Governance and Right To Information

Governance in INDIA

Archive for August, 2006

Accountability is as vital as autonomy: NAAC

Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

Accountability is as vital as autonomy: NAAC

Staff Reporter

http://www.hindu.com/2006/08/30/stories/2006083020640300.htm

Seminar on governance and quality management in higher education

 

 


  • “Educational cess Centre collects could be used to restructure education system”
  • Strengthening primary education system to enable higher education institutions to receive quality input called for

     

    Chennai : Accountability of educational institutions in delivering quality service is as important as autonomy, said V. S. Prasad, Director of National Assessment and Accreditation Council, here on Friday.

    A system of governance that allows both autonomy and accountability to co-exist is needed, Mr. Prasad said at the inauguration of a seminar on governance and quality management in higher education.

    The academic said that governance in universities got translated into interfaces with three stakeholders: Government, Market and Civil Society. Managing these influences in the right way was crucial for democratic and efficient delivery of education, he said.

    The University of Madras efforts to ensure accountability would be showcased as best practices for universities across the country, the NAAC Director said. Madras University Vice-Chancellor S. P. Thyagarajan said that delivery of quality education was possible only through quality teachers. The availability of information and communication technology should be used to improve teaching methods.

    Phasing out affiliation

    V. C. Kulandaiswamy, veteran educationist and former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, called for phasing out the system of affiliating colleges, as their academic administration was a burden to universities. Good colleges could be upgraded into autonomous institutions.

    “In case colleges do not qualify to be autonomous or deemed universities by 2015, a five-year scheme must be prepared to transform them into junior colleges offering job-oriented diploma programmes after Plus-Two. The affiliating system must cease to exist after 2020,” Mr. Kulandaiswamy said. “Education should be transferred from college compounds to university campuses.” The country might require 2,000 university-level institutions by 2020, he said.

    The educationist also stressed the need for research on university campuses, as they have a constant flow of young minds, who can come up with new ideas.

    Support for research

    K. Aludiapillai, former Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, said that the 150th year celebration would be a good occasion to institute `Presidential scholarships’. Selected scholars should be given substantial fellowships to pursue research. He urged the University of Madras to persuade the University Grants Commission to help with the funding for such fellowships.

    “The educational cess that the Centre collects could be used to restructure the entire education system. Political will and academic support are needed for this,” he said.

    The valedictory session of the seminar was held on Saturday.

    V. Ponraj, Director of Technology Interface, President’s Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, spoke on the convergence of technical fields. “Biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology are converging to bring new products such as biosensor chips,” Mr. Ponraj said. Nanotechnology, particularly, would create millions of jobs in the next 10 years, he predicted. He also called for strengthening the primary education system so that higher education institutions would receive quality input.

    Madras University Registrar Anne Mary Fernandez said that quality in today’s context came to represent customer satisfaction. While parents are willing to pay for popular courses, government support is required to encourage basic sciences’ students who are important to improve the social capital of a nation.

    Participants from affiliated colleges and autonomous institutions participated in the two-day seminar sponsored by NAAC and held at Madras University.

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    Posted in Governance | 4 Comments »

    A wire-free campus

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    A wire-free campus

    http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20060828/casestudies01.shtml

    Wi-Fi is making rapid strides in the educational segment. SHRIMCA has recently unwired its campus by providing wireless connectivity to its students and faculty, says Abhinav Singh.

    Shrimad Rajchandra Institute of Management and Computer Application (SHRIMCA), Bardoli, Gujarat, has finally realised its dream—to provide its students and faculty with the best possible IT infrastructure and Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. The entire campus is now wireless and offering all-round Wi-Fi Internet access to students. Earlier, the wired connectivity was on D-Link fibre, and now the wireless connectivity is provided using D-Link’s Access Points (APs) and omni-directional antennas.

    The need for Wi-Fi

    The institute has provided
    30 wireless-enabled notebooks
    from HCL to the faculty members. The notebooks are extensively used by these members while giving
    lectures in the classrooms

    SHRIMCA wanted to provide its faculty and students with wireless Internet access across the campus. Besides, many NRIs who had given donations to the institute wanted it to be a Wi-Fi zone. These NRIs regularly frequent the campus with their Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks. Bankim Patel, Director, SHRIMCA says, “The institute has provided 30 wireless-enabled notebooks from HCL to the faculty members. The notebooks are extensively used by these members while giving lectures in the classrooms.” Many students are in the process of buying Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks for research activities and also to access the Internet. Besides this it had been the endeavour of the institute to provide the best of the technology to its students. The importance of information-sharing, convenience of information processing and need for mobility meant users could not be tied-down to their desktops hence a Wi-Fi network was crucial for the institute.

    Geo Integrators, a Surat-based organisation, carried out the entire implementation while the infrastructure was developed using D-link devices. Vinod Bhateja, Technical Support, Head, Geo Integrators explains, “It is a tedious process to lay wired cables inside a building or a campus. Moreover it was not possible to provide Internet connectivity in every nook and corner of the campus especially near the garden and the lawns using the wired network.”

    SHRIMCA also holds seminars and conferences regularly which are attended by delegates using Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks. It was not possible to provide the delegates with physical nodes at a short notice with the wired network.

    However, a sustained effort by Patel made the Wi-Fi connectivity a reality. Patel elaborates, “Since we had been using D-Link products for our wired network and were quite satisfied with the performance and support it provided, we decided to go ahead with these products for the Wi-Fi connectivity as well.” A complete solution using the D-Link Layer 3 switches and DWL 2100 Access Points are used in all buildings of SHRIMCA. These are connected with a single mode fibre and total of 20 APs and 45 wireless LAN cards which are installed to provide a comprehensive Wi-Fi infrastructure. A 1 Mbps dedicated microwave link has been set up with dedicated routers.

    Gauging capacity

    Many of our students are working on consultancy projects and it is important for them to stay connected from anywhere in the campus. Earlier, there were many places where there was no wired Internet connectivity even at the desktop level. Now even the desktops are Wi-Fi-enabled and can be connected to access the Internet

    The entire Wi-Fi network was completed in just 20 days. But prior to the rollout a thorough survey was conducted which enabled the implementers to place APs and check whether they were giving appropriate coverage in a particular area in the campus. The implementation began in November 2005 and the Wi-Fi network went live in December 2005. Bhateja says, “We tested the placement of APs and before actually installing them gauged their coverage capacity in an area. Based on our findings we placed the APs across the campus. We also wanted to ensure that the beauty and aesthetics of the campus were not disturbed when the APs were installed and minimum cables were placed while connecting them.” The APs are protected by fibre boxes and have an in-built antenna and the box protects them from water.

