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Vol. V No. 8
Features change ahead 6 The CSCs: An overview
CSC programme review, NeGP, India A journey through three states Ranjit Kumar Maiti, Rajeev Chawla, Anirban Mukerji, A.K. Sharma
Budgetary allocation for e-Gov, India PPP investments planned for CSCs
Interview 44 CSCs scheme in West Bengal 29 Ranjit K Maiti, Jt. Secretary, WBSRDA 31
A galaxy of luminaries i4d Awards 2007
Bytes for All
Book review More is unexplored... Prashant Gupta
In Fact A glimpse into SWAN
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It is only in the last two decades that the state took major steps to promote ICT, including the creation of a World Market Policy focussing on software development for exports, telecommunications policy reform, privatisation of mobile phone markets etc. Fiscal policies have been important in stimulating the Electronics and IT sector through measures including exemption of export profits till 2010, and other tax holiday provisions. Under the Tenth Five Year Plan, an expenditure of $200 billion was laid out to boost India’s IT infrastructure. The share of private companies in this was around $110 billion. The FDI inflow has not been impressive at least till 1999, when it amounted to about US$1115 million over 1.5 decade period. The distribution gains of these FDIs were also heavily skewed towards the originating countries. The setting up of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in 1991 also provided a mojor thrust to the industry. The turnover of units in the STP centres, grew from Rs. 52 crore in 1992-93, to a staggering Rs. 51,458 crore in 2003-2004, and from Rs. 74, 019 crore in 2004-05 to Rs. 100, 965 crore during 2005-06. At the national level, STPI units account for around 97% per cent of software exports. Recently, the Government has accorded approval to the Special Incentive Package Scheme for semiconductor fabrication and other micro and nanotechnology manufacture industries in India. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being set up which provide, 100% Income Tax exemption on export profits for 5 years, 50% for next 5 years and 50% of ploughed back profits for 5 years thereafter. Domestic consumption of hardware and IT has however, not been consistent with the market potential. The Government of India approved, in May 2006, the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). It has a total of 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and 10 components, with an estimated outlay of Rs. 23,000 crore, to be implemented on a public-private partnership model. The CSCs form the core infrastructure component (the other two are State Wide Area Networks – SWAN, and State Data Centres – SDC) of the NeGP. The programme is a fine example of a centralised initiative with implementation using a decentralised approach. The idea is to encourage the local entrepreneur to create employment for the self, and also for some others. These centres are envisaged to provide a host of services out of which the government services form one part. There is a bit of concern about the trade off between government service delivery and revenue generation for sustainability. There is also a need to train and inform the citizens about these initiatives. One would hope in the future that synergies with existing institutions like schools and vocational institutes are established for wider dissemination of the idea of e-Governance itself. If the CSCs are able to evolve into efficient centres of services delivery for things as utility payment, government forms, registration services, etc., it would indeed be a significant achievement.
Ravi Gupta Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in
June 2007 | Vol. V No. 6 | www.i4donline.net
The Change Ahead
CSCs: An overview CSCs are expected to be run by villagelevel entrepreneurs or members (preferably women) from self-help groups who are being financially backed by NGOs or co-operative banks/ MFIs.
Introduction Under the National Common Minimum Programme adopted by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, high priority was accorded to improve the quality of basic governance, service delivery and to ensure transparency and accountability. e-Governance as conceived under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), aims to improve the delivery of Government services to citizens (G2C) and businesses (G2B) by shifting from the paradigm of governance to e-Governance, thus embracing new developments in technology. In order to pursue the abovementioned objectives, on June 14, 2006, the Department of Information Technology, in a major initiative, unveiled various components of the ambitious National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) covering 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and ten support components to be implemented at Central, State, and Local Government levels, at an estimated cost of INR 23,000 crore over the next five years. At the Statelevel, the Mission Mode Projects (MMP) would include services pertaining to road transport, land records, commercial taxes, employment exchanges, agriculture and horticulture, civil supplies, treasuries, land registration, policy and education, while at central level, it will cover areas such as insurance, Central Excise, National ID, pensions, e-Posts, banking, visa and income tax.
Shambhu Ghatak Sr. Research Associate, CSDMS, India firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the NeGP, the Government has planned to establish 1,00,000 broadbandenabled Internet Common Services Centres (CSCs) in rural areas of the country so as to connect the citizens of rural India to the World Wide Web. An outlay of INR 5742 crore has been earmarked for the CSCs scheme, and the scheme would be implemented in Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The CSCs scheme is expected to create one lakh direct jobs and
2-3 lakh additional indirect jobs. Through the CSCs, the Governments at the National, State and Local levels are expected to provide e-Services such as registration of birth, death and marriage certificates; providing information on weather conditions and prices of various agri-commodities to rural farmers; issuing of electronic ID cards for farmers, which will possess all information about the citizen/farmers etc. The CSCs are expected to be run by village-level entrepreneurs or members (preferably women) from self-help groups who are being financially backed by NGOs or co-operative banks/MFIs. For the states of Assam and Tripura, request for proposal (RFP) has been issued for 4520 CSCs. For the state of Punjab, bid evaluation has taken place for 10,576 CSCs. For the state of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Haryana, either MSA has been signed or letter of intent (LOI) has been issued. In fact many of the states are at different stages of implementation. Haryana comes in the top bracket in India in the implementation of State Wide Area Network (SWAN), CSCsâ€™ e-Disha Ekal Sewa Kendras and State Data Centre, and will be ready to launch the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) by March 2008. CSCs are considered as one of the infrastructure pillars of the National e-Governance Plan and are expected to serve as the physical front for delivering government and private services at the doorsteps of the citizens. Under the NeGP, it is proposed to create State Data Centres for the States to consolidate services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient and effective electronic delivery of G2G (government to government), G2C (government to citizens) and G2B (government to businesses) services. These services can be provided by the states through common delivery platform seamlessly supported by core Connectivity infrastructure such as State Wide Area Network (SWAN) i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
and Common Service Centre (CSC) connectivity extended upto village-level. In order to make the CSCs operational, the Government has approved a scheme for establishing State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) across the country in 29 states/ 6 UTs at a total outlay of INR 3334 crore with Central Assistance component of INR 2005 crore over a period of 5 years. These SWANs are expected to extend data connectivity of 2 Megabits per second upto the block level in all states and Union Territories (UTs) in India. The block level nodes in turn will have a provision to extend connectivity further to the village-level using contemporary wireless technology.
The CSC scheme has a three tier implementation framework a. At the first (CSC) level, there would be existence of the local village level entrepreneur (VLE—loosely analogous to a franchisee), in order to service the rural consumer in a cluster of 5-6 villages. b. At the second/middle-level, there would be the existence of an entity termed the Service Centre Agency (SCA—loosely analogous to the franchiser) in order to operate, manage and build the VLE network and business. An SCA would be identified for one or more districts (one district would cover 100-200 CSCs). c. At the third level, there would be the existence of the agency designated by the State—the State Designated Agency (SDA)-so as to facilitate implementation of the scheme within the state and to provide requisite policy framework. Under the CSC scheme, in order to enable the state-specific implementation plans to benefit from such economies of scale, aggregation of best practices, content providers, etc. the DIT would be appointing a National Level Service Agency (NLSA). Apart from the NLSA, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been proposed for regular monitoring of the CSC scheme.
Challenges The major challenges before the Governments (as discussed in eINDIA 2007 Conference) in order to deliver e-Services via the CSCs are as follows: a. The amount of funds allocated for the CSCs scheme is quite large. One may question whether such an allocation by the government may lead to lowering of allocation for other important services (given the fact that there must not be wasteful expenditure on the part of the government which affects the fiscal scenario) such as pertaining to basic amenities—water supply and sanitation, public distribution system, housing facilities for the destitute and displaced, health care and immunisation, etc. b. For the CSCs to continue working in the rural areas, there is need for electrical power. Rural electrification and availability of alternative sources of power can lead to the successful operation of CSCs. Without such arrangements, CSCs would fail to deliver. c. The motto of the CSCs scheme is to provide rural population (citizens and businesses) e-Services which is efficiently and effectively delivered at affordable rates. However, this requires not only adequate infrastructure (connectivity, broadband, August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
etc.) but also a trained pool of manpower and capacity-building of the rural masses. Rural youths and members from self-help groups (SHGs) who are literate but not adequately trained for recruitment in the CSCs, can be provided IT-based training (in both hardware and software). Similarly, rural masses (say, for example, one member from one household, as it had happened in the case of Akshaya, a Kerala state IT mission initiative) can go through capacity-building sessions so that they know the importance of e-Literacy, e-Commerce, usage of Internet, etc. Unless the rural masses realise the utility of CSCs, e-Governance becomes a word without meaning and purpose. The CSCs scheme has been given adequate importance by the current UPA government. But one needs to take into account the problems surrounding the successful implementation and replication of CSCs. There are alternatives to the proposed CSCs scheme under the NeGP. One can raise question whether the existing unique socio-economic fabric and feature of a village, allows for further replication in another village (or elsewhere). Although much of the emphasis has been given on decentralisation, but in reality panchayats have been also termed as institutions laden with power, hierarchy, etc. The pertinent question is how can technology overcome such challenges in order to reach the objective of transparent and accountable e-Service delivery at the doorsteps of rural families. For the successful implementation and replication of CSCs, there is need for alternative technologies. A technology which is suitable to one terrain may not be suitable for another terrain. The opportunity cost of adopting one technology over another needs to be checked. There is clearly a need for co-ordination and management (for financial, technical, human resources development and other purposes) amongst the VLE, SCA, SDA, NLSA and SPV. There is need for looking at the long term financial sustainability of CSCs.
Conclusion Under the NeGP, it has been envisaged that each centre (CSC) would be Internet-enabled centre, located mostly in rural area. Each centre would cater to roughly six villages and would provide services offered by the government and the private operators. The CSC scheme, as approved by the Government of India, envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to rural citizens of India, in an integrated and holistic manner. The CSCs are thus seen not merely as service delivery points. Also the entire gamut of services desired at these centres is a loadful. Not all of these services are ready to be deployed. They are considered as Change Agent/s that would promote rural entrepreneurship, build rural capacities and livelihoods, enable community participation and collective action for social change—through a bottom-up approach. However a bit of education on driving change from there too might be in order. n Reference: Guideline for the Implementation of the CSCs Scheme in States, Department of Information Technology, Government of India, www.mit.gov.in
Common Service Centres Programme (CSC) Review, NeGP, India
A journey through three states The crucial question to ask is if there is a gap in perceived benefits and those actually derived from such centres. A look at three state initiatives. The CSCs (Common Service Centres) are being seen as a major governance intervention for enhancing efficiency, bringing in transparency and accountability, and reducing operating costs. India possesses vast human resources in digital technology. Given that societies like India are big and administering them would have time and efficiency hurdles, an introduction of the digital medium is perceived to be the best available solution for better governance. Common Services Centres is the front end of a long and complex process of providing better governance and other essential valueadded services. The Government of India has launched the prestigious National e-Governance Programme (NeGP) to bridge the digital divide existing today between the urban and rural areas. The NeGP is aimed at improving the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of Government services
to citizens and businesses with the help of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and consists of three interconnected components of State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centres (SDCs) and the Common Service Centres (CSCs), as the nodal points for front end citizen service delivery. As part of the same efforts, The Government is planning to roll out Common Services Centres or IT kiosks in 1,00,000 villages as part of the ambitious National e-Government Plan through public private partnership (PPP).The plan is to establish such kiosks in one lakh villages in a â€˜honeycomb model,â€™ which means that one out of every six villages would house a common service centre where people can avail a host of services, including providing tele-education, booking railway tickets, procuring caste certificate for jobs or even checking their childrenâ€™s results online.
It is expected that the CSC scheme will generate one lakh jobs directly and two to three lakh additional and indirect jobs. It is still premature to tell if this intervention will go a long way to improve provision of government services. An outcome mapping is in order, which looks at the usage patterns of already existing centres. The crucial question to ask is if there is a gap in perceived benefits and those actually derived from such Centres. A look at a few state initiatives follows.
West Bengal The West Bengal State Rural Development Agency (WBSRDA) of the Panchayats and Rural Development Department has been selected as the State Designated Agency (SDA) for implementation of the CSC scheme in the State. The scheme is proposed to be implemented as per the following district wise break-up (Table1). i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
Total number of Common Services Centres (‘Tathya Mitra’) in West Bengal is 6797. The SDA has completed the tendering process of selection of SCAs to setup the ‘Tathya Mitra’ kiosks across the state. MSA have been signed on 5th April 2007 with SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited and on 7th May 2007 with Reliance Communications Limited. M/s SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited has been selected as the SCA for the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, 24 Parganas (S), Howrah, Hooghli, Bankura, Purba Medinipur & Birbhum. M/s Reliance Infocomm Limited has been selected as the SCA for the districts of 24 Parganas (N), Paschim Medinipur, Burdwan and Purulia. The SCA would be setting up CSCs across the districts as per the schedule and would complete the process within March 2008. Government of West Bengal is working on several dimensions for effective implementation of NeGP, be it i. State Wide Area Work, ii. Computerisation of Mission Mode Projects, iii. Setting up of State Data Centre or iv. CSC Project: Tathya Mitras (CSCs) are envisioned as extended arms of Government for delivery of services to citizens.
Services at Tathya Mitra Initially, Tathya Mitras (CSCs) will provide the following servicesInformation on various government orders, rules, notifications, decisions, etc.
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Key departments that have rural appeal will be streamlined with CSCs. Some of these departments are• Health • Agriculture • Land and land reforms • Food and civil supplies • Labour and employment exchange • Police • Education • Fisheries and animal resources • Services of other departments like Tourism, Power, etc. would also be priority areas • Information for the benefit of common man such as doctors/ hospitals, rates of agri produce, details of pesticides, fertilisers, their telephone numbers More information and services will be added on a continuous basis. Tathya Mitras will also include B2C services, to make it one stop centre for the information needs of citizens of West Bengal. Departments with large public interface can leverage the benefits of CSCs for electronic dissemination and delivery of information/ services.
CSC plan implementation SREI Sahaj e-Village Limited ( a subsidiary of SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited) and Reliance Infocomm Limited have started their activities in full swing to cover the districts assigned to each of them through recruitment of manpower at state, district, sub-district levels, procurement of hard wares and soft wares, accommodation at districts, advertisement in the news paper for inviting applications for selection of Village Level Entrepreneurs to run the CSCs, training modules for capacity building of various categories of persons being engaged.
Media and awareness campaign A media campaign plan has been drawn for wide publication using various print and electronic media and also utilising folk arts like street theatre in local languages. The SDA and both the SCAs will conjunctly implement the media campaign in collaboration with the Panchayati Raj Institutions. Meanwhile state and district level seminars are being organised by the SDA.
Haryana Haryana is one of the states on the forefront of e-Governance implementation in the country. The government of Haryana is committed to enabling Internet based transaction services at the Common Services Centres and is in the process of interacting with State Departments/Agencies who would be interested in utilising the CSC network for offering services in rural areas. The common service Centres (CSCs), referred as the e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendras in the state of Haryana, are designed to be places where people can avail a host of services, including providing teleeducation, booking railway tickets, procuring caste certificate for jobs or even checking their children’s results online. Government of Haryana has appointed HARTRON as the nodal agency (State Designated Agency-SDA) for both the SWAN and CSC Project implementation in Haryana. Under the Scheme, about 1159 Rural and at least 104 Urban CSCs would be set up across Haryana. These centres would be called as e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendras in the state of Haryana. The State Wide Area Network (SWAN) is also in advanced stage of implementation in Haryana and is expected to be ready by end of November 2007. The Master Service Agreement (MSA) for the implementation of the CSC Scheme in Haryana was signed on 17th April 2007, among Finance Commissioner (Information Technology) P.K. Chaudery on behalf of the Government of Haryana and Anurag Rastogi, Special Secretary Information Technology and the Managing Director of HARTRON, on behalf of the State Designated Agency for CSC Scheme implementation, and the Service Centre Agencies in the presence of National Level Service Agency (NLSA) representatives Arun Verma, Vashima Shubha, Parveen Bansal and Srinivas Yerramsetti. In the words of P.K. Choudery, the agreement marked “the onset of a new era for the Government to Citizen and Service delivery mechanism in the state of Haryana.” Indeed the MSA Agreement started the process of realising the e-Governance vision for Haryana. Earlier, the high-powered committee under the chairmanship of the chief minister Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda had approved the selection of the three private companies and their consortium partners for rolling out this prestigious scheme. Under this scheme M/s 3iInfotech (for Gurgaon Division), SARK Systems India Ltd. and JAK Software consortium (for Hisar and Ambala Divisions) and Comat Technologies Pvt Ltd and Hughes Communications consortium
Name of Division
Ambala Division Rohtak
Proposed Number of Rural CSCs (Total=1159)
Proposed Minimum Number of Urban CSCs (Total=104)
Ambala, Panchkula, Y.Nagar, Kurukshetra, Kaithal
Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak, Jhajjar
Gurgaon Division Hisar
Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewat, Rewari, Mahendragarh
Bhiwani, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, Sirsa
August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
(for Rohtak Division) have emerged as the operators for the scheme in the State.
government services to the rural citizen in remote India in a web enabled format. HARTRON is coordinating the implementation of both the SWAN and CSC schemes in Haryana. In the initial phase, a bouquet of about 10-12 Government to Citizen (G2C) services like land records, electricity bills, certificate issuance, etc. have been targeted for immediate provision in the upcoming centres. HARTRON officials together with technical support of National Informatics Centre (NIC) staff will overlook the process. In addition, the CSC Division in HARTRON is also negotiating with various agencies State Bank of India and Department of Posts, to provide valuable services to the citizens in the villages through the e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendra network. Haryana has launched its first e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendra in Chiken Village of Panchkula District of Haryana on July 30th 2007. It was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula District Neerja Shekhar, who explained the facilities and importance of the centre to the villagers who turned up to enquire about the computer centres which will give ‘sarkari services’ at their doorstep. Thus the pro activeness of the Haryana government administration are expected to usher Haryana into an era of e-Governance in the days to come.
