a convergence effect. He recommended that SSA should design new curriculum and CSCs should also start placement services. M Aslam argued that technology should not be only confined to technological devices, even an innovative teaching system is also a kind of technology. He emphasised on the role video conferencing can play in delivering distance learning programmes. It virtually creates an atmosphere of a classroom. He gave the details of distance learning programmes delivered by IGNOU. He was of the opinion that PRI should be made capable and training should be provided to the teachers to keep them updated on recent technological progress. Abhishek Gupta pointed out the low level of numerical skills in children. He quoted a survey conducted by Pratham, 43 per cent children of class 5 and above could not do two digit mathematics. So, need of the hour is that these skills are developed in the kids. Ninad Vengurlekar said that


there were issues of poor connectivity and average teaching skills in rural areas. CSCs could deliver IT education in schools. The lacuna of this project is that it is not concerned with quality of services and connectivity. The qualitative aspect must be strengthened to provide better services.

Session 6: Innovative and new services through CSC The session was chaired by S R Rao, Additional Secretary, Department of IT. The panelists were, Toby Burton, VP, Strategic Market Development, CISCO; Sanjay Aggarwal, GM-Operation, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC); Mukesh Hajela, CEO and Vice Chairman, NICT and Sharmistha Baig, Associate Director, Client Service, ORG Centre for Social Research, The Nielsen Company. Toby Burton said that CSCs provide three services, namely education services, agri-services and health services. They can generate more revenue, an average of Rs 7,000 to 11,000. CSC can be one stop shop to meet the needs of the target sector. Mukesh Hajela discussed how new services like micro-libraries could be added to CSCs and the CSCs could also be clubbed with PCOs to brighten their prospects.

Session 7: Infrastructure framework for CSC This session was chaired by Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The panelists in this

session were A Sethuraman, Executive Director, Huawei; Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems India Limited; Arun Basra, Managing Director, Royal India Solar; Vineet Garg, Market Development Manager-Shared Access, Unlimited Potential Group, Microsoft; Anil Jain, General Manager-Broadband, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Amit Kumar Singh, Senior Consultant, Wipro. There was a consensus among the panelists that there is lack of infrastructure in rural areas. The speakers advocated that good infrastructure in terms of regular supply of electricity, high speed Internet connectivity, skilled labour pool and so on, would be required to build sustainable CSCs in rural India. A Sethuraman said that the broadband connectivity is in a dismal state. Pranav Roach said that ICTs had unmatched reach. It is also one of most secure networks and very easy to connect and provide services. Arun Basra said we should harness the non-conventional sources of energy to provide regular supply of electricity in rural areas. Solar energy can be a viable option and is also relatively cheap. Vineet Garg thinks that there is also lack of software infrastructure and Microsoft has been constantly trying to fill this gap, digital literacy programme is one of its several programmes. Amit Kumar Singh opined that CSCs are not only an IT project but also a socio-economic project and providing an affordable connectivity is imperative to their success. The conference ended on a positive note with the participants more aware of the conditions on the ground, of the initiatives of other practitioners and of the services that the CSC model can give to the country’s citizens. The synergies developed during the course of this event are sure to give an impetus to the CSC movement in India and make it more beneficial and accessible to the masses. i4d | April 2009

What’s on Singapore Africa


27-29 May 2009 eLearning Africa 2009 Dakar, Senegal

24-28 August 2009 The 3rd International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants Tsukuba

ICT4D 2010 12-14 October 2009 Cape Town, South Africa

Australia 15-18 November 2009 2009 Asia Pacific Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect Perth, Western Australia

20-25 March 2010 World Congress of Internal Medicine Melbourne, VIC

Europe 31 August-4 September 2009 World Climate Conference-3 Geneva, Switzerland index_en.html

31 August-3 September 2009 Sustainable Energy Technology (SET) 2009, North Rhein Westfalia, Germany

22-23 October 2009 Gender, Media and the Public Pshere Coimbra, Portugal index.html

18-20 August 2009 Map Asia 2009 Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre

14-16 September 2009 Agriculture Outlook Asia 2009 Grand Hyatt


15-17 June 2009 First Global Business Summit Conference Kuala Lumpur


6-9 July 2009 6th International Conference on IT in Asia 2009 Kuching, Sarawak

3-4 November 2009 4th International Conference on e-Commerce Penang

20-23 May 2009 World Renewable Energy Congress 2009 - Asia Region (WREC) Bankok

4-6 October 2009 3rd Vaccine Global Congress Bangkok

United States 4-7 October 2009 HighEdWeb 2009: Open. Connected Milwaukee, WI

Nepal 3-4 May 2009 South Asian Conference on ‘New Media Technologies and Freedom of Expression’ Kathmandu yId=174&leftSectionId=5

26-30 October 2009 mLearn 2009 - 8th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning Orlando, Florida

28-30 October 2009 International Conference on Information Technology (ICIT 2009) Chicago

India 25-26 May 2009 National Conference on Open Source Software (NCOSS) Mumbai, Maharashtra

knowledge for change conf2009cfp.htm April 2009 |

29-30 June 2009 European Conference on e-Government London

13-18 July 2009 Media, Democracy and Governance: Emerging Paradigms in a Digital Age New Delhi

United Kingdom

25 - 27 August 2009 Hyderabad, India

28-29 September 2009 Energy From Waste London asp?is=5&ref=3142



Panchayat representatives in India Number of Panchayats and elected representatives at the Village Panchayats in India during the financial year 2007-2008 S.