    Two units of Radio Frequency-enabled omni-directional antennas from D-Link, one on the terrace and the other at the entrance of the campus have been deployed. These antennas are connected to the APs, which in turn are connected to the central server. These antennas have been placed to give the best coverage across the campus. Four buildings and different classrooms on the campus have been connected by the Wi-Fi network. The APs across the campus are connected to the existing LAN infrastructure, which is based on a fibre optic cable that runs all over the area. The cable connects all the buildings to the central core switch, which is connected to a server.

    Wi-Fi everywhere

    Wireless connectivity is now available to anybody having a notebook with a wireless card. SHRIMCA provides Wi-Fi connectivity free-of-cost to its students, faculty and visitors. On any given day, an average of 200 students and faculty members are connected to the Wi-Fi network. Now visitors can access Internet connectivity without any hassle. Patel adds, “Many of our students are working on consultancy projects and it is important for them to stay connected from anywhere in the campus. Earlier, there were many places where there was no wired Internet connectivity even at the desktop level. Now even the desktops are Wi-Fi-enabled and can be connected to access the Internet.” Students mainly access the Student Information System, upload information and prepare presentations using Wi-Fi. There is a new hostel and residential area coming up in the campus, which will also be Wi-FI-enabled gradually.

    Snapshots of the Implementation

    The institute Shrimad Rajchandra College of Management and Computer Application (SHRIMCA), Bardoli, Gujarat
     

    Posted in Governance | 2 Comments »

    Hardware that does it all

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    Hardware that does it all

    http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20060828/hardware01.shtml

    Chirasrota Jena finds that networking hardware that’s ‘smarter’ and offers a richer set of functions at lower prices is where the sweet spot is.

    Over the years the role of the network has evolved. Initially, networks provided basic connectivity among users, bandwidth and access to applications that supported business processes, and the intelligence existed outside the network. However, today’s networks are expected to offer increased and diverse functionality as organisations face the demand for increasing the scalability of the infrastructure, the need to integrate new complex technologies and support new business applications, the challenge of new and daily threats from crackers and viruses, and the escalating cost of systems integration. They need to find ways to increase the agility needed to respond to and capitalise on market changes while simultaneously decreasing costs.

    Indian companies have crossed the first wave of IT and technology adoption, and are looking at other advanced technologies for greater operational efficiencies, higher profitability and a faster growth rate. The networking hardware market continues to gain further traction in this context. According to Rajat Sharma, Industry Analyst, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan, “Across both large enterprises and SMBs, investment in networking and communication hardware continues to increase. Overall, the market is expected to grow between 32 to 35 percent till 2008-09, with segments like WLAN growing at over 50 percent. The total Indian networking market is estimated to be Rs 5,100 crore for 2005-06.”

    The market is expected to grow between 32 to 35 percent till 2008-09, with segments like WLAN growing at over 50 percent. The total Indian networking market is estimated to be Rs 5,100 crore for 2005-06

    There is a significant trend of migration from low-range wired routers to wireless access routers, principally due to the huge price drops in the latter category. As the broadband subscriber base grows, service providers will be offering new services. Wireless Internet access at home will be one such value-added service. Informs Parijat Chakraborty, General Manager, Research, IDC India, “The total LAN hardware market for 2005 was around $524 million, with switches constituting around $298 million and routers $226 million. The complete LAN hardware market grew by 28 percent— switches grew by 19 percent and routers 43 percent [all figures are for y-o-y growth]. Also, the Wireless LAN (WLAN) hardware market touched $21 million in 2005, growing by 133 percent to do that. Telcos spending on Metro Ethernet projects is one interesting trend that will contribute to the networking hardware market. Tata, Bharti, BSNL, MTNL and Reliance are working with vendors like Cisco, Extreme, Foundry, DAX, Allied Telesyn and Netgear for these projects.” This will drive the demand for both core and edge switches, apart from customer premise equipment (CPE) devices.

    Mobility, security and performance

    Performance is the key as far as routing on the corporate backbone is concerned. But in addition to this, the latest routers also have the capability to keep the packets moving while integrating features ranging from VoIP (Voice over IP) to content processing. As far as routers for the enterprise space are concerned, today users want to handle huge amounts of data traffic, and they also need the flexibility of content processing, VPNs, firewalls, load balancing, VLANs, etc. Keeping this in mind, vendors like Cisco and Nortel are rolling out products that offer a range of functions at a competitive price. The idea is to replace a wide range of network devices with these do-it-all boxes.

    Security is paramount in today’s wireless networks, and the access points available in the market deliver advanced authentication and encryption. Opines Jimmy Goh, Vice-president of Marketing, SMC Networks Asia Pacific, “In the enterprise environment, security, range and flexibility are notable concerns, and these wireless access points have it all.” Often IT staff think that deploying a UTM appliance will solve their security problems in one go. They fail to realise that the throughput of many UTMs drops significantly below 1 Mbps with layer 7 protection activated. It can therefore be a bottleneck in cases where throughput is all-important. Remarks Milind Kamat, Principal Representative, India, ZyXEL Communications, “It makes perfect sense for the corporate with restricted resources to employ all-in-one security appliances. With the ZyWALL UTM series from ZyXEL, security features can be set up at once. T his relieves users from complicated installation, and MIS staff from the need to manage diverse devices.”

    According to Ranajoy Punja, VP, Marketing, Cisco Systems India & SAARC, “Routers have matured to become intelligent network devices. Routers in the future will have the capability to integrate features such as content processing, VPNs, firewalls and load balancing. Wireless capabilities will be popular, replacing the need for separate wireless access points for small office networks. For example, Cisco’s range of Integrated Services Routers offer secure concurrent services, including secure IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN capability services. Meanwhile, switches are packing more punch with greater processing speed.” Products with security-centric features are being introduced. In the process, routers have become UTMs in all but name, and even Layer 3 switches have many advanced traffic-filtering features.

    As enterprises focus on the mobility market, hardware players are trying their best to provide offerings for this segment. States Nagendra Venkaswamy, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Juniper Networks, “Our focus for the last three years was on building up the network. Now we want to improve its performance and accelerate networking activities. We want to provide quality of service to end-customers through a secure network. Our focus is also on mobility, remote access and secure access to the network.”