Current status : Several review meetings were held under the chairmanship of Anurag Rastogi, the Managing Director of HARTRON to monitor the progress of the Service Centre Agencies chosen for CSC scheme implementation. Rastogi also held meetings at the various divisions of Haryana which were chaired by the respective Commissioners and attended by all the Deputy Commissioners of the respectives districts. The meetings have achieved the following objectives: • Introduction of the SWAN and CSC schemes to the top functionaries of District Administration of Ambala Division. • Solicitation of their support for successful implementation through support for key activities like guidance in village and CSC location selection. • Provision of government support to the SCAs, by allotting government premises wherever available at nominal rents for establishment of CSCs. • Introduction of CSC functionaries, the SCA implementation team and presentation of their implementation strategy to the District Administration to elicit advice and guidance. Further the logo of e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendra has been finalised for use by the Service Centre Agencies in the respective divisions. It is expected that at least 20 percent of the Centres would be operational by the end of July. The HARTRON officials have been working closely with the Service Centre Agencies to ensure that government premises are made available for setting up these centres in most of the places.
Nemmadi programme in Karnataka ‘Nemmadi’ in Kannada means peace of mind. The vision of the Nemmadi project is to empower rural citizens, provide direct access of government services to the citizens and bring government services to the doorstep of the citizen.
Introduction Government of Karnataka (GoK) has been a pioneer in leveraging Information Technology in easing the lives of both urban and rural citizens. One of the most path breaking of these e-Governance applications is Bhoomi that enables ‘over the counter’ delivery of computerised land records to farmers from the 203 taluka (Tehsil) offices of the State. While the Bhoomi programme tremendously benefited the farmers there was a demand for establishing of delivery Centres for land records at the village level itself. The need for decentralisation of Bhoomi catalysed the development of the ‘Nemmadi programme’ of the government of Karnataka. The state government understood that it could not establish and operate computer centres at every village and hence decided to establish these centres in the villages under a public private partnership model. It was also apparent that these village telecentres would not be viable if only land records were delivered from these centres and for viability, other e-Governance services also needed to be delivered through these village telecentres.
Next stage in Haryana e-Governance: After Jharkand and West Bengal, Haryana is on the vanguard of implementation of the CSC scheme in the country. Haryana is about to embark on a challenging mission of eventually providing
Developing a suitable service model The Revenue department at the taluka level delivers about 35 citizen centric services to the rural citizens. These includes registration of births and deaths for rural citizens, issue of caste and income certificates, and selection of beneficiaries for old age pensions and other social security schemes, etc. On an average about 30,000 of such services are delivered annually to the citizens from each of the talukas across the state. Since there was a critical mass of such services, implementation of an e-Governance programme for the citizen centric services delivered from taluka
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of the entire state for delivery of the same from the centres. Further the requests for the Nemmadi services are transferred to the taluka servers through the SDC.
Wide Area Network For the current delivery of Nemmadi services and Bhoomi services, the State government has set up a network of VSATS linking each of the taluka servers to the State Data Centre. Later once the Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) is set up, these taluka servers will connect to SDC through the KSWAN.
Taluka servers Taluka servers are the local repository of data and the data updation due the work flow processes for Nemmadi services takes place at the taluka server.
Software for Nemmadi services
office of the revenue department would create an impact for the citizens also. It was not possible to create a citizens database for delivery of the above described services like issue of caste certificates hence a blended approach was adopted. This led to development of the software in a manner that mimic the existing manual work flow at the taluka office. The first time issue of service to the citizen like a caste certificate would be through the digitized workflow process but the next time the caste certificate can also be issued from the database and in this way a citizen’s database would be created in an incremental fashion.
Software for delivery of Nemmadi services has been developed by National Informatics Centre. It has several innovative features like • Multiple modes of delivery of services - as mentioned earlier, services through the Nemmadi software can be delivered in three ways • Work flow - following the existing workflow process followed by the taluka officials • Reissue of previously issued certificates- The Nemmadi software can track if a certificate has been issued earlier to the citizen and thereafter reissue the same from the database of previously issued certificates • In case a validated citizen’s database is created the Nemmadi software has a capability to use the same for delivery of Nemmadi services also • Reports – use of Nemmadi software allows one to track the delivery of certificates and also to monitor and thereafter rectify the delays in processing of the citizen service requests • Offline functionality – Nemmadi software has been built on a rich client model with the master data being stored in the local village telecentre machine also. This allows the application
Creating a robust e-Governance infrastructure The e-Governance service delivery infrastructure for delivery of services under Nemmadi comprises of the following components – a.) State Data Centre, b.) Wide Area Network, c.) Delivery Channels, d.) Departmental servers at the Taluka office.
Village telecentres Village telecentres are the channel for delivery of various e-Governance services to the rural citizens of the state.
State Data Centre (SDC) Karnataka has been one of the first states to create a State Data Centre for hosting all e-Governance applications of the state. The village telecentres access the consolidated database of land records August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
to deliver both online and offline functionality, i.e. service requests of the citizens at the village telecentre can be saved in the local telecentre machine even when connectivity to the State Data Centre is not available and transferred to the SDC once connectivity is established • Use of digital signature – Nemmadi software has a feature of digital signature by the issuing authority. The Nemmadi software generates an XML of this digitally signed certificate and displays it as a 2 D bar code. This feature helps both in checking the authenticity of the certificate and in dispensing with the physical signature of the official on the certificate. This enables the certificate to be electronically delivered to the village telecentre and thereafter printed and delivered to the citizen • Biometric authentication - Finger print authentication for login and updation is used for non-repudiation by the government officials • Unicode- unicode is being used to store data in the local language. The software can be customised to allow multilanguage user interfaces. Currently ‘Kannada’ and ‘English’ languages are supported
about 750 telecentres were established in entire state.
Delivery of services through the village telecentre The objective of establishing these village telecentres has clearly succeeded and in June 2007, about 4 Lakh land records were distributed through these village telecentres. The process of starting Nemmadi services from the taluka office is more difficult as unlike Bhoomi, Nemmadi is a new programme and requires efforts in change management and training of the taluka staff. However as of June 2007 these services have been started from 52 taluka offices and over 2 lakh services are being delivered every month to the citizens in June. The success of deployment of Nemmadi services in these 52 taluka offices has convinced the department officials of other talukas that Nemmadi not only improves the service delivery to the citizens but also improves administrative functioning and now there is a demand for rolling out Nemmadi all the remaining taluka offices of the state. These village telecentres will also shortly deliver various Business to Consumer (B2C) services like sale of insurance, agricultural service, photography rural BPO to the rural citizens.
Nemmadi deployment experience
Nemmadi services were started in Mandya Taluka office in May 2004 initially with only 5 services but over the next 12 months the portfolio was expanded to 37 services. These services can be categorised in 4 major categories i. Various types of caste and income related certificates ii. Registration of births and deaths and issue of birth and death certificates iii. Application for social security schemes like old age pension, widow pension, physically handicapped pension iv. Other certificates requires by the citizens from the taluka office like residence certificate, domicile certificate, agri-labour certificate, agriculturist certificate, small and marginal farmer certificate. In the period from May 2004 to September 2006 the Nemmadi model was piloted in 13 talukas of 4 districts of the state and services were delivered to the citizens through about 70 village telecentres. The experience of the pilot helped in understanding the various issues that would be faced during scaling the programme in the entire state. The state government decided to go in for a phased rollout and initially wanted to start 800 telecentres at hobli (sub taluka) level and later expand the number of telecentres to 5000. The request for proposal for selection of the private partner for establishing these 800 village telecentres was prepared after incorporating the learnings from the pilot programme. The RFP specified detailed configuration of the equipment to be installed in the telecentre. Setting up and operating the back office at the taluka for delivery of Nemmadi services was also included in the scope of work of the vendor. Detailed service level agreements (SLAs) were incorporated for ensuring both timely roll out of village telecentres and taluka offices and so that the services are delivered from the village telecentres as per the agreement. In September 2006, the project was awarded to the private partner through a transparent tendering process and by April 2007
The Nemmadi programme has succeeded in Karnataka because of the innovative launch-learn-innovate methodology of the State Government. Each of the components for delivery of Nemmadi services has been thoroughly tested through pilot deployments and the learnings from the pilots have been incorporated in the solution. With the commencement of Nemmadi services in the entire state and delivery of services through the 800 village telecentres, the state government is confident that its vision of empowering the society by providing direct access to government services at the door step of the citizen will be realised. Conceptualisation of e-Governance programmes sometimes restrict the discussions to technology, and technical terms like products to be deployed, server specifications, etc. While technology choices can influence the success of e-Governance programmes but they are only enabling factors. The most important process of e-Governance however involves transformation of governance and the softer issues concerning training, hand holding and change management. It is designing of these softer issues that determine the success or failure of e-Governance programmes and it is these difficult issues that have been successfully managed in the Nemmadi programme in Karnataka.n Ranjit Kumar Maiti Joint Secretary, P&RD Dept, Government of West Bengal email@example.com Rajeev Chawla Secretary (e-Governance), Karnataka firstname.lastname@example.org Anirban Mukerji Experienced professional in the field of ICT4D email@example.com A.K. Sharma AGM (CSC), Haryana firstname.lastname@example.org
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n rendezvous Indian Telecentre Forum,
, 31 July-2 August 2007, New Delhi, India
Telecentre tales Introduction The present write-up on Telecentre Tales would cover the discussions and suggestions that came up during Indian Telecentre Forum of the eIndia 2007 Conference, which was held in Hotel Taj Palace (New Delhi, India), from 31 July 2007 to 2 August, 2007. Ms. Rumi Mallick from Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), Noida (India) introduced the Indian Telecentre Forum, 2007. She informed that it was for the second time, Indian Telecentre Forum, a part of the eIndia Conference, would be taking stock of the telecentre movement in India and elsewhere. She said that the telecentre forum discussion would focus on Government of India’s CSCs (Common Service Centres) scheme, and the other telecentre initiatives in the country. The objectives of the Indian Telecentre Forum is to raise awareness about the growing telecentre movement in general, and India in particular; raise key issues and challenges of telecentres; take up the recommendations of the current deliberation to the policymakers for appropriate policy changes and build a community of practices (CoP) for knowledge-sharing and capacity-building.
non-government organisations (NGOs) too are working together with the private sector. The Indian Telecentre Forum is a space which helps one to listen to various case studies. Y.S. Kim, e-Government Advisor, NITC, Government of Nepal (Republic of Korea), was the first speaker at the first session on telecentre. He informed that he has worked for 3 years in Nepal in the area of ICTs learning from rural Korea. Korea has good broadband connectivity. In rural areas of Korea, there still exists digital divide. Budget related to Information Technology is important. Korea has made huge investment on IT. In every village, investment on IT has been made. The budget for IT comes from the central and the local government. Information content is important since it generates income for people. Dr. Baseerhamad Shadrach (Shaddy), Senior Programme officer, International Development Research Centre, New
Delhi, said that his organisation was the one which introduced the term ‘telecentre ecosystem’. Shaddy said that there are four key concepts to understand telecentres—Actor, Action, Actant and Tool. He added that the term ecosystem is related to tools. He reminded that IDRC funded telecentres for 20 years (the first generation telecentres). But 2-3 years back IDRC realised that telecentres cannot be funded in isolation. IDRC realised that for funding the second generation telecentres, there is need for investment in telecentre ecosystem. While explaining the term ‘action’, Shaddy said that ‘action’ in telecentre means connecting source (supply) with demand or vice-versa. While explaining the term ‘actor’, he said that actor is the telecentre manager. It should be ensured that the telecentre manager is not isolated. ‘Actant’ (although there is no such term in the dictionary) has been defined by Shaddy, as the people on which
July 31, 2007 Reviewing the emerging telecentre ecosystem The first session of the Telecentre Forum of e-India Conference was chaired by Dr Srinivasan Ramakrishnan, Director General C-DAC, Pune. He informed that a lot of projects pertaining to telecentres in the ground are running on pilot basis. An entire gamut of factors determine the success of telecentres which include: infrastructure, content of portals, language of the content provided etc. He said that revolution in Information Technology has captured the imagination of people. There are very successful case studies. Nowadays, August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
e-Governance in Tamil Nadu to serve the marginalised populace via the RASI kiosks, and the significance of kiosks in this respect. Her presentation was an attempt to examine the significance of kiosk development in the context of e-Government policies through a case study on RASI Kiosks implemented in Melur district in the state of Tamil Nadu. Though the e-Government services were received with great enthusiasm by rural communities since its inception in November 2001, the project failed to sustain and came to an end by December 2002 while some of the private services sustained. To have greater future success, policymakers and public IT managers should pay close attention to long-term business planning, strategic management, and stakeholder partnership in future kiosk development and similar e-Government projects, as per Sandeep Kaur. The final speaker of the day was Ahmad MM Eisa, Chairman of GDCO, Sudan. He informed that Gedaref Digital City has community telecentres equipped with a high technical facilities. It is the first digital city in Sudan. He informed about the partnership between the great people of Eindhoven represented by digital city of Eindhoven (DSE-Netherlands- Ben Waumans and the Board of Directors) and Gedaref community which is represented by Gedaref Digital City (GDCO). He said that the objective of GDCO is to develop the community by using Information Technology. The goals are to enable the community to reach and cope with the electronic era, capacity building of the community, and help the society have their voice heard, and their memory activated for utilisation and documentation for the state. He explained how the GDCO is helping the disabled. He said that disabled individuals are still excluded from many areas of life including information technologies (IT). GDCO is helping the disabled in the areas of IT and ICTs because ICT training is an important key qualification. Most of the disabled are very poor. Disabled are considered a useless community and no one care about them. Usage of ICTs is not part of Sudanese culture. However, imparting ICTs training can make the disabled to be self dependent and help their families. There is need for the integration of disabled in the community. There is also the need for fighting poverty through ICT, as per Ahmad. Because of GDCO’s efforts, disabled are using ICTs for communications (chatting and emailing) instead of using sign languages. GDCO established telecentres for them which help both the disabled (by providing them employment opportunities) and the community (training and capacity building). The main challenges before GDCO are: lack of strategic and executable plans with clear time-bound targets; poor infrastructure especially power supply, high cost of ICT equipment, poorly designed schools’ capacity and curriculum, lack of community involvement, awareness and interaction, unavailability of funding and non-usage of Internet (which is part of Sudanese culture).