No. of Panchayats

Village Panchayat: No. of elected representatives General (Non-S/ST)


State 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

25 26 27 28 29 30

Andhra Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh Assam Bihar Chhattisgarh Goa Gujarat Haryana Himachal Pradesh Jharkhand Karnataka Kerala Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Manipur Orissa Punjab Rajasthan Sikkim Tamil Nadu Tripura Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand West Bengal Union Territories A&N Islands Chandigarh D&N Haveli Daman & Diu Lakshadweep Puducherry Total


SC Percentage


OBC Percentage




33 39.5



21825 1639

160386 0

31243 0

15 0

16662 6485

8 100

208291 6485

68736 2561

2223 8471 9820 180 13819 6187 3243

20862 99672 74498 814 80349 34879 15383

1254 16941 17200 0 7615 7303 6095

5.48 14.43 10.94 0 6.97 10.97 26.9

782 784 65552 181 21245 0 1176

3.4 0.7 41.7 12 19.5 0 5.2

22898 117397 157250 1509 109209 66588 22654

8977 64152 53045 514 36400 24406 8864

39.2 54.6 33.7 34.1 33.3 36.7 39.1

3746 5628 999 23051 27893 165 6234 12443 9188 163 12618 513 52000 7227 3354

0 64525 9282 226873 172370 1599 48396 60692 21404 440 86325 3653 527779 41717 31425

0 16997 1750 57752 24624 37 14805 27440 24140 52 22156 1408 174842 10413 14492

0 18.6 10.84 14.85 11 2.21 17.34 31.14 21.23 5.84 20.27 26.31 24.86 19.29 29.25

0 9880 203 104204 26863 39 22166 0 20248 399 827 291 673 1858 3628

10.8 1.3 26.8 12 2.3 26 0 17.8 44.8 0.8 5.4 0.1 3.4 7.3

0 91402 16139 388829 223857 1675 85367 88132 113710 891 109308 5352 703294 53988 49545

0 39318 4904 133508 74620 730 31121 30875 40043 356 36824 1852 273229 20319 18150

43 30.4 34.3 33.3 43.6 36.5 35 35.2 40 33.7 34.6 38.8 37.6 36.6

67 17 11 14 10 98 232855

759 135 6 64 3 695 1784985

0 27 3 1 218 478808

0 16.67 2.63 1.3

0 0 105 12 82 0 304345

0 0 92.1 15.6 96.5 0 11.5

759 162 114 77 85 913 2645880

261 53 45 30 32 330 974255

34.4 32.7 39.5 39 37.6 36.1 36.82

23.88 18.1



Note: General (Non-SC/ST) categories, Males & Females; SC: Scheduled Caste Males and Females; ST: Scheduled Tribe Males and Females; Women: Combined SC, ST and General categories. Source: India’s Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Annual Report 2007-2008


i4d | April 2009

i4d invites feature articles on ‘Social Entrepreneurship and ICTs’ The May 2009 issue of i4d magazine focuses on ‘Social Entrepreneurship and ICTs’. We encourage a wide variety of submissions on the topic areas outlined below: • • • • • • • • •

Creating economic and social value by Social Entrepreneurship for sustainable development Need for and role of social entrepreneurs in developing countries Fostering an equitable society through Social Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneurship in education Social Entrepreneurship for environmental conservation Open Access Education - building communities and sharing knowledge Social Entrepreneurship as a tool for advancing global health Young Social Entrepreneurs – a new approach to business Using Internet to ramp up the reach of Social Entrepreneurship

An ideal feature article (two-pager) should be between 1400-1600 words. Case studies should be between 1600-2200 words. Graphs, charts, tables and pictures should be sent separately in high-resolution (360 dpi or more) .jpeg, .tiff or .bmp format. Alongwith the manuscript, authors/contributors should submit a profile and a passport size photograph. Submission deadline is 15 April 2009. E-mail all submissions to or


India's Largest ICT Event 25 - 27 August 2009, Hyderabad International Convention Centre, India

Meet Global Experts on the ICT Movement Avail Exclusive Networking Opportunities

Important Dates

Call for Papers: Open now Submission of Abstracts: 15th April Notice of Selection: 15th May Submission of Final Paper: 30th June

Important Links

Event Website: Abstract Submission:

Share a Unique Knowledge Platform of ICT Stakeholders Exhibit and Launch the Latest Developments in ICT Collaborate with National and International ICT Practitioners Get Recognition for Original Initiatives and Much More!!!


knowledge for change

For exhibition and sponsorship enquiries, contact: Siddharth Verma, Mobile: +91-9811561645 Email:


For further information visit us at or write to us at

Department of Information Technology Ministry of Communications & IT Government of India

Supporting Partners 速

e-Panchayat : April 2009 Issue  
e-Panchayat : April 2009 Issue  

i4d encompasses the role and relevance of ICT in various development sectors such as Rural Development, Gender, Governance, Micro-finance, E...