    Reaching out

    We expect to see convergence, the wireless boom and broadband all taking the networking hardware market upwards

    The network touches everything from end-users to middleware, services, applications and servers. Adding intelligence to the network will enable applications and services to operate more effectively. Says Tushar Sighat, VP, Channel Business, D-Link India, “The biggest challenge before us is to reach each and every corner of the country, and to make the technology popular. We have a presence in 16 cities and want to widen our reach.”

    Nortel India has provided total call-centre solutions and data networking equipment to a broad range of Indian enterprise customers across multiple vertical markets and diverse geographical areas. Notes Dhananjay Ganjoo, Director, Enterprise, Sales and Channels, Nortel India, “To deliver the products and the price points demanded by Indian customers are the biggest challenges before us. We are internally working on shortening the delivery time to meet the project deadline. The wide geographical area which is typical in India is also a challenge for us.”

    There is great demand for professionals with the right skills. Most companies are facing problems with regard to getting hold of qualified professionals. Cisco is fuelling the market with qualified networking professionals through its NetAcad, formerly the CNAP (Cisco Network Academy Program) initiative in India.

    Telecom in the driver’s seat

    Telecom is the biggest buyer of networking equipment. Banking, financial services, insurance, government and BPO have emerged as other key adopters. Internet access devices such as IPDSLAM, VDSL, ADSL CPE, FTTX Internet Security and wireless switches are all areas where consumption is rising. Apart from these, the growing cell-phone market is also a booster for hardware manufacturers. Punja says that “the SMB market also holds enormous potential, and the focus now is to create greater awareness about the business benefits that networking can provide. Cisco has recently introduced its NOW (Network on Wheels) campaign aimed at showing the latest networking solutions to customers in Tier-B & C cities in India.”

    Banks rolling out branches and setting up contact centres has added fuel to the market. Sighat opines, “Some of the verticals where we are focussing our energies are telecom (ISPs in particular), manufacturing, banking and education. We have also started focussing on SMBs and home/SOHO. Because different verticals have different requirements, we have started providing on the basis of their requirements.”

    Ganjoo informs us that “Nortel has divided key verticals under five heads. We address verticals like government and defence, IT and BPO, finance and SMBs. Nortel is poised to serve its customers better and consolidate its leadership in the enterprise networking space. Since there is much hoopla about the convergence of technologies around the globe, we are focussing more on Unified Communications, which will take care of all kinds of convergence. Nortel is also eyeing the growing mobility market.” In the spotlight are a more positive capex environment driven by network convergence, broadband network transformation, a broadening base of private IP-VPN offerings, and the retail market boom (which calls for huge investments in infrastructure projects).

    For the customer

    To get closer to the customer and align Cisco’s products and solutions to address their pain-points, Cisco verticalised its business a year and a half ago. Punja speaks about it in detail: “This realignment has shown us rich dividends as the focussed teams have been able to create customised solutions, thus enabling a true partnership model. From a product point of view Cisco’s focus has been to offer products and services that help enterprises future-proof their investment and thus generate greater ROI. The fact that Cisco offers a complete range of networking solutions to cater to each segment of the market is a demonstration of our commitment to our customers in India. We are also working to strengthen our value proposition by offering flexible leasing and financial services to customers and channel partners in India through our leasing arm called Cisco Capital. Meanwhile, Cisco Customer Services will offer service expertise in network design and implementation, as well as technical support and professional services to help customers maintain and optimise technology operations.”

    At ZyXEL they are planning to promote their brand in the Indian market in the years to come. Kamat informs, “Our strategy for the Indian market is clear. To enter the market with the best of products, create awareness and educate the target audience through a host of activities, appoint channel partners with the appropriate skill-sets, and support them well enough in every manner. Finally, we want to invest in local operations with ZyXEL India.”

    On its part, Nortel has enhanced its R&D thrust in India. In recent times all major Nortel Technology Labs around the world have assigned part of their development activity to India. Reveals Ganjoo: “The acquisition of Tasman Networks Nortel Technology Excellence Centre (formerly Tasman Networks) has also strengthened Nortel’s R&D efforts in India. The focus of the Nortel Technology Excellence Centre (NTEC) is on advanced routers, Ethernet switching, security and VoIP for the enterprise market. The NTEC initiative is yet another example of how Nortel is integrating itself with the local Indian industry to serve its customers better.” Nortel is planning to launch a new range of products for the SMB segment in October 2006.

    Going forward, we expect to see convergence, the wireless boom and broadband all taking the networking hardware market upwards. Vendors need to focus on the SMB segment and cater to its unique needs.

    Posted in Governance | Leave a Comment »

    India says no thanks to the $100 laptop[someone trying to DERAIL the project in Govt. of INDIA?]

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    India says no thanks to the $100 laptop

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/blog/asiatech/archives/2006/07/india_says_no_t.html

    Bruce Einhorn

    Just a few days after the announced departure of the Intel exec overseeing the company’s efforts to launch low-cost PCs for the developing world (see this Asiatech blog post), another project has suffered what may turn out to be a much bigger setback. MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte’s ambitious plan to create a $100 laptop has won lots of attention; his One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit, working with Taiwanese PC maker Quanta Computer, is working to come out with its first models by the end of the year. (See this story I did a while back in BusinessWeek, for instance.) But according to a wire story picked up in the Indian newspaper The Hindu , the Indian government – one of the largest would-be customers for the machine – has decided that it’s not interested in buying them. Worse for Negoponte, the Indian official who announced the news didn’t hesitate to criticize the whole idea of the $100 laptop. Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee’s view: “We do not think that the idea of Prof Negroponte is mature enough to be taken seriously at this stage and no major country is presently following this. Even inside America, there is no much enthusiasm about this.” Ouch.

    The criticism from India is certainly not the end of the project. And it’s important to remember that there’s a history of bad blood between the Indian government and MIT. Years ago, the two tried to set up an Indian version of MIT’s Media Lab, but the project flop, embarrassing New Delhi and creating bad feelings among many in India’s elite toward Negroponte. ZDNet UK points out that the setback is just the latest problem that MIT’s Media Lab has had in India. Negroponte, according to ZDNet, is “persona non grata” in India because of the bad feelings that came from the aborted attempt to set up a Media Lab in the country. That, says ZDNet, puts MIT at a big disadvantage: “There are plenty of large technology organisations that are making an impact in the developing world with, frankly, much better track records of operating with governments, NGOs and individuals in the field.”