the act is acted upon. It basically refers to the community. The term ‘Tool’ was defined by Shaddy as the telecentre itself. The ‘Tool’ can be the computer, community radio or mobile handset. The answer lies with the community, on what should be termed as the tool. Balasundaram Muthukumara, Project Executer, Dhan Foundation who was the third speaker in the first session on 31 July, 2007 talked about Thagavalagam Telecentre movement. He informed that Dhan Foundation is a professional development organisation, which is working in India for the upliftment of the poor communities. He added that Thagavalagam telecentres are clustered under 15 hubs. The telecentres are supported by Dhan Foundation, ISRO and CAPART. He said that there are different wireless-based technologies in order to connect the telecentres such as CorDECT technology, and 802.16 Pre WiMax Technology. Offline services are offered by the telecentres in the areas like: computer education, e-School, job-related works, digital photography, Photo 2 CD services, Infotainment, functional literacy, agriculture, animal husbandry, health, gender, microfinance, insurance, adult literacy, fisheries, etc. Dr. Subarna Shakya, Executive Director, NITC, Nepal was the next speaker. He informed about school telecentres in Nepal which are located at the villages. Regarding the school telecentre, there was a survey study of Government telecentres in 2005. Results indicated that 80 percent of the telecentres were not sustainable. Majority of the community members including the students could not afford services offered at the telecentres. The long-term benefits of telecentres are: increased literacy rate; ICT driven education and ICT for village development. The short-term benefits of telecentres are: decreased drop out rate among students; increased enrollment rate among students; students can become part of the Information Revolution after training, etc. Sandeep Kaur, Researcher, P.S.G. College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, was the fifth speaker. Her presentation cross-checked whether e-Governance was a hype or reality. The presentation focused on the potential challenges on implementing
August 1, 2007 CSC Programme: Sharing visions for shared access S. Abbasi, Sr.Director, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, GoI, chaired the first session held on 1 August 2007. He informed that private sectors are going for the CSCs scheme for tapping the rural market, despite agriculture
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contributing a lower proportion to the gross domestic product (GDP). He said that in the recent years, the impact of policies on CSCs scheme has been noticed. In the next 2-3 years, reliable broadband connectivity would be seen. R.K. Maiti, Joint Secretary, Department of PR&RD, West Bengal, informed that the CSCs scheme in West Bengal has been termed as Tathya Mitra. West Bengal has to establish 6,797 rural CSCs, he added. SREI Sahaj e-Village Ltd., WIPRO, Reliance Communications, and Samtec Technologies were elected through open bidding. Objective of ICT policy are: economic development, improving quality of life, ensuring good governance and promote high internal efficiency. The letter of intent has been issued on 2nd March, 2007 and signing of MSA took place on 5th April, 2007 with SREI and on 7th May, 2007 with Reliance. Rural West Bengal has been divided into 8 zones—two zones have been awarded to Reliance and 6 zones have been awarded to SREI infrastructure. Main areas to be targeted under MMP of NeGP are: Land and Land Reforms department, social welfare, agriculture and allied activities, transport, police, education, registration, etc. Other schemers covered for e-Governance are: e-Health, e-Medicine. He said that eliminating middle-men is the need of the day. Kshatrapati Shivaji, Secretary IT, Government of Maharashtra, the next speaker, said that ICTs has brought revolutionary changes. ICTs has blurred geographical barriers, economic barriers, and is an effective instrument in globalisation. Virtual world has taken over the real world. Places where there is no infrastructure can be reached out through ICTs. CSCs will help in economic development. He informed that Maharashtra has its own SETU programme. There exists Mahanet in Maharashtra, which provides grid all over the state. Upgradation of district headquarters will take place via SWAN. A roadmap for a period of 3 years has been prepared for Maharashtra. New projects are planned to be started on pilot basis which can be replicated. Capacity-building of Department of Information Technology (DIT) is needed. In Maharashtra, SCAs will go for bidding in 6 different places, he added. 7,285 CSCs will come up in Maharashtra, and they will be integrated. The CSCs will be opened in the gram panchayat premises. In Baramati, IL&FS has started a pilot project on CSCs from January, 2007 onwards. V.S. Kundu, Special Secretary IT, Haryana was the third speaker. He said that e-Governance revolution is just around the corner. The time is ripe for e-Governance because e-Government measures are coming into existence. A lot of technological solutions are available. Citizens and government are becoming more aware about e-Governance. People have realised that eGovernance improves efficiency and saves time. Even ‘babus’ and ‘clerks’ have changed their attitude towards e-Governance. A lot of help is coming from the Right to Information Act. CSCs scheme have been prepared carefully under the public private partnership (PPP) mode to make it successful. Sustainability is assured through B2B services. Private players cannot provide neutral playing field to their competitors. In Haryana, flexibilities were given to SCAs to design the B2C services. In Haryana, SCAs were appointed on the basis of revenue-division. 3iInfotech is working in Gurgaon. Hughes Network Systems is working in Rohtak. 1,159 rural CSCs have come up in rural Haryana and August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
212 CSCs have come up in urban areas of Haryana. Some of the CSCs are already operating. The mandate is to make 40 percent of CSCs workable by October, 2007. SCAs believe that the target will be met earlier. The real challenge is readiness of G2C services. The SCAs will identify the VLEs. In 3 out of 4 divisions of Haryana, CSCs are operating. There are 6 CSCs in Ambala, 1 in Hissar, and more than 40 in Rohtak. In Gurgaon, sample centres would be coming up. Navin Kumar, Principal Secretary, IT, Government of Bihar, said that CSCs scheme is about government’s initiative to provide web-enabled services to citizens. There are critical areas such as: SWAN, SCAs and CSCs. He informed that Bihar has 8,463 panchayats. So one CSC in each panchayat is envisioned to be established. For 8 of the 9 divisions, SCAs have been identified. Apart from SREI, there are two more players. The MSA is expected to be signed in the month of August, 2007. He informed about kisan soochna kendras run by Jai Kisan in Uttarakhand. He informed that SCAs will take up the onus to set up infrastructure, by partnering with VLEs. But no roll-out of CSCs has taken place in Bihar. Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems India, said that in 2000, the IT scenario was far from being fair. The IT policy of 1999 was not conducive for the growth of the IT industry. In India, there are 200 million mobile users, but voice connectivity is missing. There are some futuristic application. The success of the IT industry can affect the CSCs scheme. PC penetration is low in India. There are only 20 million PCs for a population of 1.1 billion people. Availability of online
the power of ICTs to reach out to the poor. The approach of CSCs scheme should be bottom-up and not top-down. CSCs should be community-driven. He explained about the problem of political extremism, which is affecting the implementation of the CSCs scheme in Jharkhand. Mass migration and hunger related deaths take place in Jharkhand. In the last 30 years, no election has taken place for the panchayats. Decentralisation has not taken place in Jharkhand. Even district collectors are unaware of the Right to Information Act. They think that RTI Act is used for blackmailing bureaucrats. Although Jharkhand is resource-rich, but its people are poor. L.K. Tiwari, Additional Chief General Manager, MPDCL, Madhya Pradesh, said that SCAs have not been appointed in Madhya Pradesh. CSCs are functioning in some form or the other on an experimental basis in various states. ITC established e-Choupal in MP, under a special ordinance. ITC was allowed to procure food grain/crops directly from farmers and pay the â€˜mandiâ€™ tax directly to the government. He informed that the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad has selected the transport department of MP for its study. The process of issuing driving license is completely computerised in MP. There is no manual processing of Treasury Bills. Srinivas Tadigadapa, Head South Asia, World Ahead Programme, Intel, spoke about the problem of power shortage in rural India. He said that last mile connectivity in rural hinterland is required. D.C. Mishra, Senior Technical Director, NIC, New Delhi, was the last speaker. He said that CSCs can be helpful for entrepreneurs to enter the market. In the recent years automation of the government programmes have taken place. He informed that the NIC and Stanford University USA (Asia Pacific Research Centre in Stanford) study looked at adoption and consumption capacity of village-level community to use CSCs. He mentioned about some projects like Gyandoot, HPI community initiative, panchayat driven initiatives in Belandhar, Buddhi Kote, n-Logue, Akshaya project of Kerala and Warana Wired Village. If need arises, adequate changes need to be made in CSC logistics. He
connectivity device for serious applications is negligible in India. The vital issue is what type of services would be delivered by the private players. There is excessive optimism about the effective implementation of CSCs scheme. The critical factor is policy framework. The type of business and revenue sharing model chosen would determine the fate of the sustainability of CSCs. For inclusive growth, access, community infrastructure is required along with broadband connectivity. The ecosystems will be shaped by government policy. In Haryana, there are 1,500 telecentres which are working outside the purview of CSCs scheme. In the case of B2C services, one telecentre located in a developed area can earn a revenue of INR 20,000 to 25,000. People are now ready to use IT and ICT applications. CSC Programme: Stocktaking on key opportunities and challenges Aruna Sundararajan, CEO, CSC programme, IL & FS, New Delhi chaired the second session held on 1 August, 2007. R.P. Pal, IT Secretary, Government of Goa, was the first speaker in this session. He informed that Goa performed well in areas like: quality of life, health and infrastructure, apart from e-Governance. Optical fibres have been laid in all talukas. Government would be getting revenue under the PPP mode of CSCs scheme. In 2002, Goa set up 13 experimental CSCs, which are called Mahiti Ghars. 10 services are provided through Mahiti Ghars, which include land records, licenses, etc. Regulating the pricing of the services being provided is essential. When more services are offered, the prices charged should go down. For broadband network, end-users would be charged. Currently, the bandwidth provided is sufficient for business transaction in Goa. Ravi Kumar, Executive Director, Alternative for India Development, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, said that the programmes of the Government of India should target the poor. He informed that his organisation is working for more than 25 years. He took the case study of Jharkhand. He informed that his organisation provides a lot of services like basic education, health services, opportunities for livelihood for the poor etc. CSCs scheme is a convergent programme. There are 600 panchayats with 3,000 villages with a population of 3 million in Jharkhand. CSCs uses
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drew everyoneâ€™s attention to: poor quality of web-content, digital divide, lack of proper business models, financial sustainability, technological sustainability, inadequate generation of capital, inadequate connectivity and 24x7 delivery modes. He said that laying of optical fibres can be helpful in getting broadband connectivity. It was also informed that CSC investment would range from INR 1.25-INR 3.00 lakh. Aruna Sundararajan during the question and answer session, said that the role of IL&FS is to support SCA as well as SDA. Once the bidding process is over, SCA has the responsibility to run and maintain the centre. IL&FS is working at national level and supporting DIT to bring some of the big service providers and give them platform. But still lots of challenges are there. The key challenges are: a) Setting up infrastructure on the ground level; b) Delivery of services; and c) Sustainability of kiosks. She informed that there is no corporate involved in ground level. While replying to Vijay from iKisan, D.C. Mishra said that e-Governance services are meant for block panchayat, district panchayat and tehsil level. Other services, which can be provided are IGNOU, computer training and certificating programmes. There are departmental exams, online exams, which can be conducted through CSC centres. Content services and financial sustainability-making the connection V. Balaji, Head of Knowledge Management and Sharing, ICRISAT chaired the third session. He asked Dr. Kentaro Toyama, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research India to give his presentation. Dr. Kentaro Toyama quoted the definition of telcentres as PC equipped centre facilitating people for various services. These are some kind of services, which are computerised. He said that he is not focusing on those telecentres, which are fully funded by NGOs or the government, but on those telecentres, which are willing to work as a business. He visited around 50 kiosks, and culled out some key challenges and opportunities for e-Kiosks. To run PC based kiosks is a difficult proposition, and also it is challenging to garner funds. There are a long list of services for running the kiosk. There was mention of e-Seva, and Comat telecentres in Karnataka. The government their has closed these e-Services from their government offices and now it is these kiosks that are providing the e-Services. Eventually the customers are forced to go to these kiosks. Since these are private businesses, so they provide better services than traditional government offices. Also, there is much demand for kiosks as computer training centres. Building partnership for outreach, scaling up and sustainability Vikram Chand, Senior Public Sector Management Specialist, World Bank India, chaired the fourth session. The other discussants were: Gerolf Weigel, Head - ICT4D, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Berne, Switzerland; Rufina Fernandes, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, Mumbai; Dr Harsha Liyanage, Managing Director - Fusion, Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka; Vikas Goswami, Lead-Corporate Social Responsibility, Microsoft, India; and Shahid Akbar, ICT Consultant, KATALYST, Bangladesh. August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
August 2, 2007 Addressing the access challenge Ashis Sanyal, Sr. Director, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, GoI, chaired the first session held on 2 August, 2007. He informed that BSNL has the mandate of reaching out to the rural areas for providing access points. He also reminded about the PCO model and Cyber Cafe model that spread in the entire India. R.N. Padukone, Sr. Deputy Director General (TEC), Ministry of Communications & IT, GoI (www. tec.gov.in), was the first speaker in Telecentre Tales forum during the first session on 2nd August 2007. He spoke on the nationwide inter-operable broadband network for rural safety requirement. He said that 700 Mhz is the ideal spectrum for rural areas, as per the legislation in USA, which can cover a radius of 30 km. He also spoke about the creation of National Broadband Authority--NBA (a government body). The roles of NBA would be: a) Defining terrestrial coverage requirement; b) Defining network specifications; c) Defining user control and establish necessary protocols for user-priority and inter-operability; d) Defining reliability levels and work in the area of redundancy arrangements; e) Establishing capacity requirements; f ) Developing procedures for setting additional capacity when necessary; g) Developing procedures to manage authorities relationship with commercial carrier licenses; h) Negotiating with equipment and service vendors; i) Coding at optimal pricing and packages; j) Looking at activation and deactivation units; k) Developing technological and production roadmap for public safety by keeping the network evergreen; l) Administering revenue stream including distribution of negative auction money; m) Looking at network usage charges. Sweta Jain, WIMAX/WIMESH Solutions Manager, Nortel Networks, India, made her presentation on government services reaching to rural masses through e-Governance. She informed that services of e-Governance can be in the area of G2B, G2C and G2G. She said that ICTs can also be provided to government employees.
She informed that there exists spectral shortage in India. Masses can be reached via 5.8 and 2.4 Ghz. GSM, CDMA and WiMax, are needed to be placed in an inter-operable platform. She also talked on Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiple (OFDM), which comprises of High Speed Downing Packet Access (HSDPA), EVTO (for CDMA) and LTE (for 3G). OFDM provides spectral efficiency. WiMax can work on unlicensed bands. WiFi’s range in rural areas is not good. WiMax has low operational cost. There are standards for WiMax which is 802.16 B. 270. Operators globally have deployed WiMax. She spoke on network infrastructure too. CPE is used for getting access to broadbands. K.B. Narayanan, Director, Head - Broadband Technology Division, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India spoke on the status of broadband last mile accessibility. Affordability aspect was the focus of his presentation. He said that broadband supports highspeed data transfer. Broadband brings efficiency. Internet and broadband are catalysts for social and economic development. Broadband provides end-users with packet based digital voice, video and data services. Last mile bandwidth bottlenecks is solved via broadband. There is need for e-Inclusion of rural masses. In October 2004 Government of India announced the broadband policy, which specifies 256 Kbps as the minimum downloadable speed. The factors affecting broadband are: access cost, availability of local language content, customer premises equipment, value proposition, increasing demand for bandwidth application, making bandwidth available at reasonable cost etc. The effort made by Government of India are: a) Progressive reduction in call charges, national long distance bandwidth charges and international long-distance bandwidth charges; b) Reduction in customer premises equipment price; c) Local language content is rising; and d) More spectrum is available to service providers by releasing it for other captive uses. He informed that the Year 2007 has been announced the Year of the Broadband. Sandeep Gupta, Senior Engineering Manager, Product Marketing and Management, Motorola, informed that Motorola helps in provision of broadband services. Broadband can help in provision of e-governance services, tele-medicine services etc. which can transform the economy and society. The challenges are: a) Poor infrastructure; b) Poor infrastructure including power supply; c) Low affordability; and d) Lack of spectrum efficiency. Solutions are needed in the form of low Opex and Capex to provide affordable broadband connectivity.
sustainability, technological and infrastructural sustainability, and livelihood sustainability. Namrata Bali, General Secretary, SEWA, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, said that village knowledge centres, CSCs and CLCs are essential for rural development. She informed that SEWA has a membership of more than 10 lakh women. She mentioned about the presence of SHGs, mandals, DWCRA groups, co-operative societies in Gujarat. SEWA women members have created various indicators via focus group discussion on employment, income, nutrition, health (including reproductive health), micro-finance and assetbuilding, housing (including housing, sanitation, sewerage), women’s empowerment and leadership, self-reliance, collective and social empowerment. Diaries are written by grass-root women on a daily basis which is reflective of the problems they face regularly pertaining to livelihood, poverty, income generation, etc. Ram Gopal, Partner, Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad informed about his organisation and the functions it performs. He said that Byrraju Foundation works in 180 villages of 6 districts of Andhra Pradesh. It has implemented a project on rural bandwidth wireless connectivity project, which offers a basket of services by working with Media Lab Asia and United Nations Development Programme. Knowledge sharing for strengthening community and networks: How do we leverage the web 2.0? Ashwant Gnanavelu, Manager HR, DesiCrew Solutions, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, informed that DesiCrew established rural BPO centre apart from investing in infrastructure. DesiCrew offer backoffice services to clients. They are working in Tamil Nadu. 50 percent of DesiCrew’s associates are girls. R.K. Maiti’s (Jt Secretary, Department of PR and RE, West Bengal) presentation was on knowledge sharing. He said that Indian society must be knowledge-based, but it will have to be a knowledge-sharing society. He said that there is necessity of change in the mindset from one that works for the people to one that works with the people. He also asked for democratic institutions of service delivery. Ashis Sanyal also participated in this session which brought out some key recommendations to continue the dialogue.n
Measuring the social impacts of telecentres During the second session held on 2nd August 2007, Alok Bhargava, Chief Executive, Rural CSC Programme, IL&FS, explained that IL&FS is working with Government of India for implementation of CSCs scheme. There is need for looking at the outcomes of establishing CSCs. Chetan Sharma Founder, Datamation Foundation Charitable Trust, New Delhi, informed that one-third of government services and two-third of private services are going to be delivered via telecentres and CSCs. Enormous changes have taken place in India. Sharma also mentioned about Bhoomi (Karnataka), Akshaya (Malappuram), Datamation Foundation, Warana Milk Co-operative, etc. He asked for the need of institutional
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n Agriculture Gates offers agri-kiosks to Maharashtra The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh informed that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has offered to help the Maharashtra government set up agro-kiosks to serve farmers in the state, apart from setting up a research centre near Pune. The agro-kiosks will help farmers get the latest information on weather, cropping patterns and trends in agricultural produce prices very quickly and efficiently. The project should improve the condition of farmers in the state that has witnessed mass suicides by agriculturists in last couple of years. The central and state governments would be spending INR 55 billion over the next three years on agriculture, 80 percent of which would be allocated to improving irrigation facilities. The Government of Maharashtra and Microsoft had signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a Microsoft research centre in Hinjewadi near Pune. The Maharashtra Government has allotted 25 acres of land for the project. Moreover, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already contributed $100 million for the spread of AIDS awareness. economictimes.indiatimes.com
Farm women plan mobile vending unit in Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (India) farm Women in Agri Business and Extension (TANWABE), a group comprising of 15 farm women of Ayyanbommayapuram in Vilathikulam taluk of Tuticorin district, are going to launch a ‘mobile unit’ to sell agriculture produce. TANWABE plans to introduce a ‘sales outlet on wheels’ from the first week of August, 2007 so as to deliver quality agricultural products, both farm fresh and value added ones, at prices lower than in the open market at the doorsteps of people. The group was formed under the TANWABE concept, which was launched by the Department of Agriculture, with an aim to empower rural farm women in agricultural and extension activities. Besides a wide August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
range of items, the flagship product of the group, a herbal oil made by mixing coconut oil, hibiscus/shoe flower, curry leaf, amla and bhangra, would be at the disposal of customers through the mobile unit. The oil will be priced at INR 20 for 100 ml. www.hindu.com
n Community Radio UNESCO launches school community radio in the Caribbean The secondary school of Bequia has launched a community radio station in the Caribbean in collaboration with the UNESCO. The Community multi-media center (CMC) aims to establish school framework in the first initiative of the programme. It aims to stimulate teaching training while throwing a bridge between formal education and non-formal education. The CMC will provide various training programmes, including Internet, radiophonic production of contents, numerical assembly, preparation of scenarios, techniques of interview to students and teachers. The CMC will allow the pupils and teachers to express their ideas and their creativity. It will also support the production and the diffusion of contents in favour of the development and the autonomisation of the community. portal.unesco.org rce me om e-C
n e-Commerce e-Procurement Project of Govt of AP bags UN Public Service Award for 2007
The e-Procurement project (http://www. eprocurement.gov.in) of the Government of AP has bagged the prestigious UN Public Service Award for 2007. The Award was given under the head: Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in the Public Service. This project is the only one spotted from India for the distinction. There are, in all, 14 awards in various categories from across the world. ASCI had taken the initiative to
nominate the e-Procurement Project to the UN panel for this award. The selection of projects for the honors was a multi-stage process and finally an expert committee of the UN selected the winners. The e-Procurement project built and managed by the Information Technology and Communications Department of the Government of AP is an Internet-based platform for Government procurement. This was a pioneering project when it came about in 2003. This project has led to enormous savings in Government procurement, brought down the cycle time of the tendering process, improved transparency and brought about a level-playing field between small and large government suppliers. This project has received several awards in the past, but winning the UN Award is certainly a crowning glory, bringing honour to AP and India. ASCI congratulates the e-Procurement Project team from the Government of AP for this outstanding achievement. www.asci.org.in/
n e-Governance egov Bahrain Govt launches debit card payment services The Bahrain Government has launched online payment facility for debit card users. The Ministry of Finance has signed an agreement with the Ahli United Bank to enable the debit card payment facility. The government has launched a variety of eGovernment services, including Government Data Network (GDN), Smart Card and eGovernment Portal to drive Bahrain to a leadership position in eGovernment. The portal will allow debit card holders to pay their bills through online. The Benefit Payment Gateway is an advanced online payment solution that allows merchants, corporate and government entities to interact with their individual customers to process and settle online credit and debit cards payments via Internet or any other electronic channel with protection and integrity throughout a complete payment process cycle. www.ameinfo.com
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Bago rice farmers now use Internet A group of farmers in Brgy. Dulao, Bago City are now accessing up-to-date farming information from multi-media sources, including the Internet. The cyber community of Lopue’s Farmers and Laborers Association (LOFALAS), a first in Western Visayas, is one of the projects of the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture, popularly known as the Pinoy Farmers’ Internet, under the International Rice Research Institute, located in Philippines. LOFALAS has two sets of computer with accessories and compact discs containing the Knowledge Bank and the Rice Production Guide. www.visayandailystar.com
n e-Education m-Learning project in Africa Standford University has launched a project International Outreach Program (IOP) that is changing the way universities think about distance learning. The University has launched the project, the Dunia Moja Project - “one world” in Swahili in collaboration with its three partner universities in Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa. The mobile learning project enables scientists and students to access environmental-science course materials and interact with each other using high-tech mobile phones. Both Ericsson and Sony Ericsson are collaborating with Stanford to provide mobile smart phones equipped with video cameras, audio recorders, and Internet capability, as well as technical and other support for the pilot version of the course. Students at Makerere University, Mweka College of African Wildlife Management, University of the Western Cape, and Stanford University use the phones to access the course website, send text messages, and post media to mobile blogs. www.bizjournals.com
Interactive learning programme through iPod McGraw-Hill Higher Education, a premier provider of print and digital teaching and learning solutions for the post-secondary and higher-education markets, is the first major educational publisher to offer collegelevel content for the iQuiz game application on Apple’s iPod. McGraw-Hill Higher Education’s EZ Test Online program can create and deliver multiple-choice or true/false quiz questions using iQuiz for iPod. EZ Test Online combines high quality content with the ability to prepare and deliver tests to students in a variety of ways. To set up and deliver a quiz to students via iPod, instructors simply press the iQuiz button
in EZ Test Online to export a quiz ready for use with iQuiz. Once students download the quiz into their iPod, they can use the interactive iQuiz to practice and learn the content specific for their course. Students can quickly self-assess and receive their quiz scores instantly. EZ Test Online is accessible to busy instructors virtually anywhere via the Web, and the program eliminates the need for them to install test software. money.cnn.com
n Health SMS service to provide free malaria information to UK travellers Healthcare specialist iPLATO has developed text messaging service, which will allow citizens of UK to receive immediate and free travel health information regarding malaria. GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health has funded the project as part of the Malaria Awareness Campaign, which allows travellers to text in the name of their destination country to receive relevant information about the malaria prevalence in that country. The service is designed so that once a traveller has been informed about the level of malaria risk at their destination they will be encouraged to contact a healthcare professional for expert advice on protection. Travellers using the service are charged their standard operator rates and the service is available over all networks. www.publictechnology.net
World Bank approves additional funds for health development in Tanzania The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has currently approved an additional International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$ 60 million for the Government of Tanzania to support the second phase of the Health Sector Development Project.