    That said, I think it’s too early to write the obituary for the OLPC project – or for plans by Intel and others. There is certainly a need to provide low-cost computing for children and their parents in developing countries. But clearly selling the idea to decision makers in those places is going to take a lot more work.

     

    06:38 PM

    Computers

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    Comments

    It is certainly true that there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm on part of the government agencies in India towards the idea of OLPC. It can very well be understood in the context of the other pressing needs of a rapidly develping economy such as India.

    What is required more urgently is investment in (Quality) basic education infrastructure which can cater to the bursting children population in the country. I cannot imagine a child studying in his $100 laptop under a leaking school roof or worse under the shades of a tree – shirtless and wearing his half pyjamas. In a country where nearly one-third of the population goes un-educated the more pressing need is to ensure that all the children have ready access to elementary education rather than indulging in fancy concepts such as OLPC.

    Clearly the OLPC idea has some vested interests of companies such as Intel who would like to increase their sales under the garb of so called social projects such as OLPC.

    RIP OLPC in India.

    Posted by: Shankar Kambam at August 1, 2006 01:51 AM

    These are pathetic comments coming from Indian diplomats but then that’s Indian bureaucracy for the World. They simply want to follow the US or developed countries without taking the opportunities that are available at hand. It could also be to appease a certain section of the Indian businesses who are presently giving out $200 computers. I sincerely hope they revert their stance soon.

    Posted by: Shyam at August 1, 2006 01:59 AM

    Well, that’s India for you. Nobody can trust the beureuacracy in India. They expected MIT to present the media lab in a silver plate to them. When MIT failed to do that, they blame MIT. Now, they do the same with the $100 laptop.

    Posted by: Adi at August 1, 2006 09:45 AM

    I think US$100 is not enough to buy a really functional laptop unless government heavily subsidizes the product for all poor students. Here I have a better idea. I have a pending Patent application US20060061546 titled “Handbag/purse based combination electronic gadgets”, in which I propose to integrate handbag/schoolbag/purse with laptop/pda by using wide surface areas of schoolbag and the like for display(LCD sreen) and imbedding all circuit/accessories inside the layer of schoolbag and bottom portion of the bag such that the schoolbag can be used to carry normal books/stationary as usual, yet also have basic computer functions. I strongly believe that this is a better solution than the current one initiated by MIT. I also believe that it makes more sense to susidize, if governments need to do for their pupils and students to avoid digital gap gradually getting worse. For more information about this pending patent application, anybody can search USPTO PGPUB Production Database. However, you need a tiff file reader to be able to see the drawings. I can provide if somebody is interested in this application.

    Posted by: Chiou-muh Jong at August 1, 2006 11:19 AM

    OLPC perhaps was a good idea or a bad one – that time will tell. One has been hearing about such a move and the product for a very very log time but even the prototype of the product is not avaialable…leave apart what functions, it can do.

    I am also not sure as to why we are criticising the government for I have not heard any such move as to discredit the product. secondly and more importantly if the product is good and it works then it will have a commercial success ..even without the aid or support of the government. People buy gadgets as they feel that the gadgets can enhance the value of their lives or thier children….let the product be the judge.

    Posted by: rajeev bajpai at August 1, 2006 11:50 AM

    That is one bombastic official’s comment on the project. So please do not purport that as the opinion of India as a whole. There has been no serious debate about this issue. And the Indian press is still too immature and unfocused to carry out such a conversation. But he does make an important point that there is a much bigger need for well-paid teachers at the primary and secondary level than computers.

    India is a federal democracy, so the OLPC project can be picked up by other actors in the Indian landscape. That the project is not picked up by the commie-infested Human resources ministry, does not mean that individual states and organisations cannot or will not do it.

    Posted by: Vishwas at August 1, 2006 11:54 AM

    While some of you are quick in criticizing the Indian bureaucracy, this time it has got it right. The problem here is providing quality education to the kids in India and Negroponte’s $100 laptop is not going to do it. Do you really expect/want the Indian government to spend millions of dollars on laptops (which btw, no one knows how user friendly will be) when it can be better used in bringing kids to school and teach them the multiplication table instead of Windows VISTA or linux?

    While we are at it: Don’t make it a rule to blame bureaucracy for everything. Sometimes it can get it right.

    Posted by: Amit at August 1, 2006 11:57 AM

    I think $100 for a laptop is still costly for a poor student in India, unless Indian government subsidizes the price. But, the reason that the indian government has given citing other countries that has not adopted this policy is pathetic, showing its inability to make the first move.

    Posted by: Cathy Katz at August 1, 2006 12:42 PM

    The laptop for children between 5th grade and 10th grade should cost only $20 and weigh less than 1 lbs. I think $100 used to be a good number 5 years back. But our technology has changed so much that we can make laptop with basic softwares for $20. I understand the goal is shooting beyond the moon, but it is certainly possible.

    Posted by: LINSON at August 1, 2006 01:33 PM

    I strongly agree with Shankar when he said india’s priorities are different. most westerners dont understand what india lacks and what it desperately needs help on. over a hunder year ago, a saint called Swami Vivekanada went to Chicago for an international religions conference wherein he said, you dont have to come and preach india about god and religion for we have been teaching the world about those things for over a 1000 years. but what we need is bread for our children, shelter and healthcare. over 100 years have gone by and nothing has changed in india. what our children need now are food, shelter, healthcare and education, basic one at it. definitely not a $100 laptop. i will give you an example, there are a few social organizations here that provide all the above 4 to one child in india for each $10 a month that you can donate. if a government will do so, it can do it for one third that cost because it holds free real estate. now you know what’s our priority.

    Posted by: Ram at August 1, 2006 03:06 PM

    Hi, i fully agree with the naysayers of the laptop. Surely the needs of our country are much basic. Also i do not think this is about the vested interests of Intel or any other business organization.

    Even if Intel wants to sell more computers and create a new generation of indians that are familiar with its brand, they surely are not that stupid to imagine that kids would know how to use Windows without knowing how to read and write.

    Frankly speaking we should not care where and how our children are educated. If they have the education with the benefit of Intel, surely they will have the common sense to choose between Intel/ AMD/ others based on cost/ performance when they grow up.

    I think what is the the crunch issue here is that wether the Indian government has any real reasons to refuse this program or is it just some old rivalries? Hopefully somebody would explain that.
    Otherwise it doesn’t make a difference how much money Negropente or his cohorts stuff in their pockets (directly or indirectly) if indian children learn to read or write. And the beauracrats should realize the same!! But would politicians and beauracrats who try to profit from the death of their citizens (as has been visible throughout the Mumbai bombing case) really talk sense???

    Posted by: Ashu at August 1, 2006 05:12 PM

    hi Bruce, i was a little dissappointed that you skimmed the surface of the MIT venture and why it went kaput. to add credibility its important to understand that. there were serious issues there which made the Indian Govt queasy about another encounter with Dr Negroponte. how about delving into those?
    regarding the $ 100 laptop, depends on which segment we are looking at, the bottom of pyramid kids certainly dont need a laptop to study, a blackboard on the table and a full meal will be good. for the middle of pyramid, a laptop focused on educational segment will be good but then, they should get something that is low cost but is really fully functional. the OLPC does not seem that.
    wanting to create something for the poor / lower than the creamy segment of the market is a good idea and getting large organizations to re-work their research, pricing, features to get more products and the competition going in this segment can only benefit everyone. look at CK Prahlad and his theories for starters. we would not have had a PC in every home if large corporations were kept out of the equation and they had not beaten down the product for mass production…

    Posted by: Aurita at August 4, 2006 12:13 AM

    Give a computer to a child in an indian village – a kid with 6 siblings who have not had anything to eat, no clean water, no electricity!!! What is the child going to do with the computer???

    Posted by: v bosco at August 5, 2006 12:14 PM

    I agree with Auritha, Indian children need basic educational needs like schools with proper roofs, books, blackboards. I never required a laptop to finish my education, so why would anybody else require a laptop to finish their basic education?

    Posted by: Sharath at August 9, 2006 01:21 PM

    Initial design of the laptop looks more like a lunch box than a serious laptop. Similiar experiment by IIT was a big flop, reason being the so-called Simputer was second grade. However a $200 desktop is quite successful as it provides all the functionality of a normal desktop computer (though at lesser speed).

    Posted by: sachin at August 16, 2006 03:44 PM

    I don’t know why every Indian has to blame the Indian system and still cherish living in it!

    Nicholas if he earns $100 a year will first dream of a loaf of bread, a place to stay and adequate clothing!! Then comes education, et al. You go give our have-not children a laptop they (or surely the parents) will sell it in the grey market and have three sqaure meals (if the deal was well made though!) $100 for a laptop is still a luxury for lower income groups in India.

    So understanding India and its priorities is a must before assigning to such a program. Atleast stop criticising India for every step it takes and i mean it!

    Posted by: Vallabh at August 17, 2006 08:26 AM

    There is not a single credible initiative taken by a technology house or otherwise that has had a significant impact on the lower socioeconomic strata. The reasons are human greed and no strong will.

    Posted in Governance | 1 Comment »

    Massachusetts reaffirms move to ODF

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    Massachusetts reaffirms move to ODF

    http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS6922470300.html

    Aug. 24, 2006

    Massachusetts, which in 2005 became the first U.S. state to commit to using ODF (Open Document Format) in all its offices, has reportedly reaffirmed that the policy will indeed begin on Jan. 1, 2007. The start date had been questioned due to issues around supporting people with disabilities.

    The reaffirmation, reported by eWEEK.com on Aug. 24, is news because there were some rocky times during the past few months when it looked like the start date might have to be pushed back due to how the planned move to the ODF standard would affect people with disabilities who use Microsoft accessibility software, eWEEK.com‘s Peter Galli writes.

    Microsoft’s accessibility software doesn’t work natively on OpenOffice.org. However, a set of new plug-ins is being developed that will solve the problem, Galli reports.

    It is a move that has been welcomed by the ODF Alliance, Galli writes.

    To read Galli’s entire story at eWEEK.com, go here.



    Related stories:

    Posted in Governance | 1 Comment »

    Brazil nears million Linux laptop order

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    Brazil nears million Linux laptop order

    http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS5745842945.html

    Aug. 28, 2006

    The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project reported Aug. 27 that Brazil is finalizing plans for “all aspects” of its $100 laptop roll-out. Along with Argentina, Nigeria, and Thailand, Brazil had previously indicated interest in purchasing 1 million of the machines for needy children.

    Spread the word:
    digg this story

    Walter Bender, the OLPC’s president for software and content, said in his weekly news update that, up to now, the Brazilian project has been coordinated solely by that country’s presidency with the assistance of the Ministry of Education. “They will now begin to work more deeply with other ministries,” Bender said via email.

    The OLPC project aims to distribute — free of charge — millions of Linux-based laptop computers, complete with their own power sources, to needy children in developing countries around the world.

    Several days ago, the OLPC posted a brief news item that discussed a possible new design, along with a name change from “The $100 Laptop” to “The Children’s Machine.”


    New concept for “The Children’s Machine”

    Subsequent to the launch of the OLPC project in 2005, the group determined that the machines would cost more than $100 apiece to build and distribute — probably around $135 — project founder and director Nicholas Negroponte has said.

    DesktopLinux.com has been covering the OLPC story since its announcement nearly a year ago. For a history of how this noble project has developed, refer to our special report:

    Hot Topic: The “One Laptop Per Child” project



    Related stories:

    Posted in Governance | Leave a Comment »

    A Crusade to Connect Children

    Posted by egovernance on August 30, 2006

    A Crusade to Connect Children

    India criticizes an MIT professor’s quest to provide “One Laptop Per Child,” but he’s forging ahead elsewhere

    AUGUST 16, 2006

     

    computers

    By Bruce Einhorn

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/aug2006/gb20060816_021986.htm?chan=

    innovation_innovation+%2B+design_top+stories

    The quest to develop inexpensive computers for the masses is one of the most intriguing issues on the table at leading tech companies (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/12/06, “In Search of a PC for the People”). And MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte is leading the boldest effort yet to bring low-cost computing to the developing world. One Laptop Per Child, which Negroponte heads, is working with companies like semiconductor maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta Computer (QUCPY) to roll out a Linux-based machine by November that costs roughly $140.