The additional funds of the World Bank will support Tanzania’s Second Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP) for an additional two years: 2007-2009. Through this project there will be increased funds for more efficient delivery of essential health services and staffing at district level. Out of the total additional financing, US$ 35 million will be disbursed through a pooled fund, which finances the annual work plan and budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the Comprehensive Council Health Plans of 121 districts. Nine Development Partners, including the World Bank, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland will contribute to this “health basket fund” in order to reduce transaction costs and strengthen government systems. The remaining US$ 25 million will support the Government of Tanzania’s innovative public-private partnership for increasing the use of insecticide treated bed-nets to prevent malaria. The main objective of the additional financing is to assist the Government of Tanzania in continuing to improve the quality of health services and the management of resources allocated to the health sector through strengthening health sector policy and strategy, and through building institutional capacity. The Government of Tanzania in 2000, with support of IDA and other development partners, embarked on a long-term health sector development program aimed at improving access, utilization, quality and financing of health services through increased efficiency and effectiveness in use and allocation of resources. web.worldbank.org/
IIM Ahmedabad steps into Healthcare The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, has developed a model for improving urban health services in collaboration with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). The IIM’s Centre for Management of Health Services (CMHS) has set up the Urban Health Care (UHC) model to specially focus on urban poor, living in slums and chawls. The IIM-A model is based on extensive use of Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate urban health centres in each ward, to ensure availability, access, affordability and equity of healthcare services. The model is already implemented in the Vasna part of the capital and is getting a good response from the users. According to Prof Ramani, the Vasna Urban Health Centre is the first of its kind in India providing a comprehensive line of services under one roof including consultation, lab and radiology services, medication, and referral services. www.medindia.net/ i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
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n Livelihoods Senate Appropriations Committee approves amendment to improve livelihoods The Senate Appropriations Committee in USA has approved the proposal to help rural schools, libraries and health-care facilities. The provision is included as part of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill and would exempt the universal service program funding for rural schools, libraries and health care facilities from the Anti-deficiency Act. This will allow schools and health clinics to get funding support for distance learning and telemedicine in a timely fashion. This initiative will help rural schools, libraries and health care facilities in Alaska, and other places in America, that receive funding for distance learning and tele-medicine. presszoom.com/
QUALCOMM launches fisher friend to empower fishing communities in India QUALCOMM, M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Tata Teleservices and Astute System Technology are collaborating to develop a BREW-based mobile application, which empowers fishing communities in India. QUALCOMM and MSSRF have joined together to create the Fisher Friend project and Fisher Friend application for fishing communities. Fisher Friend is a mobile application, which is based on QUALCOMM’s BREW solution and works on 3G CDMA and WCDMA handsets. The new application allows fishing communities to use ICT and wireless technology to earn their livelihood. Fishermen can send a request form from a menu-driven client software on the mobile phone. Fishermen can access vital updates on opportunities, risk and market information in their local language. Presently, the application is implemented in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. Fisher Friend project aims to be extended in other communities in the coastal belts of India. www.efytimes.com
n m-Serve Nokia offers Mobile Newspaper in Kerala, India Nokia is the first company in India to offer Mobile Newspaper in association with the leading news publication, Malayala Manorama. The company has launched “vernacular news portal” in Kerala, India. Users of Nokia GPRS-enabled handsets would be able to get both national and international news in their native language August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
e-Learning for Norfolk children Now, dozens of sick and excluded school children have been able to sit in their exams this summer due to an innovative e-Learning programme run by Norfolk County Council. The Norfolk County Council has set up hundreds of SAT GCSEs in school halls and classrooms across the county, so that these students can give their exam from home. The e-Learning scheme is currently supporting nearly 100 children through online lessons, so that they can have oneon-one electronic sessions with teachers and in interactive classrooms, where they can communicate with other students. One of the most useful tools for children’s development and education is the interactive classroom, which allows youngsters to raise a virtual-hand in class, speak to their peers and listen to what the teacher and other members of the class are saying via a headset. The teacher in turn can keep an eye on the progress of the student and assess how much they are doing through an in-class monitor. www.egovmonitor.com
and across categories like sports, travel, music, astrology, and movies. All they need to do is to send ‘MM’ as SMS to 5555. They will subsequently receive an URL on their handsets, clicking upon which will help them download the news portal icon onto their phones. Nokia has partnered with various media houses in the country to bring value-added services in 10 languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada in association with leading media houses across India. www.techtree.com
n Technology Strategy to enhance ICT sector in Jordan Public and private sector leaders of the ICT industry in Jordan has launched a four year strategy to help revive the sector and enhance its competitiveness. The National ICT Strategy, the outcome of joint efforts by the Information Technology Association of Jordan (int@j), the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). The strategy seeks to increase the number of people who use the Internet up to 50 per cent from the current 11 per cent. It also aims to increase employment in the sector to reach 35,000 jobs from 16,000 jobs. In addition, it aims to double the current US$ 1.5 billion revenues by the year 2011, according to int@j CEO Sabri Tabbaa. www.menafn.com
n Telecentre Reliance, SREI team up for info kiosks in India Reliance Communication has partnered
with the SREI Sahaj e-Village Limited for the development of Common Service Centres (CSC) in West Bengal under the National eGovernance Programme (NeGP), had been signed between the two private companies and the West Bengal government. Under the Master Service Agreement (MSA), all the 6797 ‘Tathyamitra’ CSCs in the state would be operational within one year from the date of signing the MSA. Reliance has been given the charge of developing these centres in 4 districts of the state, while SREI is slated to develop these CSCs in 14 other districts. These CSCs have been designed with the aim of helping people in rural West Bengal avail the benefits of online services in health, medicine, education and governmentrelated affairs, and also sustain the rural economy by providing income to several VLEs. cities.expressindia.com
ISRO plans to set up more village resource centres in India Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India is planning to set up more village resource centres to impart training in skills using locally relevant technologies like a wireless local loop system and a remote access switch developed by the IIT. The WLL technology will expand connectivity across villages, enabling rural people to develop appropriate skills and entrepreneurship. While delivering the convocation address at Satyabaama University here, ISRO Chairman V Madhavan Nair, the cost-effectiveness of the wireless technology will overcome the economic disadvantage associated with far-flung sparse rural connections. ISRO has already used Wi-Fi technology to pro vi de s ervi c es i n remo te a nd unconnected villages. economictimes.indiatimes.com
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QUALCOMM in Thailand QUALCOMM Inc. has launched the Wireless Reach Initiative in Koh Panyee, Ban Pakkoh and Phang Nga communities of Southern Thailand. The company is working with the CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the Office of the Non-Formal Education Commission (ONFEC), the Ministry of Education and Axesstel Inc. to provide EV-DO high-speed wireless services to fulfill the medical and educational needs of these communities. The company will donate telemedicine equipment for two public health stations on the two islands. Desktop computers and wireless connectivity would also be provided to the main hospital in Phang Nga community. The wireless service will connect the public health stations with the hospitals, which enables them to transmit data to the hospital and benefit from real-time access to doctors. The Thailand Wireless Reach initiative will also establish telecentres in Tub Pud Public Library and Kura Buri Public Library in the Phang Nga area. www.wirelessdesignasia.com
n Open Source NRCFOSS, the Indian Govt body to promote open source software National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software (NRCFOSS), India is planning to bring its programme on free/open source software to Gujarat in collaboration with engineering colleges in the state. NRCFOSS is initiating and promoting development and deployment of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) tools, technologies, products, architectures and solutions in various relevant application domains. Initiative is under the SOA framework where e-Governance, technical, SMEs and school education are some of the domains being explored. The Centre has trained 100 teachers for 200 hours in the first phase of the project. In second phase, the Centre is planning to extend its presence to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Kerala. http://www.business-standard.com
Japan Govt adopts open source standards The Japan Government has adopted open source policy under which government ministries and agencies will solicit bids from software vendors whose products support internationally recognized open standards. The government will give preference to procuring products, which adhere to open standards and easily interoperate with other software with use of the new interoperability framework. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has designed the new guidelines, while other ministries and agencies will deploy the guidelines. The interoperability framework also suggests that the guidelines would also be useful for private industry. www.govtech.com
n SME Intel goes rural with lendn-lease tie-ups The world’s number one chip-maker Intel has partnered with the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and ICICI Bank to reach out to the burgeoning small enterprise sector as well as the rural heartland of 6.5 lakh villages. This partnership will help to set up more than one lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the rural hinterland equipped to provide PCs Internet and a variety of locally relevant services. Intel will provide expertise on the hardware and software configurations as well as educational packages under its “World Ahead” programme. The company has partnered with the ICICI bank to enhance the large reseller and PC assembler network to provide computer muscle to the SME sector. www.thehindubusinessline.com
Nigcomsat partners banks on micro credit to ICTrelated SMEs Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT Ltd) is planning to partner with banks to provide micro-credit finance for small-and-medium scale enterprises in the information communication technology sector. Under the scheme, the banks will provide the funding while NIGCOMSAT Ltd will provide Internet services at highly subsidised rate to small business operators. NIGCOMSAT Ltd is aimed to empower the SMEs and also planning to establish community combination centres across the country. The businessmen in the rural areas will be able to make profits and the rural people will be able to afford it. NIGCOMSAT Ltd is going to develop two driving considerations in the solutions, accessibility and affordability. NIGCOMSAT Ltd is trying to partner with
some Nigerian banks through which they will be able to access micro credit. www.businessdayonline.com
n Telecommunications NATCOM to improve telecommunications services in Sierra Leone T h e N a t i o n a l Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n C o m m i s s i o n ( N AT C O M ) o f S i e r r a Leone announced that currently, the Commi-ssion is developing a consumerfriendly programme and procedures to improve telecommunications services in the country. NATCOM recognised that telecommunications operators, service providers and consumers make up the stakeholdercommunity in the industry. The commission also wishes to promote fair competition among telecommunications operators and protect telecommunications and consumers from unfair conduct on the part of other operators, especially with regard to equality of services and the tariff payable in respect of those services. This will also provide deadlines on tariffs chargeable for the provision of services and ensure universal availability of efficient, reliable, cost-effective and affordable telecommunications services throughout Sierra Leone. allafrica.com
n Wireless Mississippi Govt partners Motorola to develop statewide wireless network Mississippi Government has signed a deal with Motorola Inc for the development and deployment of a statewide interoperable emergency communications voice and radio network. The new mission-critical voice and data system will provide seamless interoperable emergency communications coverage throughout the state. The project is known as the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) and will utilize the robust 700 MHz dedicated public safety network. Motorola is shipping three rapid deployable Sites on Wheels (SOWS) to assist the Mississippi Gulf Coast area, which will serve as an interim communication system while the permanent facilities are under construction. Motorola will design and implement MSWIN in a three-phase timeline, using the Mississippi Highway Patrol districts as guidelines. Phase I will include the Southern Region of the state, and use MHP Districts 7, 8 and 9. Phase II will include the Central Region (MHSP Districts 1, 5 and 6) and Phase III the Northern Region (MHP Districts 2, 3 and 4). www.govtech.com i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
n Rendezvous Community Radio India 2007 Conference, August 1-2, 2007, New Delhi, India
Free speech zone Creating conducive environment
Engaging stakeholders in a learning environment Community Radio India 2007 was introduced as a new track in the country’s biggest ICT event, eINDIA2007. The event was jointly organised by UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP, and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MI&B), Government of India (GOI), and supported by One World South Asia (OWSA), Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and AMARC. Jocelyne Josiah, Communications Advisor, UNESCO, New Delhi welcomed the gathering. She outlined on the UN approach to the proceedings with an aim of national development and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She outlined the role of the UN System and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to enable community radio to move from the policy phase to the implementation phase, and to take forward the discussions and recommendations made at the UN-MI&B conference held in New Delhi in February 2007. The highlights were on establishing links between content and media, lack of adequate legislation, sorting best documentation methods, sharing of documents/content, effectiveness of participatory method, periodical monitoring, and enabling the community to be effective users of this opportunity. August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
The first session ‘Creating C o n d u c i ve En v i ro n m e n t’ was chaired by Asha Swarup, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GOI, and moderated by Surekha Subarwal, Regional Communications Advisor (South Asia), UNDP New Delhi. Ms. Swarup spoke on the importance of content and the need to strengthen policy frameworks focusing on local and relevant content for community radio (CR). Arvind Kumar, Director (BP&L), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MI&B), GOI, advised on identifying stakeholders and institutions to build a strong network of CR across the community. D.Singaravelu, Dy. Wireless Adviser, WPC, Department of Telecommunications, MoCIT, GOI spoke on the issues concerning spectrum, and on convergence between WIMAX
and CR. He shared the features of CR and WIMAX technology, and briefed on WPC’s procedures for obtaining spectrum license. R. Sreedhar, Director, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), Commonwealth of Learning (COL), New Delhi, shared his experiences and thoughts on establishing CR, that requires spreading awareness among the masses, and asked for turn key solutions, i.e. from application to frequency allotment to SACFA clearance, agreement, WOL, and participation of all sections of society to ensure qualitatively unbiased content.