    It will be easy to operate as well as inexpensive, offering schoolchildren of modest means a way to join the Internet age. But recently, OLPC suffered a big setback when an Indian government official criticized Negroponte’s group and said India, for one, wasn’t interested in what OLPC had to offer (see BusinessWeek.com, 7/28/06, “India Says No Thanks to the $100 Computer”).

    “SMALL INTERESTS”.  “We do not think that the idea of Professor Negroponte is mature enough to be taken seriously at this stage, and no major country is presently following this,” said Sudeep Banerjee, India’s Education Secretary, as quoted in the Indian press. “Even inside America, there is not much enthusiasm about this.” A report in the British press also questioned OLPC’s claims of headway in four countries in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

    Now, Negroponte is speaking out. In a recent interview with BusinessWeek.com via e-mail, he said that comments about dissatisfaction in India were leaked from an internal government report and that the Indian setback is the result of “an orchestrated campaign by small interests” in some parts of the country. “We are not sure of why this occurred.”

    He does have some theories, though, for the overall opposition that OLPC is encountering. “Considerable disinformation is coming from communities that do not want to see Linux on the desktop. There are also laptop interests that see us as competition,” he points out.

    TOO EXTRAVAGANT?  Negroponte defends the OLPC but concedes that, even at a price of about $140, the first machines will be too expensive for India. “We are the first to admit that OLPC is early. One laptop per child in a country like India will only be real in about three or four years, when the laptop is below $50,” he figures. “The purpose of launching now is to get the experience.”

    Like Negroponte, AMD’s Dan Shine is accustomed to criticism of the kind coming from India. The AMD executive is director of the company’s “50×15 initiative,” so named because its goal is to get 50% of the world’s population onto the Internet by 2015. AMD is a partner of OLPC and is working with other companies to provide different kinds of low-cost computers for emerging markets.

    Not everybody thinks governments that have a hard time building schools for their children should pursue extravagances like PCs, says Shine. “Why are we even bothering? If we really want to help these people, we should help them get clean drinking water.” He readily concedes that’s a fair question.

    WHOLE NEW WORLD.  However, he says improving basic infrastructure is not where an IT company can add value. “We are a technology company. We could send money to help them get water. But what we are really trying to do is provide something more than dollars alone could. We believe that through the delivery, connectivity, and power of Internet access, people would be able to solve a lot of the problems that exist within their environment.”

    And, adds Shine, it’s especially important to create ways for kids in poor countries to go online. “Just one session with a computer completely changes their perspective on what the world is,” he says.

    Another criticism is that there’s no need for new products like the $100 laptop or AMD’s Personal Internet Communicator, the low-power box-like machine that the company is selling as part of the 50×15 project, since prices for real PCs keep falling. When you can buy a notebook for $400 in the U.S., why not just focus on the ordinary PC and give up on new solutions?

    POWER VACUUM.  “Here in the U.S. we are seeing just last weekend a $399 laptop after rebate, with Windows. So people are saying why don’t we just do that,” says Shine. “But laptops are problematic. If any part breaks, the whole thing is broken.” Moreover, he says, a PC that costs $400 in the U.S. could cost hundreds of dollars more in a developing country once you factor in taxes, transportation, and other costs.

    And, he adds, a traditional PC doesn’t answer some problems that are especially important in countries where infrastructure is often inadequate and power supply is not a given. “Some are based on tech that is a lot older and suck a lot of power,” says Shine. “In some places, power will be generated from car batteries, cranks, or solar. It’s an ongoing challenge and opportunity to look at these environments and calculate what the solutions are.”

    Negroponte is even more adamant that critics who say it’s better to spend money on basic infrastructure for schools miss the point. “OLPC is basic infrastructure and the most economical of all,” he writes. “The time it will take and the money needed to traditionally upgrade schools and train teachers worldwide is just huge.

    “By contrast, think of a $100 laptop, amortized over five years, and connected for an average of $1 per month (which we know how to do). That is $32 per year, per student. You cannot beat that with ‘basic infrastructure’ built in the same old way, in environments where kids attend school for less than three hours per day and teachers often do not have a sixth grade education. You must leverage the children themselves to change elementary education.”

    REAL COMMITMENT.  India is still a target in the medium term, but for now he’s looking to countries like Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, and Thailand, where officials have been more encouraging. “We have moved on,” he writes. “We hope India will participate in 2008. Since we are not in the sales or marketing business—we are a nonprofit humanitarian effort—we try to go where there is strong pull, not push.”

    And what of a report from ZDNet suggesting that the group’s claims for those four countries are exaggerated? Negroponte says the critics are wrong. Argentina has signed a memorandum of understanding with OLPC, he says. Brazil has put money for OLPC machines into its budget for next year. And leaders in Thailand and Nigeria are committed to the project, he adds. “Those four, Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand, and Argentina, feel pretty real to me, blogosphere or not,” he writes.

    Posted in Governance | Leave a Comment »

    Government alerted by the Home Ministry on Websites on Pvt Servers

    Posted by egovernance on August 29, 2006

    Government alerted by the Home Ministry

    Websites on Pvt Servers

    http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=72988

    Press Trust of India
    Posted online: Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 1142 hours IST
    Updated: Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 1351 hours IST

    CrimeWatch New Delhi, August 27, 2006: Central ministries and departments have been warned against hosting their official websites on servers owned by private companies, particularly those located outside the country.

    This has been communicated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which feels that hosting on private servers poses a serious threat to websites.

    Sources said the ministry has suggested that websites be put on servers of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Education and Research Network (ERNET) or any other server owned by the Union or state governments.

    The alert came in the wake of incidents of hackers breaking into government websites hosted on private servers.

    Hackers not only deface websites, but also steal valuable data or even manipulate data or insert malicious content.

    Cases of leakage of sensitive information from the National Security Council Secretariat have been reported recently.

    Intelligence agencies do not rule out the possibility of hackers easily breaking into websites hosted on private servers or those located abroad as these servers do not spend much on upgrading their firewalls to prevent leakage of information on hacking.

    Another reason behind the Home Ministry directive was that in case of information leak from a server hosted abroad, there are difficulties in investigating the case.