International community radio experiences The second session was chaired by Supriya Mukherji, Programme Communications Officer, UNICEF, New Delhi. Revi Sterling, Researcher, ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado (currently with Microsoft Research Labs, India) gave an overview of ‘Lessons learnt from Africa in the Participation of Women in Community
Radio’. Dhanushi Senanayake from Practical Action, Colombo, Sri Lanka made her points through ‘Bringing back the missing link in community radios in Sri Lanka- voices of community’. She spoke on the failure of Mahaweli Community Radio (MCR) that was set up alongside the river diversion project and was conceptualised to facilitate socio-economic development for the settlers. Important lessons learnt from the project provide a blue print for other South Asian countries to be followed. Sudhamshu Dahal and Arul Aram authored a paper entitled ‘Experiences gathered from Nepal based on Peace Building efforts of CR’. Sudhamshu highlighted that peace can be an overarching objective, by means of a community radio. AHM Bazlur Rahman and Golam Nabi Jewel, from BNNRC, Dhaka, Bangladesh, prepared a joint paper, which was presented by Shahiduddin Akbar from Katylst, Bangladesh. Amidst many policy recommendations, he mentioned the need to establish strategic links between community radio and telecentres’ besides other opportunities to cluster community media resources, and pleaded support for community radio development through intermediary bodies at national and regional level, by means of training guidance and mentoring. The Bangladesh NGO Network is currently demanding the opening up of the airwaves, and felt that forums such as this, provided insights on how to position the campaign in Bangladesh. Deborah J Winsten, from ‘Making Local Voices Count’ Washington DC, USA, demonstrated the creative facilitation role that NGOs could play to empower poor people with basic communication skills so that they can contribute to development. Promoting a ‘bottom-up’ communication strategy for effective, locally guided, sustainable development, she shared her experiences from enabling communities in Africa to set up, run and manage community radios. Raman Nanda, Broadcast Consultant and Radio Mentor, New Delhi made an analytical study on ‘CR: Afghanistan and IndiaThe Learning Curve’. He pointed out that despite the absence of a clear-cut CR Policy, the community radio movement in Afghanistan has spread rapidly. Though the take off in India for CR is slow, the civil society and governments are making efforts to impact the socio-economic conditions of the disadvantaged, and the CR will enable this process to be accelerated.
effective installation, running, and maintaining of a studio and station, and also in delivering valuable, useful, and necessary programmes. A vast country like India deserves several thousands of community radio stations, and each station catering to the needs of listeners in the small coverage area restricted by the height of the transmitting tower, the power output and the obstructions to the FM waves. The annual license fee may be cut down for community radios to ease the financial strain. Women empowerment was also given due thrust through CR station of Kongu. One of the key suggestions that he made was to get recognition of CR stations as a formal media, as they are often not able to cover important visits, or government press briefings, which has relevance to the communities, as they are not invited in press meetings. Dr. S.A Patil, Director, IARI, New Delhi, shared his experiences on ‘CR with special reference to Dharwad’- India’s first farmers’ radio station. The experience demonstrates CR’s tremendous potential for strengthening grassroot democracy and Panchayati Raj Institutions. He spoke for separate rural and urban models and spoke on general pre-requisites to make CR operational. Pankaj Athawale, Head, FM Community Radio, University of Mumbai made a presentation on ‘Identity crisis of CR and its solutions’. He pleaded on identifying the communities and stressed on making socially responsible content that could be a right mix of information and entertainment. CR would prove to be an effective medium to make informed citizens who are empowered with knowledge and information. Highlighting the need for creating massive country-wide awareness on the spectrum clearance guidelines and CR licensing procedures, he told that Mumbai university’s tower, being within 10 kilometres
Campus community radio R. Sreedher chaired the session on ‘Campus Community Radio’. Dr. Saima Saeed, Lecturer, CCMG, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, gave her presentation on ‘Community Radio: Policies, Power and Possibilities’. It should get a sizable place in broadcasting policy framework in this country to strengthen grassroots democracy. Making hardware available at cheapest price for the poor; building interface with the communities; and focusing on socially relevant programming would enable campuses to fulfill the objectives of CR. For varied communities like India, a mix of several successfully experimented models across the continents should be encouraged. Prof. K. Thangaraj, Kongu FM, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, spoke on the ample opportunities CR provides to promote democracy and help the marginalised groups. He spoke of the need for focusing on relevant content and human resources for
Low cost technology demonstration workshop Nomad India Network and UNESCO made combined efforts to demonstrate the effects of low cost technologies for Community Radio. Nomad was represented by Hemant Babu and Michelle Chawla and UNESCO by Seema Nair with a supportive hand lent by N. Ramakrishnan, who is the Director of Ideosync Combine Media. This was followed by a Q & A session led by Seema. N. Ramakrishnan is currently engaged in the production of a Guide Book for CR operators, the first draft of which is already being discussed in the Solutions Exchange’s ICTD Forum of UN.
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proximity of the Airport will not get a clearance, but the University understood this only after constructing the Tower.
Knowledge sharing and learning from experiences The session on ‘Knowledge Sharing and Learning from Experiences’ started with the presentation of Prof. Binod C. Agrawal, Director, Taleem Foundation, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on ‘Use of Radio for Women’s Literacy: Insights and Lessons from an Indian Experiment’. He shared his experiences of action research of the ‘Project in Radio Education per adult literacy’ (PREAL). Commissioned by Government of India, PREAL was carried out to impart literacy through radio and supports functional components of National Literacy Mission (NLM). Accordingly, 1,08,000 women learners were selected to participate in PREAL in four Hindi speaking states covering 10 districts and 8 AIR stations. Caste issues and diverse dialects in the study area prevalent also tended to segregate communities. P.Krishnamurthy, Lead of Kalanjiam Community Radio of Dhan Foundation, Tamil Nadu showcased a video presentation and talked on ‘Building communities through media’ based on his work experience. Kalanjiam radio project aims to build the communities by upgrading the skill to develop socio-economic conditions. It also aids to preserve local wisdom and traditional knowledge. Venu Arora and N. Ramakrishnan, Directors of Ideosync Media Combine, New Delhi, made a presentation and showed a video on ‘Sustaining Community Participation in Community Radio’. Certain challenging areas were addressed, like on the creation of content, infrastructure hurdles and equipment maintenance. The example of ‘Mandakini ki Awaaz’ in Uttarakhand, where narrowcasting was used, was cited as an example of mobilizing the community first, before building capacity to broadcast, that works in cycle with Ideosync method. Snehasis Sur, Sr. Journalist, Doordarshan, (Honorary Secretary, Centre for Media Research and Development Studies), Kolkata viewed CR as an all-inclusive process and a medium that serves as a catalytic agent to bring change through narrowcasting. Through proliferation of CRs, the media literate society can demand and ensure accountability, transparency, better governance and Right to Information (RTI). Hence need of the hour is to develop awareness, advocacy, facilitation and networking by tracing the audience in urban area, planning the content, training the professionals, building the community’s confidence, and effectively managing CR for common purpose. Ashish Bhatnagar, Broadcast Engineer, (Hony Secretary, Broadcast Engineering Society, India), All India Radio, New Delhi, made an excellent presentation on ‘Technology considerations in CR’. He explained that Effective Radiated Power (ERP) specified is 100 W. (in special cases, UPTO 250 Watt), maximum tower height should be 30m, minimum height 15m, CR location be within the campus in case of educational institutes, NGOs and others to locate their transmitter, antenna within the centre of geographical area of the community that they seek to serve, and also technology considerations such as number of desired studios, acoustic treatment, choice of acoustic material, choice of studio and transmitting equipment, etc. August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
CSCs and CMCs- a panel discussion The session ‘Community Radios in Common Service Centres (CSC) and CMC: Community Ownership and Sustainability Questions -A Panel Discussion’ was chaired by Sajan Venniyoor, ICTD, CoP Facilitator, Solutions Exchange, UNDP/UNESCO, New Delhi. Arvind Kumar, Director (BP&L), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MI&B), GOI, New Delhi, talked on ownership issues and prescribed basic guidelines to civil society for ownership of CSC/CMC. Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change, Bangalore, talked on pursuing the common objectives of telecentre/ CSC/CR and demonstrated in a video, how communities and women’s self help groups are engaged in using community media for empowerment. Ashish Sen, Voices, Bangalore and Vice President of AMARC, made a video presentation and highlighted the importance of local partnership and ownership. The CMC model in the Namma Dhwani station was a good example of how CSC/CMC linkages can be built. Also the importance of radio as a means to build the last mile linkage was emphasized in his presentation. Supriya Mukherji, Programme Communications Officer, UNICEF, New Delhi, who made a presentation on ‘Community Ownership and Sustainability’, emphasised the need to define the community and spoke on the challenges of community ownership. The sustainability of local and specific CR is related to its capacity to have relevant, participatory and creative programming that attracts the audience and encourages access to the media in their own language, and is alternative and distinct from commercial and public broadcasting. There was an interesting discussion on the need for more usable information for CR operators, and support agencies with respect to procurement of equipment, and the tedious processes relating to licensing. She recommended simplification of procedures and facilitation of useful information relating to setting up of a CR station being shared widely. Dr. Amol Goje, Director and CEO, VIIT, Pune, spoke on Community radio as a facilitator that enables cooperation between farmers and scientists. Because of its unrivalled access and its low production costs, he finds, “radio as the technology that best meets the information and communication needs of farmers, world-wide”. VIIT is piloting a radio station in a CSC and has experimented with innovative programming, and multiple technologies like phone-in, and SMS services combined
with IT and radio. Anwar Sadath, Director, Akshaya Project, Malappuram, Kerala made his presentation on ‘Participatory Content Development’. The key challenge for appropriate content generation was often seen as a time-consuming activity. There were also wide disagreements, community resistance to media/media use. Moreover, content creation is not often considered the priority of the community. The need for innovative ideas for the sake of survival and sustainability, training, and retraining volunteers, and above all revenue generation poses the real challenges to ensure long-term sustainability of community media projects.
society should support and advocate for community media media”. She further elucidated on a convergence process for Gram Panchayats (GP). Thus, knowledge connectivity from Community Service Centres (CSCs) at GP would enable creation of knowledge centres in every village, with community radio as its medium. In this way a digital ecosystem could be created and nurtured in rural India.
Poster presentation Poster presentation was an opportunity for the authors to present papers at the conference hall while meeting with interested attendees for in-depth technical discussions for the entire two days. Nehul Jagdish Kumar, Mumbai based Independent Media Professional made a presentation on his chosen topic ‘CR as a New Revolution in Communication’, pictorially on display board and circulated his papers. The identified community should not be limited to rural areas alone but should encompass urban as well. The ideal composition should be ‘RUURB’ (ie. rural cum urban), especially in a developing nation like India, where even the so called urbanised population is suffering on account of the digital divide. Veronica Peris, Independent Researcher, New Delhi cirulated her paper on ‘Information Sharing and Capacity Building’ that speaks on the right kind of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) used to bridge the communication gap from bottom to top, especially among the like ailing groups like farming communities in India.n
CR and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) The session ‘Community Radios and MDGs: Knowledge Resources and Building a Community of Practice (CoP) and Sharing Best Practices, was facilitated by Sajan Venniyoor. Zohra Chatterji, Joint Secretary (Broadcasting), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi was present as a special guest of the session. Fr.Bento D’Souza, from Radio Bee, Station Manager and Trainer for CR Internships, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, envisioned a long term direction to tap the potential of youth and children. He made some strategic suggestions: use AIR transmitters free of cost till one’s own are being funded, as these too like airwaves belong to people of India. The Karnataka model should be adopted by each of the state to have local funds for promoting low cost-CR, work on training professionals, social workers to learn communication skills to use radio effectively for development and cultural exploration, identify trainers to train 5000 radio stations in India from those who care for people, has passion for technology. Geeta Malhotra, Head (ICT Advocacy, Grassroots Communications and Capacity Building), One World South Asia (OWSA), New Delhi, made a video presentation ‘Connecting Communities and Empowering People through ICTs: Radio as a tool for addressing MDGs’ based on the story of young lady, Manju who was an enterprising enough to mobilise her peers through her effective communication modes using ICTs and CR. Manju also shared her experiences on the dais saying that “it is possible to perform if right kind of platform is there”. Syed Kazi, Research Scholar, from Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU, New Delhi made the presentation on ‘Sustaining Community Radio Initiatives in India: Grassroots and Governance Challenges’. He spoke on challenges of top-down and down-top approach and infrastructure factors. He called for a systematic technical planning and a technical sustainability system, social and financial sustainability, project monitoring and assessment, and a congenial regulatory framework to bring in an effective governance framework for community radio. Smita Pandey IAS (Probationer), made her presentation on ‘Community Radio Initiative- Bridging the Information Gaps’. She shared her dream for the people of Burdwan District, in West Bengal in her role as Assistant Magistrate and Collector. The administrative experiences have made her realise the growing need for CR, especially to the rural India. Accordingly “the initiator should be administration, patron should be government, implementer and owners should be the community, the civil
Some recommendations For the round of recommendations from the floor of the house, some specific recommendations are presented below. The detailed set of recommendations, and action points will be consolidated and shared for approval by the participants via email. These will be shared amongst the participants, donors, supporters and the Government of India. The key lessons were also shared in the plenary valedictory function, presented by Zohra Chatterji, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GOI. Commercial advertisements: Provision to be implemented in practice, good accounting practices should also be established Annual License fee: May be reduced Frequency Allotment: Frequencies allotted to CR should not be allotted to high power transmitters Status of Press (Media): Should be accorded to community radio. This will help easy transmission of information on welfare measures to the common man. Authorities may provide: Information on welfare activities of the government, women empowerment, health and rural development activities to community radios in the coverage area. Public awareness: Activities of the government may be broadcast through, community radios. e.g.: Activities on agriculture, animal husbandry, training programmes in villages etc. Instant Information on: Weather, forecast of calamities, road blocks, school, closures, health camps, eye camps, market trends, traffic diversion, travel facilities, reservations, booking, etc. may be provided to community radio. The conference ended on a note to continue the dialogue, and engage in further awareness at state levels, and local levels, and pledging to keep in touch with each other through email discussion groups. A vote of thanks to all donors, supporters, speakers and participants concluded the track Reported By: Jayalakshmi Chittoor, email@example.com and Ajitha Saravanan firstname.lastname@example.org
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CSCs scheme in West Bengal
Mr. Ranjit K Maiti Jt. Secretary, WBSRDA
What is West Bengal doing for the CSCs scheme? West Bengal is involved in implementing the Common Service Centres (CSCs) scheme under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). In the state of West Bengal, besides other e-Government initiatives, which have been undertaken by the government particularly in the Panchayat and Rural Development Department to reach the people at large, the current e-Government scheme named Common Ser vices Centre scheme, is being implemented not by IT department but by Panchayat and Rural Development Department of the Government of West Bengal through West Bengal State Rural Development Agency, unlike the case in other states. The WBSRDA is going to set up 6,797 CSCs in rural West Bengal. How is the CSCs scheme going to be implemented in rural West Bengal? Rural West Bengal has been divided into 8 zones, of which 6 zones have been awarded to SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited. However, SREI Sahaj e-Village Limited August 2007 | Vol. V No. 7 | www.i4donline.net
Ranjit K Maiti, Jt. Secretary, West Bengal State Rural Development Agency, attended the eIndia 2007 Conference, held in New Delhi. He spoke with Shambhu Ghatak, CSDMS.
being a subsidiary company of the original one will set up 4,937 CSCs. Two zones comprising 4 districts have been awarded to Reliance Communications. They have to set up 1,860 common service centres in 4 districts. There are some constraints and problems too. SREI has already started setting up of their connectivity towers.
â€œ...By December 2007, some CSCs are expected to come up in West Bengal...â€? Government has also started negotiating at the gram panchayat level for providing separate rooms of 12 feet by 10 feet floor area with sitting arrangements and access to electricity. In case there exists no separate rooms, the state Government has already issued instructions to utilise the 12th Finance Commission Fund.