    Posted in Govt. of INDIA | 1 Comment »

    CIC Custodians & Operators Meeting in Mokokchung, Nagaland

    Posted by egovernance on August 29, 2006

    From: “Abhishek Singh” <abhish18@gmail.com>
    Date: Mon Aug 28, 2006 10:33 pm
    Subject: CIC meeting in Mokokchung, Nagaland

    MEETING  MINUTES

    CIC Custodians & Operators Meeting

    Date  :  25-08-2006, Time :   11 am

    Venue : DCs Conference Hall, Mokokchung

     

     

    1.   At the outset, all the CIC Custodians and Operators were introduced in the meeting. Operators from all the CICs were present. Out of 6(Six) CICs, Custodians from all the CICs except CIC Kubolong and Longchem could not make it due to pre-occupation.

    1. Shri Abhishek Singh, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Mokokchung has explained the importance of the CICs in the NE region with a special reference to Nagaland. He also stressed on the need of strengthening of the existing CIC facilities in order to generate more revenue vis-à-vis CICs can become economically viable so that Government also can further support the CICs.

    1. On the non functioning of the UPS due to faulty battery at many CICs, the operators were asked to initiate letters to the Government through their respective Custodians for redressal.

    1. The following suggestions were discussed for implementing in all the CICs with immediate effect :

    a)      National and Local Newspaper reading facility would be facilitated for the needy public.

    b)      Computer Literacy Programme (CLP) course offered by IGNOU would be started in all the blocks.

    c)      In the meeting, the Deputy Commissioner has granted permission to procure digital camera and color inkjet printer that are meaningful to CICs for revenue generation and used for making passport photos to the needy at a nominal cost.

    d)      The available schools in the CICs location may be tied up for imparting basic computer knowledge to the school children at a nominal cost in collaboration with the Village education Committee (VEC) and fund.

    1. It was also decided to provide information related to VDB fund allocation, Health information, Village education fund allocation & facilities, PDS quota for each village/town etc to the needy at a nominal cost to be extracted from the District website which is under construction.

    Contd…….2

           2      

    1. A core group has been formed to develop software for Citizen Database for the entire district of Mokokchung with the following members :

    i)   Shri Merenyanger                        Operator, CIC Ongpangkong(South)

    ii)  Shri Lipokyangba                        Operator, CIC Ongpangkong(South)

    iii) Er. Tiatemsu                                Operator, CIC Changtongya

    iv) Er. Temjentoshi                          Operator, CIC Mangkolemba

    They will develop the software within a month’s time and after successful trial run, data will be fed for all the villages/towns in the respective CICs. Further, after scrutiny, these will be uploaded in the appropriate server.

    1. For the proposed meeting on 30-08-2006 at Kohima organized by the Regional Director, IGNOU Kohima for updating the CLP course, the following CIC Operators have been directed to attend in the meeting :

    i)            Shri A. Chuba Longkumer                        CIC Operator, Longchem

    ii)            Er. Temjentoshi                          CIC Operator, Mangkolemba

    iii)            Er. Tiatemsu                                            CIC Operator, Changtongya

    iv)            Shri Lipokyangba                         CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(South)

    v)            Shri Noksangtemjen                        CIC Operator, Kubolong

    vi)            Smt. Moajungla                             CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(North)

    1. DIO, NIC Mokokchung Er. Temsu Wathi Ao has emphasized the importance of the exixting CICs and called upon the operators to be more proactive in discharging their assigned responsibilities to the public and also highlighted the upcoming e-Modop plan in the district which has been effectively initiated by the Deputy Commissioner at the moment. Further, he opined that once this plan is implemented, the existing CICs will be converted to act as Front Offices for extending logistic support to the proposed e-Modop plan thereby the likelihood of the survival of the CICs will be more significant.

               

    1. The meeting ended with Power Point presentation by the Deputy Commissioner on the concept of E-Modop (e-governance) project to be implemented in Mokokchung district as pilot project which will be replicated in other districts of Nagaland later with the theme   ” Service  2  Citizen :  Reliable Always”.

     

     

     

     

    Sd/-Er.Temsu Wathi Ao

    Scientist-C & District Informatics Officer

    Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Mokokchung

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CIC Custodians & Operators Meeting

    Date  :  25-08-2006, Time :  11 am

    Venue : DCs Conference Hall, Mokokchung

    ATTENDANCE  SHEET

    Sl. No.

    Name of Participants

    Designation

    Signature

    01.

    Shri Abhishek Singh, IAS

    Deputy Commissioner

    Present

    02.

    Shri Y.Y. Sangtam

    A.D.C. Mangkolemba & Custodian of CIC Mangkolemba

    Present

    03.

    Shri Temsu Longkumer

    SDO(C) Changtongya & Custodian of CIC Changtongya

    Present

    04.

    Shri S.N.Tsanglao

    SDO(C) Mokokchung & Custodian of CIC Ongpangkong(North)

    Present

    05.

    Smt. Nungsangmenla

    EAC Kubolong & Custodian of CIC Kubolong

    On duty

    06.

    Shri Wasu Katiry

    EAC Longchem & Custodian of CIC Longchem

    On duty

    07.

    Smt. Imtimenla

    EAC Ongpangkong & Custodian of CIC Ongpangkong(South)

    Present

    08.

    Er.Temsu Wathi Ao

    D.I.O., NIC Mokokchung

    Present

    09.

    Shri Chuba Nungsang

    Scientist-B, NIC Mokokchung

    Present

    10.

    Shri Lanusanen

    CIC Operator, Kubolong

    Present

    11.

    Shri Noksangtemjen

    CIC Operator, Kubolong

    Present

    12.

    Smt. Moajungla

    CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(North)

    Present

    13.

    Ms. Mejarenla Longchar

    CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(North)

    Present

    14.

    Shri Merenyanger

    CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(South)

    Present

    15.

    Shri Lipokyangba

    CIC Operator, Ongpangkong(South)

    Present

    16.

    Smt. Sentimenla

    CIC Operator, Changtongya

    Present

    17.

    Er. Tiatemsu

    CIC Operator, Changtongya

    Present

    18.

    Shri Imtisunep

    CIC Operator, Mangkolemba

    Present

    19.

    Er.Temjentoshi Longchar        

    CIC Operator, Mangkolemba

    Present

    20.

    Shri A. Chuba Longkumer

    CIC Operator, Longchem

    Present

    21.

    Shri K. Watitemjen

    CIC Operator, Longchem

    Present

    22.