In the case of G2C services, some Departments like Land and Land Reforms Department have come forward to issue copies (parchaas) of the Records of Rights. Similarly, other Departments like Social Welfare and Women and Child Development Depar tment, Agricultural Department, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) West Bengal, Animal Resource Department, Horticulture Department, etc. have come forward for the e-Government services for the citizens. It is a fact that these departments are at various stages of e-Readiness for extending services to the citizens. Fourteen departments have been selected for taking up Mission Mode Projects under NeGP. They are now preparing Detailed Project Reports for approval of the Department of IT, Govt of India. The Government of India will be providing financial support for the CSCs programme in the coming 4 years as revenue supports to the CSC level VLEs. It is expected that these departments will be e-Ready by next 2-3 years for providing G2C services for the citizens. B2C services are coming up with business-models in the areas of banking, insurance, etc.
e-Learning, computer training and learning are making inroads in West Bengal through the two SCAs. By December, 2007 some CSCs are expected to come up in West Bengal. This is going to change the socio-economic fabric of rural West Bengal.
grey area. In West Bengal especially, when the CSC programme came up, it was decided at the state level (at the policy making cell) that the centres would be run by the suitable members from Women SHGs (self help groups). For this purpose, we moved to the Ministry of Rural Development to get some special funds to build the capacity of the prospective village level entrepreneurs. They have provided certain funds and we are now creating a conducive environment, where SCA, NABARD and P&RD department jointly can utilise such funds. SCA has the onus to select the village level entrepreneurs. Despite all these, governments at the state-level have got some role to promote economic activities in the rural areas. We have very little experience. Within the next 2 years we would like to see the CSCs changing the entire scenario through such Public Private Partnership scheme.n
Could you explain the role of SWAN and SDC in NeGP in this respect? In this respect, I would like to mention that CSCs scheme, is dependent upon State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and State Data Centre which are scheduled to provide connectivity up to block level with 2mbps and data storage for all G2C services. Both the components are being looked after by the IT Department of the State Government. From block to gram panchayat, termed as last mile connectivity, how G2C services is to be provided is not very clear. This is a
CSCs scheme in West Bengal In accordance with the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Government of India, 100,000 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enabled e-Kiosks will be set up across the country. West Bengal emerged as the first state in India to finalize the Request for Proposal (RFP) and to sign the Master Service Agreement (MSA). The SREI Sahaj e-Village Ltd, a subsidiary of the Company kick-started its communication network for the Common Service Centres (CSCs) on July 18, 2007, under the National e-Governance Plan in West Bengal (India). The Company would be managing about 5,000 CSCs in collaboration with Wipro Infotech. While Wipro will be responsible for the technological inputs, the Company will chalk out the various services to be provided to the rural masses. The IT-enabled e-Kiosks are being developed to provide information and services for meeting rural needs in relation to online payments, agriculture, education, vocational training, health and hygiene, micro-finance, railway ticket booking, digital photography and computer games, among others. e-Governance, information, utility, payments, deposits, insurance, and other financial services, along with a host of e-Information and e-Learning facilities will be delivered through these CSCs. SREI in technical collaboration with WIPRO Infotech, would implement the CSC project. The CSCs will be managed by 14 Regional Control Centres (RCCs) to be set up in the West Bengal districts- Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, South 24 Pgs, Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Midnapore (E), and Birbhum. A Central Control Centre (CCC) in Kolkata will monitor these. A Data centre/help line will be set up to manage and monitor. SREI has entered into a Master Service Agreement with the Panchayat and Rural Development Department, government of West Bengal, to set up nearly 5,000 common service centres (CSCs) in rural Bengal. The programme is drawn up on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. SREI Sahaj e-Village Ltd. would be putting together over 5,000 nodes which is one of the largest network in the world. Under this programme, a number of village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) preferably from
women self-help groups (SHGs) will get direct livelihood while rest of the population will get access to e-Governance and Internet related services at its doorstep at a very nominal rate. The minimum profit that a VLE can make from a CSC is INR 3,000 per month. Reliance has been given the charge of developing CSCs in 4 districts of the state, while SREI is slated to develop these CSCs in the 14 other districts. As per the memorandum of understanding signed between RCOM and the WB government, Reliance will set up 1,860 CSCs across the state. The CSCs have been termed as Tathya Mitra centres. SmartBridges- a provider of wireless connectivity products - and SREI - a private sector infrastructure equipment finance, infrastructure project finance, and renewable energy product financing company - have partnered together for this project. While smartBridges will be looking after Research and Development (R&D) and rural connectivity project implementation expertise, SREI will look after the successful implementation of CSCs. Apart from SREI, the 6 contenders for the CSCs scheme in West Bengal were Zoom Developers, Wire & Wireless, Grasso, WEBEL, Reliance, and United Telecom. West Bengal Citizen Portal is another G2C-U project that aims to facilitate efficient interface between citizens and the administration. The project runs on PPP model and it is based in Kolkata (West Bengal). Since it is a portal so its reach is anywhere where Internet connection is available. The project has resulted in various direct/indirect social as well as economic benefits to the masses such as bringing transparency and better dissemination of government information resulting in better awareness about various Government schemes. The portal has saved cost and time of the people visiting district headquarters for getting information, lodging complaints and inquiring status. It has also led to reduction in response time by the concerned departments and thereby increased in departmental efficiency. On a scale of 0-100, overall score of the project was 72.27 which falls under the category of â€˜Extremely Goodâ€™ projects.n Source: http://www.equitybulls.com, http://www.expressindia.com http://www.cxotoday.com
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A Galaxy of Luminaries
i4d Awards 2007 CSDMS would like to extend a hearty congratulations to the winners. We commend the work done by each one of the winners and hope that the these projects find deserving emulation. eINDIA 2007 Conference, which was held in Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, from July 31, 2007 to August 3, 2007, concluded with the i4d Awards 2007 and Digital Learning Power School Award 2007 ceremony. The i4d Awards were given during the valedictory session held on August 2, 2007. After a hectic process of two rounds of deliberations, the i4d Award jury members were able to select seven nominations to be awarded in various categories. Seven ICT based projects from various parts of India and internationally bagged the i4d Awards for their substantial contributions in areas such as digital literacy, e-Governance, sustainable livelihoods, etc. The following were the winners of the i4d Award under three categories.
i4d Award for National Projects NIC, Bihar: All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), Madhya Pradesh; and Kerala State IT Mission (Akshaya) were three winners in this category. 1. National Informatics Centre (NIC), Bihar (SCORE) Dr. Saurabh Gupta and Shri. Nirmal Kishor Prasad have implemented the SCORE project in Bihar. Dr. Saurabh Gupta is currently working as State Informatics Officer (SIO) in NIC, Bihar. He is an MCA, MBA and Ph.D in Computer Science and Engineering. Shri Nirmal Kishor Prasad is Principal Scientist and Project Leader of the ‘SCORE’ Project. He is the architect of Property Registration Project in the state. He has designed, developed and implemented SCORE (System for Computerised Registration).
• System for Computerised Registration (SCORE) is a noble ICT solution, implemented for property registration in Bihar. • More than 109 registry offices of Bihar are SCORE enabled and are generating revenues. • The project aims to achieve complete phase out manual registration. • The SCORE-2 system not only facilitates quick registration and delivery of deeds but also enables numerous reforms in the business process record keeping, search & copy, EC along with back office computerization becoming very simple, transparent, and accountable.
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2. All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), Madhya Pradesh Santosh Choubey, Director • The project aims at setting up General founded AISECT Multipurpose I.T. Centres, in 1985 at Bhopal, which especially at Panchayats, Blocks, has done pioneering work and District levels. in content creation in Hindi • More than 5000 multi-purpose and other regional languages. centers have been set up in 29 He is an IES officer of 1976 states in the country. batch and an IAS officer of • AISECT is training more the 1981 batch. Initially, 50,000 students every year he worked for the R & D in I.T. and designing of the Department of Jyoti Limited, framework of multipurpose I.T. Baroda and BEL, Ghaziabad. Centres. Santosh has been a key figure • The project is providing employin the Science and Literacy ment opportunities to about movements in Madhya 12,000 persons in the age group Pradesh also. of 18-30 years. 3. Kerala State IT Mission (Akshaya) K Anvar Sadath is the Head of e-Krishi and he has more than 9 years of experience in ICT implementation in Local Self Government Bodies, Common Service Centres and many more. He is also a Technical Committee Member for the computerisation of various Govt Departments in the state of Kerala.
• Akshaya is providing ICT access to all sections of the society, even to those located in the remotest part of Kerala. • The project is providing ICT skills, including IT literacy training, and creation of relevant local contents. • Akshaya is integrating communities through the creation of e-networks. • The project has generated about 15,000 job opportunities for rural people. • The Akshaya centre is operational is seven districts, including Ollam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Calicut, Kannur, and Kasaragode
i4d Awards in the Overseas Category Many a nominations were received from countries other than India. Among these Central Informatics Organization(CIO) -Govt. of Behrain, e Fusion Pvt. Ltd. - Sri Lanka, and GDCO -Sudan, were the three winners in this category. 1. Central Informatics Organization (CIO), Govt. of Bahrain Project Implementors: H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Atteyatalla Al Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs H.E. Mohammed Al Amer, President of CIO Mohammed Al Qaed, Director General of IT Najma Janahi, Director General of Statistics and Central Population Registry
Left to Right: H.E. Mohammed Al Amer, Preseident CIO, Govt. of Bahrain; Niranjan Meegammana, e Fusion Pvt. Ltd., Sri Lanka; Ms. Bela Diwan, Computer Teacher, Springdales School, New Delhi; Santosh Choubey, Director, AISECT; Ravi Gupta, Director, CSDMS; Ms. Simmi Kher, Head, Computer Dept., Springdales School; William D Dar, Director General, ICRISAT, India; Dr. M.P. Narayanan, President, CSDMS; Ahmed Mahmoud Mohamed Eisa, Chairman, GDCO, Sudan; Subhash Kuntia, Joint Secretary, Dept. of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Govt. of India; Saurabh Gupta, State Informatics Officer, NIC Bihar, India; K. Anvar Sadath, Head, e-Krishi.
• Development of Identity smart card system meant to be used to facilitate government transactions for citizens and residents in the Kingdom of Bahrain. • The Central Population Registry (CPR) card provides a variety of information resources for, demographic data for General Directorate of Traffic – traffic contraventions, driving license; General Directorate of Nationality, Passport, and Residence – passport Biometric data for identity verification. • It is an e-Purse, which allows cardholders to make micro-payments with their smart card PKI Certificates for security and accessibility. Additional records and information will be added in future. • In future, the card will also enable electronic access to Health, Social Affairs, and Labor services, e-Commerce applications, and secure eMail.
i4d Special Jury Award Core Projects & Technologies Ltd: Our jury members selected the project by Core Projects and Technologies Ltd for their Project Monitoring Information (PMIS) and Child Tracking System (CTS), which were developed to facilitate the implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Jharkhand, India. Prakash Gupta, CEO, Core Projects & Technologies Ltd., received the Special Jury Award in eINDIA 2007 Conference
Mr. Prakash Gupta, CEO • CORE has developed the web based of Core Projects & Techsolution with security implementation nologies Ltd has more for sensitive data to facilitate SSA than 25 years of experiimplementation in Jharkhand, which ence in the Information covers two areas viz. PMIS (Project Technology industry. Monitoring Information System) and Mr. Hari Iyer is Director CTS (Child Tracking System). of Education and a board • PMIS monitors finance and physical member at Core Projects progress at district level. & Technologies Ltd. • CTS would help in ensuring that each child gets education and also give government a clear picture on number of children not attending school with relevant reasons.
2. e Fusion Pvt Ltd, Sri Lanka Mr. Niranjan Meegam• e Fusion is providing an e-Learning mana, the founder of system for handicapped students in Shilpa Sayura, has been remote, rural communities of leading projects in Web Sri Lanka. Technologies, Sinhala • The system facilitates self and Technology, Government group learning at telecentres, and Portals, Travel and Tourism preparation of examinations. Technologies, and Content. • The project aims to create a digital He is involved with rural educational content system in communities, community the Sinhala language to use in 20 building, and in research on Nenasala Telecentres and develop bridging the digital divide the self learning capacity of remote, through e-Learning. rural students.
Digital Learning Power School Award 2007 The Digital Learning Power School Award recognises innovative learning and teaching practices, and their practitioners in schools. To recognise and reward dedicated and progressive schools, our jury members had set certain criteria for selection, like the extent to which ICT innovation has resulted in practical outcomes, evidence of the ICT-enabled process being successfully integrated into the education process, and the extent to which the exercise has led to the improved motivation and performance. After a hectic process, our jury members have selected Springdales School, Pusa Road, New Delhi as the Power School of this year, for demonstrating a strong commitment to innovative teaching and learning practices.Apart from the ICT projects for the ‘adjacent to school’ community like Swashakti, Mobile Computer Education, Twinning programme, Student Exchange programme, etc., the school has been reflecting the power of innovation, technology, and brilliance in other areas of teacher training, and curriculum integration.
3. GDCO, Sudan Ahmed Mahmoud • The project, Fighting Poverty Within Mohamed Eisa is the Disabled, provides training, and Chairman of Gedaref creates employment opportunities Digital City Organization for disable people. (GDCO). He was the • Till now, GDCO has established a telState Minster of Agriculecentre for a group of eight deaf girls. ture for Sudan in 1988. • Now, GDCO is training around 80 He completed his BSc in poor orphans, generating up to 50 Agriculture from Kharpercent revenue for the group, and toum University 1981 and 30 percent for establishing another his MSc in Agriculture telecentre and 20% for deaf from USA in 1985. student Medicare.
i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
ICTD Project Newsletter
From e-Government to m-Government Recent technological advances in mobile devices, technology and networks have made it possible for citizens to access information and transact services while on the move. This gives an opportunity for governments to think out of the box while providing services to citizens. This article is a primer on the immense possibilities of mobile governance.
ecently the State Bank of India and Bharti Airtel have partnered to enable money remittance over mobile phones. The project was piloted in a small Himalayan village of Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttaranchal, and it has had far-reaching effects in this village which does not have access to financial and banking services. With inward remittances aggregating to USD 25 billion, India is the biggest recipient of overseas remittances in the world, accounting for around 10 percent of the world market and is growing by 20 percent in India every year. This pilot will allow more than 25 million Indians working overseas to remit money over their mobile phones to families back home who may not even have a bank account.
the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. In India mobile services were commercially launched in August 1995. In the initial years the growth was slow with the total mobile subscriber base at 10.5 million in December 2002. However, soon after, there was a dramatic increase and in the month of May 2007 itself 6.57 million subscribers were added while the corresponding figure for June 2007 is 7.34 million subscribers. The total no. of telephone subscribers stood at 225.21 million at the end of June 2007 of which there were 185.13 million mobile subscribers. Thus about 82 percent of the total telephone subscribers prefer a wireless phone over a fixed line phone. The kind of growth is nothing short of phenomenal.
The above is a small example of the paradigm shift mobile phones have brought about in the traditional way of doing things. India has seen an explosive growth in the mobile telephony segment becoming one of
The above scenario opens up vistas of opportunity for the government to connect to its citizens using the ubiquitous mobile device in every pocket. Currently the government is focused on reaching services and
information to citizens through a computer connected to the Internet under the CSC (Common Service Centre) model. Yet there is a plethora of opportunities which can help governments leapfrog from e-Governance to m-Governance (mobile governance). There are three factors which are potential drivers for the transformation from e-Government to m-Government. They are: (a) In India more people have a mobile phone in their pockets than they have access to a PC with Internet connection. The total no. of Internet broadband connections stood at 2.52 million at the end of June 2007 compared to 185.13 million mobile subscribers. (b) The initial investment for a mobile device is many orders of magnitude less compared to investing in a computer. (c) Mobile phones travel with citizens while a computer does not. Thus potentially citizens have instant access to services
Make ICTs Work for People
and information while on the move. Mobile business is already fast catching on with consumers; people are already shopping, banking, buying movie and railway tickets while on the move. As m-Business evolves there is increasing pressure on governments also to move from e-Governance to m-Governance. m-Government vs e-Government is not an ‘either-or’ situation. m-Government builds upon e-Government. The first phase is to provide through mobile devices what is already available through a computer-based application. The second and more crucial phase is to provide those services and applications which are only possible through wireless and mobile infrastructure. m-Government can be applied in different areas though currently applications in some areas are in their infancy. The four main purposes are illustrated below with examples. m-Communication: Information is power and sharing of information promotes accountability and transparency. These two attributes, among others, are the pillars of good governance. Improving the communication between government and citizens allows citizens to be active participants in the governance process. Two good examples of citizen’s participation in governance come from our neighbours. In China, the 150 million mobile phone owners can now send SMS to the 2,987 depu-
ties of the National People’s Congress. In the Philippines, half of cabinet agencies have SMS-based services that allow citizens to ask for information or to comment and complain about government officials and services. Citizens of Singapore can choose to receive SMS alerts for a variety of e-services such as: renewal of road tax, medical examinations for domestic workers, passport renewal notifications, season parking reminders, and parliament notices and alerts. In the UK, the London police have a service that sends alerts to businesses in London about security threats, including bomb alerts. At the height of the SARS incident, the Hong Kong government sent a blanket text message to 6 million mobile phones in a bid to scotch fears emanating from rumours about intended government action to stem the disease. m-Services – m-Transactions and m-Payments: The use of m-Payments in government services is still limited as the back-end integration is a complex affair. But this is expected to ease as technology advances. Current applications, among others, include: n Singapore’s National Library Board has a SMS service that allows regular users to query the status of their accounts and books borrowed, and receive reminders before the due date of their book loans. They can also undertake transactions such as making book renewals or paying fines using their
mobile phones. The service costs each user $5 per year. n In Finland, SMS tickets can be used for Helsinki’s public transport system. These tickets can be ordered by sending a text message and the user is billed through his or her regular mobile phone bill. The ticket itself is also delivered to the commuter by SMS. m-Democracy: The potential applications are m-Voting and use of mobile devices for input into decision making. Currently in the UK experiments are being conducted in m-Voting with mixed results. Older citizens are not comfortable with sending text messages for voting while the younger generation feel that SMS is a ‘fun application’ and not to be used for serious things like voting. m-Administration: Increasing the productivity and effectiveness of government employees is an important aspect of using mobile devices for administration. Mobile devices have the potential to provide a seamless environment for government employees to access data and information when they are away from their desks. This is especially useful for law enforcement agencies, health officials, etc.
m-Banking and financial services: In developing countries the footprint of bank networks and ATMs is a negligible fraction of the penetration of mobile phones. This implies that provision of banking and financial services over mobile devices is a vast untapped area. Mohammed Yunus has shown the way how m-Banking is the perfect complement to microfinance. Another illustrative example is MPESA project in Kenya. This service was launched on a pilot basis in October 2005 and a full commercial launch was initiated in March 2007. The partners in this initiative are Safaricom, a telecom company, the Commercial Bank of Africa and Faulu, a micro-finance company. The mobile phone functions like a bank account. The customer credits their account at their local air-time dealer and can then transfer the value to another person’s phone or use it to make a loan repayment or redeem it as cash. The system allows customers to pay for a wide range of goods and services without the need for cash. Anecdotal feedback suggests that M-PESA is being utilised for a wide variety of commercial transactions. Some examples include: n Paying field sales staff their
allowances and expenses – particularly to manage replenishments for long distance truck drivers. In one case, a truck driver needed money to buy some spare parts for the lorry which had broken down on the Ugandan border. He called his head office in Nairobi, which sent him $100 to cover the cost of spare parts and repairs. n Salary payments for casual
being used for convenience–a more efficient, lower cost and reliable way of transferring funds for regular payments. These include: n Customers using M-PESA for rent payments. n A customer in Meru (300 kms from Nairobi) used M-PESA to purchase specific drugs from a chemist shop in Nairobi and had them couriered to his home. There are also frequent instances where M-PESA is used in emergencies. For example:
workers. Safaricom itself uses M-PESA for payment to casual workers, who no longer need to travel to the head office in Nairobi to collect their payments. This form of transaction can also be used as a store of value for the purposes of personal safety and security. Some examples: n One customer traveling from Nairobi to Kisumu deposited money with M-PESA and withdrew it at his destination instead of carrying cash. This was to combat the insecurity and theft on public transport. n A taxi driver requests his customers pay by M-PESA as it is safer for him, since he does not want to carry cash around due to the risk of theft. There are examples of M-PESA
n A child fell ill while the father was in another town. He sent money to his wife via M-PESA so that the child could get medical care. n A customer working in Mombasa had a son who had been sent away to school in Kakamega [about 700Km away] and who needed to settle an outstanding fee balance. He sent the money to one of the teachers in the school who cashed the voucher and used the money to clear the balance. School fees are a regular example of M-PESA usage, with money being sent to relatives nearby. n A customer’s brother was arrested and they needed money to bail him out. He sent money to his wife so that she could go personally to pay the bail fee. Provision of health services: Phones for Health is a major
Make ICTs Work for People
The immediate core applications of m-Government are seen in provision of health and banking services. Possibly the greatest strides have been made in extending the reach of financial and banking services to the very poor.
Make ICTs Work for People
public-private partnership to use mobile phones to fight HIV/AIDS in 10 African countries. This USD10 million project aims to use the widespread and increasing mobile phone coverage in the developing world to strengthen health systems. Phones for Health will allow health workers in the field to use a standard Motorola handset equipped with a downloadable application to enter health data. Once entered, the data is transferred via a packet based mobile connection (GPRS) into a central database. If GPRS isn’t available, the software can use a SMS data channel to transmit the information. The data is then mapped and analyzed by the system, and is immediately available to health authorities at multiple levels via the web. The system also supports SMS alerting and other tools for communication with field staff. This project builds on the successful experience in Rwanda where a similar system has been used for the last two years to manage the country’s HIV/AIDS programme. This model can be extended to track TB, malaria and other diseases. In Coura, a district of Mali’s capital Bamako, it is now possible to monitor the health of local infants closely in real time with the launch of a new pilot project dubbed Pesinet. Initiated and funded by Alcatel-Lucent, Foundation Orange Mali, Afrique Initiatives, Medicament Export (Medex) and Kafo Yeredeme, the project aims to provide a preventative medical diagnostic service for infants between 0-5 years, based
on regular checks on the child’s weight gain. The service is based on weighing the children every week at home twice a week for children under a year by people who are specially trained. The main job for these local staff is to record the weights of infants via a Java application on their mobiles. This information is then sent via GPRS to a database used to help the paediatricians of Pesinet to quickly spot those infants that are at risk. Consistent monitoring of variations of weight is a basic medical service, but it is also an effective way of detecting a range of illnesses from malnutrition to malaria and it allows the doctor to intervene quickly. The ‘Pesinet ladies’ not only register the weight of the child but they also check for four other supplementary symptoms: fever, diarrhoea, coughing and vomiting. This information provides signals to the Pesinet paediatricians as to whether the infant is in good health or there is a case for immediate medical intervention. But the processes of the project are not simply limited to detection. The service also includes medical consultations and access to medicines. Access to medicines is the service of real value for the people. Conclusion : The convergence of mobile communication and mobile computing technologies opens up new horizons for mobile interaction and mobile working. Recent advancements in technology coupled with
new business models and services of the Internet have created new dimensions of interactivity, mobility and intelligence of web-based solutions. The use of mobile technology in the government sector not only provides an alternative channel of communication and public service delivery, but more importantly, it can transcend the traditional e-Government service delivery model by bringing personalized, localized and context aware services close to its mobile citizens. With the opportunities provided by mobile ICT, government should shift to a ‘service’ mindset and be aware of the potentials of mobile government to transform the government to be more agile, responsive, accountable, and action oriented.
NISG and i4d jointly hold the copyright to the articles printed in the ICTD section of the i4d magazine and website. For permission to reprint the articles please write to the Editor i4d.
Budgetary Allocation for e-Gov, India
PPP investments planned for CSCs CSCs have been envisioned under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) as change agents which are going to change the socio-economic fabric of rural India. According to the Annual Report 2006-07 of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has a annual plan budget of INR 1500 crore for the period 2007-08. Of the total amount of INR 1500 crore, INR 800 crore has been earmarked for Electronic Governance, which is almost 53 percent of the entire budget of the Department of Information Technology (DIT). Similarly, the figures for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are INR 300 crore (32.3 percent) and INR 440 crore (40.37 percent) respectively. This shows that e-Governance is the most prioritized area for intervention by the Government. Under the NeGP, the CSC scheme has been approved at a total cost of INR 5742 crore over 4 years. For the CSC scheme, the Government of India is estimated to contribute INR 856 crore, and the State Governments will contribute INR 793 crore. The balance resources (amounting to INR 4093 crore) would be mobilized from the private sector. Hence the CSCs scheme would be implemented in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Under the NeGP, the CSCs would be designed as ICTenabled kiosks having a PC along with basic support equipment such as printer, scanner, UPS, with wireless connectivity as the backbone and additional equipment for edutainment, telemedicine, projection systems, etc. The Government has approved a scheme for establishing State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) across the country in 29 states/ 6 UTs at a total outlay of INR 3334 crore with Central Assistance component of INR 2005 crore over August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
For the CSC scheme, the GOI is estimated to contribute INR 856 crore, and the State Governments will contribute INR 793 crore. Private Sector is expected to contribute INR 4093 crore. a period of 5 years, which is going to operationalize the CSCs. The Annual Plan 2007-08 of the Department of IT, reveals that of the INR 1500 crore, INR 238 crore (15.87 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 884.70 crore (58.98 percent) has been allocated for infrastructure development. The Annual Plan 2006-07 of the Department
of IT shows that of the INR 1090.00 crore, INR 218.50 crore (20.05 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 530.10 crore (48.63 percent) has been earmarked for infrastructure development. The Annual Plan 2005-06 shows that of the INR 929.30 crore, INR 192.00 crore (20.66 percent) has been allocated for R&D programmes and INR 424.50 crore (48.68 percent) has been earmarked for infrastructure development. Hence it can be seen over the years that infrastructure development had been the focus of the Department of IT. Proposals for 11 states have been sanctioned by the Empowered Committee at a total cost of INR 877.63 crore and the first installment of Government of India contribution of INR 109.71 crore has been released to these States. According to the Annual Report 2006-07, three states have floated the Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of Service Centre Agencies (SCAs) and the other States are in the process of finalizing the RFPs.ď€ź Shambhu Ghatak. email@example.com
Budgetary Support for various Schemes of the Department of Information Technology in various years (INR Crore) SCHEMES
Budgetary Support Budgetary Support Budgetary Sup2005-06 (a) 2006-07 (b) port 2007-08 (c)
I. R&D PROGRAMMES
II. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
Of which, Electronic Governance
III. HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT 43.00
Note: (a), (b) and (c ) are taken from Annual Reports 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 of the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. Source: www.mit.gov.in
RENDEZVOUS n 3 August 2007, New Delhi
Beyond the mainstream... There is no escaping the mass media. Whether its print, television, radio or the latest communication channel â€“ the Internet, mass media is ubquitious and represents the voice of the masses. In India, about 20 major media houses represent the voice of the a nation of over a billion. There is an assumption that in a free and democratic society, exemplified by the US, the media is free, unbiased and objective. However, the politik of media is endowed with some essential ingredients which falsify the notion of a free and open press. The most important of these are: the size, concentration of ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of mass media and advertising as a primary source of income. The freedom of expression underpins all other human rights. It is the means by which other human rights are defended and extended. In the Information Age the freedom of expression takes on additional importance, as the ability to send and receive information, regardless of frontiers, comes increasingly to dominate our economic, social and cultural life.
Cover Image: i4d Film Festival Guide
Community media? Community media is community owned and controlled, giving access to voices in the community and encouraging diversity, creativity and participation. Community media provides a vital counterbalance to the increasing globalisation and commercialisation of the media. Combining social enterprise, creative content production and skills for the digital economy, community media has a vital role in reaching out to people and communities at risk of exclusion and disadvantage. community-based radio, television and Internet projects work by enabling people to become media producers, to send as well as to receive, and, by working together, to reinforce knowledge, dialogue and cultural expression at the neighbourhood and community level. i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
Still from ‘Kutch Lok Ji Vani’
Journey beyond the mainstream
What happened beyond the mainstream?
Over the past ten years, CSDMS has hosted many international conferences and produced extensive content in the form of its four magazines. However the limitations of the spoken (language barriers) and written (literacy level) word usually excludes a vast majority of the affected community from the discussions. The representatives of many grassroots communities as well as government organisations would often bring along short films which communicated the issues of their community through the eyes of the community themselves. A lot of community generated content which focuses on the needs of the grassroots community is available in the form of videos. This content, however, is scattered. The i4d Film Festival, Beyond the Mainstream… was an attempt to bring together this community of filmmakers. The filmmakers are farmers, vegetable-sellers, slum dwellers, street children, and just everyday members of the community. Soon after our mega-event in Malaysia in the month of February 2007, we felt the need to expand our horizons into the visual medium in the form of videos. Many NGOs, nongovernmental, international, as well as governmental agencies were keen to bring their experiences to the forum in the form of short films. Thus, was born the concept of the i4d Film Festival. In the subsequent months we advertised extensively, calling for entries to this film festival. To our surprise and joy, most of the films submitted were relevant, exciting, conceptually innovative, and most importantly generated by the effected communities themselves. The film festival held on the 3rd of August 2007 brought together over 20 organisations. There was a sizable representation from various community groups who submitted films. It brought together experiences with community video from across the country.
The films were powerful, and articulated issues more cohesively than was possible in the written or spoken words. Most of the films were not in English, though subtitled. The themes were localised to the community which produced the film, yet, there was an overwhelming response leading to requests for the films to be screened not only across the country, but also in other countries such as Nepal and Malaysia. This was a proof of the fact that images communicate beyond language. Listed below are some of the many diverse issues potrayed at the festival. The film, ‘The Life Next Door’, was conceptualised by the young girls from Chetram Sharma Kanya Inter College based in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. While the underlying theme was the education system in India, it was portrayed creatively through a poor man and his struggle and aspirations and his views on the Indian School education system. It gave a voice to an economically disadvantaged group of young girls and their community. ‘Glue made me a Ghost’ was another example of the power of the visual medium. The film has been directed by Andrew Pope and Farhad Shadravan and written and performed by ex-street children, from Cambodia, most of whom were addicted to glue. The story is based on real life experiences of these and other children with long histories of using glue, whilst trying to earn money from scavenging and sleeping on the streets. All of these children are now reintegrated back into education and joined with their families. These children have friends that have been injured by traffic accidents while using glue and they wanted to educate their peers of the risks of drug use, as well as the negative future ahead for a glue sniffer on the streets. The film has simulated glue use and shows what this leads to: vagrancy, poverty, loneliness, crime, attacks from gangs and the huge risk to life and well-being. In Khmer culture, ghosts are very much believed in and feared.
August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
the post 2002 riots in Ahmedabad. There have been more than 25 screenings of this film in riot torn areas and it has reached out to more than 4000 people. One of the most appreciated films was ‘Kutch Lok ji Vani’ or ‘Voices of Kutch’. The film is directed by Chaitanya Modak, an independent film maker and produced by Drishti Media. Its an insightful film on the community radio movement in India using the context of an experiment in radio programming done with community participation by the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangatan’s community radio project-Radio Ujjas. Revolving around the story of a little girl and a radio she receives as a gift, the film’s argument is built through the radio programme she listens to and the shared experience of the practitioners and audiences of community radio broadcasting. The film discusses the set of universals that come into play when you want to get communities into media. The diversity of issues portrayed at the festival gave us a realistic and encouraging picture of how ‘community video’ is being utilised as a tool for empowerment amongst many communities around the world. The wide spectrum of topics was only possible because of the enormous contribution of the community itself.
Still from ‘Glue made me a Ghost’
The message is clear that glue can destroy your life in many ways. The children and M’Lop Tapang - Centre for Street Children have used this film to educate their peers, families and the whole community. The violation of human rights of the mentally ill in India is What next? appalling. Mental health patients are being systematically and While the film festival exceeded all expectations in its content and continuously ignored and denied the social rights they deserve. participation from various organisations, it is necessary to make Therefore, along with a change in mindset, there is a desperate sure that the efforts do not remain limited to an annual festival. need for reform in the treatment of the mentally ill in our country. Such content, and more, if available on a consolidated medium As stated before, the freedom of expression is the basic human such as a portal, will be beneficial for all communities. Each of right. The film ‘From Dusk to Dawn’ was an excellent example of the films screened at the festival was material, which would be how if properly motivated, the physically and mentally disabled useful and inspirational for an audience far beyond what can be communities can express their issues and points of view in a reached through events such as a film festival. There is a need to fashion that has a large impact on the wider community. The short documentary is an attempt to depict the real life stories of the unfortunate victims of mental illness whose difficulty remains invisible to the society. It is easy to identify the agony of a person suffering from physical disability as we can see his difficulty with our naked eyes. But a mentally ill person often appears perfectly normal & it becomes difficult for the society to understand where the pain lies when the person suffers from delusion, hallucination and other symptoms. So they generally segregate themselves from the mainstream of life and remain secluded within the four walls of their dark rooms. The characters have been played by the affected and therefore it was really a tough for them to enact their own difficulty that too in a foreign language – English. Another film which received a lot of accolades and has been requested for screening at other locations is ‘Aapno Samvad Ekta Par’ or ‘Our Dialogue on Harmony’. The film was produced by the Samvad Community Video unit, set up in partnership with SAATH in the urban slums of Ahmedabad as a part of the Community Media initiative of Video Volunteers and Drishti. The group comprises of 8 enthusiastic community producers who are using video for social change. The Still from ‘My Village Our Kingdom’ group has worked on issues such as livelihood, gender and public open up the community to the entire world. There is a need to infrastructure. The Gujarat riots of 2002 had a strong impact on focus on community generated content. The films described above the lives of the community producers. This film is their attempt are just the tip of an enormous metaphoric iceberg of content to build trust and show the true picture of their community in waiting to be discovered.
i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
Still from ‘Password: Women’
on development seems lacking. The development content are scattered and people often seem reluctant to post conent to general community space. In this context, a community multimedia space, specifically for catering to development issues can really be helpful. It can also promote collaboration between people all across in an effort to make the world a better place to live in. This community multimedia space can perhaps be also the catalyst to sensitise development communties working in the south to use multimedia content for development. CSDMS has already launched the beta version of the portal at the eINDIA2007 event held in New Delhi from 31st July to 3rd August. We hope to form partnerships with like minded organisations in the region such as Bellanet (www.bellanet.org) and SAP International(http://sapint.org) to bring together the community of communities and Community Media beyond the mainstream… For further information visit www.i4dtv.org
Still from ‘Abolombon’
Before and during the film festival we received a lot of requests Reported by Sulakshana Bhattacharya, firstname.lastname@example.org to make the films available to the development community. There was also a need felt, for an initiative Media byte which brings together this bigger community. The filmmakers were looking for a platform Communities on reel, festival rolls today to publicise their issues. This platform was i4d film festival aims to bring forth projects that are adapting existing conceptualised in the form of i4dtv.org. technologies to empower people at the grassroots Since the advent of the concept of Web Arjun Jassal, Indian Express Friday , August 03, 2007 2.0, we have seen a tremendous growth in social networking sites and community We have all heard of online communities, on orkut and facebook. But what spaces over the internet. Internet portals like happens when for the first time, technology comes to real life communities? This facebook, youtube, and ourmedia among many is the focus of the i4d film festival, which will be held at the India International others, have been able to sustain a remarkable Centre annexe on Friday. “The festival has films with two perspectives — community base. These sites not only act as documentaries on information communication technology projects such as a repository of content from the community telecentres and egovernance, and films developed by the community for the members but also allow people2people community,” explains Sulakshana Bhattacharya, coordinator of the festival. dialogues and discourses. However, a dedicated ........ community space for multimedia content
August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
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Bytes for All... News/Events Bangladesh wins the Equator Prize for outstanding community initiatives The Shidulai Swarnivar Sangstha of Bangladesh wins the Equator Prize in recognition of outstanding community efforts for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation. The Shidulai Swarnivar Sangstha uses riverboat-based educational resource centres throughout Bangladesh’s Ganges river delta to deliver information on sustainable agricultural practices and current market prices. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10557
Central Asia, Afghanistan discuss open source software Software developers, academics, development groups and decision makers from Central Asia and Afghanistan met in the Tajik capital Dushanbe to see how the Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) could be of help to the region. The July 6-7 meet focussed on developing national strategies on FLOSS in Central Asia. It was organised by UNESCO along with the Global Internet Policy Initiative, Tajikistan, and the Open Society Institute, Tajikistan. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10606
US immigration laws prompt Microsoft to set up shop in Canada Microsoft Corp. plans to open a software development centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, later this year, partly as a way to recruit and retain talented workers who can’t get into or stay in the U.S. because of immigration laws. The software vendor announced the plans Thursday, saying that the new Microsoft Canada Development Centre will open this fall and be staffed by developers ‘from around the world.’ Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10608
Caste Away India’s high-tech revolution helps ‘Untouchables’ rise writes Paul Beckett. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10568
Rural communication divides in Nepal This year Nepal Telecom as well as other telecommunication services along with media houses provided the SLC (School Leaving Certificate) examination results through SMS and website. It was made available via websites of the ministry of education and department of education ( www.moe.gov.np, www.doe.gov.np) and other media houses like www.ekantipur.com among others. Source: http://voiceofsouth.org/2007/07/11/communication_divides/
Will China best Indian outsourcing? soon? Some may doubt China’s ability to match India as an outsourcing destination for services, but Conrad Chang is not one of them. The
Sydney-based research manager in business process outsourcing for International Data Corp. recently finished a report comparing the top cities in Asia for outsourcing information technology services. His conclusions: While Indian cities are tops now, by 2011 they’ll be matched or even bested by cities in China. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10629
India agrees to vacate 42.5 Mhz spectrum Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, India, A. Raja announced that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) sanctioned INR 1,600 crore for laying an optical fibre alternative network for the Defence forces so that they would be able to vacate 42.5 Mhz spectrum, including the 3G spectrum by September. Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Raja said as soon as the spectrum was vacated, the DoT would be fully utilising its unspent funds to the tune of INR 30,000 crore for rural telephony and broadband services within a stipulated period. Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/07/15/stories/2007071555061000.htm
Microsoft’s recognition goes to Luna Shamsuddoha Dhaka based software developer Dohatec drew the attention of software giant Microsoft for its outstanding contribution in the hitech domain. The developer was the first company, which earned valuable remarks in the opening session of Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference by Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft on July 10, 2007. This was the largest conference of world class software companies with 12,000 professional participants from across the world. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10653
International long distance telecom services policy 2007 approved in Bangladesh The caretaker government decided to introduce International Long Distance Telecommunications Services instead of VoIP for optimum utilisation of the capacity of the submarine cable for accelerating economic activities in the country. Use of VoIP will get legal coverage under the new policy. Source: http://bangladeshictpolicy.bytesforall.net/?q=node/329
Bangladesh to join Wikimania 2007 Bangladesh, for the first time, will join the world conference of Wikipedia – Wikimania 2007, beginning from 3rd August. Belayet Hossain, an administrator of Bangla Wikipedia, will represent Bangladesh in the Wikimania 2007 to be held in Taipei, Taiwan. Source: http://bangladeshictpolicy.bytesforall.net/?q=node/330
Intel to roll out portable PCs in Indian schools Global chipmaker Intel Corp is all set to roll out its Classmate PC, a portable mini-notebook, in Indian schools from August to digitally enhance the existing teaching format. The Indian subsidiary of the $39-billion silicon firm has tied up with HCL i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
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Bytes for All... Infosystems to hard sell the novel educational tool in thousands of schools across India for empowering students and teachers with computer literacy. Source: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10673
Forum. The Forum is a key feature of the 3rd Global Knowledge Conference (GK3), a GKP Event on the Future on ‘Emerging People, Emerging Markets, Emerging Technologies’ that will gather 2000 participants from 11-13 December 2007 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia. Source: http://www.globalknowledge.org/ysef07/index.cfm?menuid=6
11th UNESCO-APEID International Conference “Rei n ve n t i n g Hi g h e r Ed u c a t i o n : Tow a rd Pa r t i c i p a tory and Sustainable Development”: Call for papers The Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID), UNESCO Bangkok, is convening the 11th UNESCO-APEID International Conference to explore the linkages among higher education, participatory development and sustainable development. This will bring the dialogue to a sector less commonly associated with participatory development by highlighting the role of universities and other higher education institutions in re-balancing social inequalities and in formulating sustainable solutions with, and for, people so that they can have equal access to the benefits of a globalising worl. Source: http://www.unescobkk.org/education/apeid/conference
International Human Rights Internship Programme/ Professional Development/Exchange Project Grants 2007-2008 The International Human Rights Internship Programme’s (IHRIP) makes grants available to human rights organisations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, East and Central Europe and CIS countries to enable their staff to undertake professional development exchange projects. Deadlines for applications: August 31, 2007 & December 31, 2007. A grant covers the travel of the staff member or trainer as well as a basic living stipend and health insurance for the staff member (or trainer). Grants vary depending on the location and length of the project, and typically range from $1,000-10,000. Source: http://www.iie.org/ihrip
Call for feedback on a MIT PhD Thesis This work critiques telecentres and other traditional approaches to technology-supported social development and proposes a framework for the design and analysis of initiatives that are more inclusive and democratic. On the technical side, I ended up implementing an open-source, neighbourhood news system that combines the power of the telephone and the web to help young people become more actively engaged with their local communities. Source: http://www.media.mit.edu/~leob/thesis/
Fellowships to attend Young Social Entrepreneurs’ Forum at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) launched the Global Young Social Entrepreneurs’ Competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Global Competition will select 100 winners who will be sponsored to attend the upcoming Young Social Entrepreneurs August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
Civil Society Participant Programme (CSPP) The Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) invites applications from the global South to fill two places in its Civil Society Practitioners Programme. This visitor programme is intended for Civil Society Practitioners of distinction or outstanding promise who wish to visit the Institute google.com for a period of six weeks between February and December 2008, to undertake research concerning the social impact of the Internet and related ICTs. Visitors are expected to reside in Oxford during their stay, and to participate fully in the intellectual life of the Institute. The successful applicants will receive: * A subsistence allowance of 3800 GBP (7500 USD) to cover research expenses and living costs during their stay in Oxford. ** A travel grant of up to 1000 GBP (2000 USD) for travel to and from the UK. Source: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/cspp
Projects/Resources Community radio - social umpact assessment The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC conducted in a 2006 a long-range worldwide participatory action research seeking to identify the barriers that limit the potential positive impact of community radio and explore ways to increase the effectiveness of community radio in achieving poverty reduction, development objectives, inclusiveness and democracy building in local communities. Source: http://evaluation.amarc.org
Online Bangla localisation server To spread the Bangla localisation process broadly, Ankur, an Internet based voluntary organisation, has installed an Open Sourced localisation server, Pootle. By using this software, interested people can localise Open Source software in Bangla from anywhere in the globe. One needs Internet connection only for this. Source: http://www.ankur.org.bd:8080/
Bytes for All: www.bytesforall.org or www.bytesforall.net Bytes for All Readers Discussion: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ bytesforall_readers To subscribe: email@example.com Bytes for All Discussion summary compiled by: Miraj Khaled, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bangladesh/Canada
More is unexplored... Globalisation, ICT and Developing Nations – Challenges in the Information Age Author: Sumit Roy Published By: Sage Publications, New Delhi Page: 245 ISBN: 81-7829-487-7 This book starts with a much familiar assertion about Globalisation, that it “encapsulates a vision of shared universal values, goals and measures to advance society”. Although this might not be an acceptable definition considering that the author goes on to reflect that Globalisation can mean different things at different places and also that the gains from it can be extremely polarised. The introductory chapter tries succinctly to introduce the debates surrounding globalisation. One wishes that these debates were dealt with in a more detailed fashion, especially before setting the challenge as “creating opportunities to reorganise economies, especially developing ones, and confronting concerns beyond those of the nation state, encompassing wider international ones guided by state and non-state forces”. The author even though is amenable to bring the debate to the table is eventually in favour of the theory of balanced globalisation provided that state policies play a critical role. A binary seems to emerge which pitches on one side the possibility of Globalisation bring material advancement stability to the world, and the historical and political circumstances impeding this dream. This is representative again of a certain kind of idea which postulates the fading of state authority in the modern world. In fact one would like this very point to be debated further especially in the context of the inefficacy of transnational mechanisms of trade, banking, and interventions of all sorts. Although the non-state actors are critiqued on many fronts, the focus is on developing co-operation between all the actors – the state, the transnational organisations, and NGOs. There is a repeated assertion in the book about h o w Globalisation becoming a romantic vision, because of new forms of conflict, ‘especially within nations often fuelled by poverty and cultural insecurity’. This is also not very clear a point of view. Does the author see an evangelist light in Globalisation as divorced from national interests, especially as espoused by powerful countries like the US. Also there is no mention of military consolidation of the nation state vis-a-vis notions of falling state sovereignty.
Again while discussing multinationals much is left desired. How exactly do multinationals shape policy, and the debate around the notion of privatisation bringing worldwide prosperity, are not delved into as they deserve. Although the author uses the word ‘neo-liberal’ policies, one would expect a detailed report on the ways in which neo-liberalism works. One hopes that the author has discussed globalisation in more particular ways, like the notion of privatisation of public services, private ownership of resources. The author also does not delve into parametres of development. How should development be measured? And what is the meaning of something as loose as ‘economic development’? Although many a times the author is careful to suggest the checking of over-zealous market based reforms, this again is no substantiated critique of such ideologies. The orthodoxy of neo-classical economic is left un-challenged in most part by the author, or at most have attracted an unsubstantiated doubt. The third chapter of the book is the longest one and claims half of the space in the book. The chapter is titled, ‘Globalisation, Information and Communications Technology and Development’. This is an analyses mostly of the Indian scenario. The author has looked at the employment potential of ICTs mostly in a favourable light taking into account the fact that the rate of generation of employment is nowhere close to the rate of increase in revenue. This points to the need to deepen the labour market by training and skill up-gradation. Here again one wishes the author had dedicated space in enumerating the ways in which the benefits of employment generated are equally shared. This has bearings on state policy, and how it manages the spread of technical education and even competencies in English. Finally the book is a fair introduction in trying to look at linkages between globalisation and ICTs, and the prospects for developing nations, although more sophisticated studies are required, especially ones focussing on privatisation as an ideology, disparities in resource consumption levels, and modern forms of violence, and suffering.n Prashant Gupta, email@example.com i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
What’s on Africa
8-11 October, 2007 Cards Africa 2007 Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
20-23 October, 2007 37th (2007) International Conference on Computers and Industrial Engineering - CIE37
24-26 September, 2007 5th Annual CTO Forum: Harnessing the Potential of NGNs to Facilitate ICT Convergence Montego Bay, Jamaica
18-20 September, 2007 Wimax Global Forum, Hilton Düsseldorf http://www.wimax-vision.com/newt/l/wimaxvision/ world_forum
15-16 November, 2007 KPO Australia 2007 Hilton Hotel, Sydney
8-11 October, 2007 Broadband World Forum Europe 2007 Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin
10-11 March 2008 Somerset Conference for Librarians, Teachers, et. al. Queensland
22-25 October, 2007 WiMax Summit Australia 2007 Sydney Harbour Marriott, Sydney http://www.terrapinn.com/2007/wimax%5Fau/
Bulgaria 3-6 December, 2007 ITU TELECOM EUROPE Sofia http://www.itu.int/EUROPE2007/index.html
China 11-13 September, 2007 Asia Mobile TV Congress 2007 Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong http://www.terrapinn.com/2007/mobiletvhk/
17-19 December, 2007 3rd Indian International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IICAI) Pune http://www.iiconference.org/
15-17 November, 2007 Seventh Global Conference on Flexible Systems Management NOIDA Uttar Pradesh http://www.giftsociety.org
Indonesia 11-13 September, 2007 Indo ICT Expo and Forum Jakarta Convention Centre http://indoict.com/
Malaysia 27-28 November, 2007 Digital Asia e-Gov Summit (DAEG07) Kuala Lumpur
11-13 December, 2007 3rd Global Knowledge Conference Kuala Lumpur http://www.gkpeventsonthefuture.org/gk3/
11-13 December, 2007 ICET 2007 Kuala Lumpur http://www.icet.unikl.edu.my/
Portgual 3-6 December, 2007 E-ALT’07 E-Activity and Leading Technologies Porto http://www.iask-web.org/e-alt07/e-alt2007.html
7-9 December, 2007 Iadis International Conference e-Commerce 2007 Algarve http://www.ecommerce-conf.org/
Singapore 14-17 April, 2008 Biomedical Asia 2008 Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre http://www.terrapinn.com/2008/biomedasia/
25-27 April, 2008 Mobile Content World Asia 2008 Suntec International Exhibition & Convention Centre http://www.terrapinn.com/2008/mcw08%5Fsg/
United Kingdom 10-11 September, 2007 iPED Conference 2007: Researching Academic Futures Coventry, England http://www.corporate.coventry.ac.uk/cms/jsp/polopoly. jsp?d=3182&a=18618
20 December, 2007 Learning and Teaching Conference 2007: ‘Managed Learning in the World of Web 2.0 Manchester, UK http://www.business.mmu.ac.uk/landt/
14-17 January, 2008 e-Learning Excellence in the Middle East 2008: Define. Design. Deliver United Arab Emirates
27-29 November, 2007 International Conference on Engineering & ICT Malacca
24-26 October, 2008 The University of Atlanta’s First International Symposium on Online Teaching and Learning, Georgia
August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8 | www.i4donline.net
May-06 Oct-05 Dec-05 Jan-06
May-06 Feb-04 Mar-05 May-05
Jan-06 Feb-05 Mar-05 May-05
Feb-07 Jan-05 Mar-05 May-05
May-06 Aug-05 Dec-05 Jan-06
Jammu & Kashmir#
Andaman & Nicobar$
Dadar & Nagar
Daman & Diu
*The SWAN under the National e-Governance Plan will extend data connectivity of 2 Mega bits per second upto the block level in all states and UTs in India.
i4d | August 2007 | Vol. V No. 8
Apr-06 Mar-06 Mar-06
Mar-06 Feb-05 Sep-05 Nov-05 Dec-05
Note: SWAN--State Wide Area Network; Source: www.mit.gov.in
# NIC Option
$ Not inclined for SWAN
Nov-05 Oct-04 Mar-05 May-05
Oct-04 Mar-05 May-05
Oct-04 Mar-05 May-05
Aug-05 Aug-04 Mar-06
Nov-06 Aug-05 Dec-05 Jan-06
Nov-04 Oct-04 Mar-05 May-05
Oct-04 Mar-05 May-05
Dis cu ss i o nI nit iat S t ion a te C o Ap nsul po t int ant ed Pr op os a l Su bm itt ed Pr op os a l Ap p ro ve F u d nd sR (Fi elea rst s Ins ed t.) Sit e I de nti fic ati Dis on cu s wi sion th In B /w itia Op tion er ato RF P r S u b m DIT itted ,G t oI o RF P R e v ie DIT wed ,G b oI y
Timelines as per Project Plan Template
Name of the State
Eqp. Procurement Initiated
Eqp. Procurement Initiated
Eqp. Procurement Initiated
Eqp. Procurement Initiated
RF PI ssu ed C Ba ontr a nd wi ct w d t h O ith pe rat Sit or es P r ep a ra tio S W n AN O Sh per o at rt lis or Co ted ntr ac t w Op ith S er ato WAN Eq r pm t. I Co nsta mm lla en tion ce d SH Q F un cti on al
Report No. 07-07-2
* Goa Broadband
* AP Broadband
Ov er Pr all o og r f the ess Pr oje ct Dates in italics indicate expected project completion date as per the Project plan template
Implementation Model yet to be decided
Project To Be Initiated
Project On Schedule
Project Behind Schedule
Action Required - State
Action Required - DIT/SPMC
Work In Progress
Activity Update Punjab: Financial Bid evaluation in progress Assam : Technical bid evaluation in progress Bihar: Financial Bid opened
SWAN Program Management Consultant - PwC
10 0% Fu PoP nc tio s na l
s F un cti on al
SWAN PROGRAM STATUS REPORT AS ON July 31, 2007
A glimpse into SWAN*
31 July - 03 August 2007, New Delhi
egov India 2007 conference session in progress
Digital LEARNING India 2007 conference session in progress
Telecentre Forum India 2007 conference session in progress
Community Radio India 2007 conference session in progress
eHealth India 2007 conference session in progress
eAgriculture India 2007 conference session in progress
mserve India 2007 conference session in progress
i4d Film Festival India 2007 conference session in progress
Mapping Telecentres in India 135 CICs i-COSC JanMitra Kiosks Himbhoomi Pehal
Chandigarh: Jan Sampark Centres Sukhmani Common Citizen Service Centres Jagriti e-Sewa Tarahaat Centres
90 e-Choupal Centres Jaikisan: Kisan Suchna Kendras 9 Drishtee Centres
870 e-Choupal Centres
35 Drishtee Centres
242 n-Logue Centres Gyan Darshan e-Seva Mahiti Shakti
167 Drishtee Centres Comat telecentres e-Disha Ekal Seva Kendra 100 e-Choupal Centres
CICs CICs 650 Drishtee Centres 219 CICs ASHA CMC, UNESCO Tathya Mitra 10 Drishtee Centres
11 Drishtee Centres 2001 e-Choupal Centres Gyandoot Tarahaat Centres 242 n-Logue Centres Sarita 1000 e-Choupal Centres 5 Drishtee Centres
20 Drishtee Centres
Baatchit Centres 17 Drishtee Centres Suchna Mitra Kendra
1990 e-Choupal Centres e-Seva Nagrik Soochna Kendra 665 Drishtee Centres Lokvani
170 e-Choupal Centres 200 e-Sewa Centres Ashwini Kuppam i-Community 242 n-Logue Centres Nemandi Bhoomi Kiosks Nammadhwani CMC Bangalore One 174 e-Choupal Centres VoGRAM
1500 Akshaya Centres CFSCs 11 e-Choupals 14 Friends Centres Kissan Kerala
Vidya Vahinis - 71 CICs
1274 n-Logue Centres MSSRF VKC 65 Drishtee Centres RASI Maiyams
Disclaimer: 1. The telecentre initiatives in the map shown above indicative of a few initiatives. Readers are invited to bring to the notice of i4d team about other initiatives not mentioned here. 2. This is not an official map of India
Published on Mar 11, 2010
Published on Mar 11, 2010
i4d encompasses the role and relevance of ICT in various development sectors such as Rural Development, Gender, Governance, Micro-finance, E...