    Shri L. Chubalepzuk

    Dist. Public Relation Officer, Mokokchung

    Present

     


    Abhishek Singh
    DC Mokokchung
    Nagaland

     

    Posted in NORTH EAST | 2 Comments »

    Manthan-AIF Award 2006 for Best e-Contents in India

    Posted by egovernance on August 26, 2006

     

    Manthan-AIF Award 2006 set benchmarks in e-Content development and applications

    August 5, 2006, New Delhi : Truly unique…Truly finest…A no-nonsense approach… A down-to-earth effort…highly inspiring…not ephemeral either…an event worth to be considered as India’s finest effort in e-Content promotion and integration…all these could sum up well the curtains down of the Manthan-AIF Award 2006, India’s best showcasing and promotional event on e-Content and creativity. For sure, the event for grassroots e-Content promotion and utility is a clear picture of the growing yet churning Indian e-Content movement. The one day event was held on 5th August 2006 in New Delhi .

    The Manthan-AIF 2006 is clearly a picture of hard work, diligence, quality and utility vis-à-vis the emerging e-Content atmosphere in the country, whose trace could be now found in our countryside as well. The winning and appreciation list is basket of creativity, sensibility, and sincerity in digging out innovations, a steely outcome of serious yet positive repercussion on the lives of the commoners courtesy Information Communication Technology. The products are vivacious, elements are threadbare and value is infinite if viewed from its creation to its usability phase in due course, may not be a instant tea/coffee item, just make it , drink and swallow it.

    The nominations and winning list is a myriad of a beautiful landscape of e-Content creators and their products cut across 250 total nominations; 13 categories; 32 winners; 5 special mentions, and 4 appreciations for community radio initiatives. Regional and cultural representations were equally vivid; 250 nominations from 24 States and Union Territories and one from New York .

    The nominations list: an interesting revelation across States and UTs. Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttaranchal topped the list with 52, 31 and 13 nominations while Nagaland, Pondicherry and Chandigarh had 1 nomination each while the rest interspersed in between.

    Category wise the nominations and winning list is a salad bowl preparation. E-Governance, e-Inclusion and livelihood, e-learning, e-education, were the top notch ones while e-health, e-news, e-entertainment and few others were the laggards in filing nominations. E-Governance, e-Inclusion & Livelihood and e-Learning took the nomination filing lead.

    The Manthan-AIF Award 2006 equally reveals the platforms for e-Content innovations and their delivery. Offline; Web/ Internet; Broadband /online; CD/DVD; Mobile Content; Email; Video conference; LAN or WAN, local radio and Satellite broadcast; Audio video cable are the various technological solutions being utilized for e-Content practices and its distribution. Equally apparent were the cultural and linguistic emergence of e-Content products and services. If the Ananda Utsav site in e-Culture served its audiences in both English and Bengali language, the other picture is of Kannada Logo serving its customers and users in local Kannada language.

    The Manthan-AIF 2006 witnessed the presence of technological and other dignitaries who have their presence felt in Information Communication Technology. Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, DG, CSIR; Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner, India; Prof. Anil Gupta, IIMA and National Innovation Foundation; Mr. Avdhash Kaushal, RLEK; Mr. Sachin Pilot, MP were among the distinguished guests whose presence in the Manthan-AIF Award 2006 added the much needed value and utility to the purpose.

    The Manthan-AIF Award 2006 winners list is further interesting from quantitative perspective. E-Governance has got five winners, while e-education has four and e-Entertainment has only one winner. Surprisingly there are no winners in the e-Science category. State wise Maharashtra has the maximum winners of eleven in various categories. Kerala, Pondicherry has one winner each while States like Assam , West Bengal have two winners each.

    Initiating, operating and spearheading e-Content practices and popularizing it need not be a frustrating experience in India any longer. On the contrary there is a huge surface and edifice coming up and rapidly growing in the country including in the country side for ICT use and e-Content delivery just waiting to be explored and ploughed better for development and empowerment needs. The Manthan-AIF Award 2006 is a stark display of this emerging e-Content trend and increasing popularity whose appetite could be increasing by the day.

    Webel Mediatronics Limited is a winner in the e-Learning category. This West Bengal based organisation has pioneered in the development of integrated system for education of people with visual impairments. The systems address solutions to major obstacles in disseminating Braille education in vernacular languages. As of now, after successfully implementing these systems at around 110 schools in 22 states all over the country, WML has been able to provide necessary infrastructure to the blinds schools to develop unlimited reading material in Braille for visually impaired community. This offline product is available in 13 Indian languages including English.

    Throughout the world, Logo is used in teaching programming and graphical concepts to children between the ages of 9-14 yrs and usually English is used medium to teach Logo. English medium students have the advantage of studying Logo in India but Kannada medium (or any other Indian language students) is deprived of learning a programming language. Karnataka based Vishva Kannada Softech, a winner in e-Localisation category has developed a Kannada version of Logo, a programming language at the school level that will tap into this potential and hone student’s skills, especially in rural areas. The Kannada version of Logo is a simple tool to help children understand programming.

    Bhojpuria.com is a winner in the e-Culture category. Jharkhand based Infogate Exporters Pvt. Ltd has come out with the World’s first Portal for Bhojpuri Speaking people. The portal claims to provide a global platform for more than 34 Crore Bhojpuri speaking across the Globe. While clicking on to the site one can find News, Bhojpuri Songs, Bhojpuria Dukan, Free E-mail, Bhojpuri E-greetings, e-cards, details about Great Bhojpuria people, Bhojpuria culture, Festivals etc.

    Merinews is India ‘s first participatory media platform, where citizen journalists contribute news, interviews, pictures, news analysis, etc. Currently, Merinews, a winner in the e-News category, offers a diverse set of categories for citizen journalists from different fields. They can contribute news, features, interviews, pictures, news analysis, book and film reviews, etc.

    National Chemical Laboratory, Pune has produced IndFauna, an electronic catalogue of Known Indian Fauna. Development of IndFauna, a winner in the e-environment category, has made it possible to access baseline data of all Indian faunal resources at a single click of a mouse. Further, by using multi-lingual engine this data can be accessed in six Indian languages viz. Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, and Punjabi thus ensuring dissemination of knowledge in languages that people understand the best and covering nearly ¾ of the country.

    StudentIndia. com is a dedicated information site for students based in Maharashtra . A winner in the e-Education category the object of the site is to meet the global requirement of students and partial educational awareness for parents to guide their child. The online services provided are free of cost.

    NIC has developed and implemented Prisons Management System (PMS) application for Tihar Jail, Asia ’s largest prison cell. PMS is a G-2-G and G-2-C eGovernance tool and a winner in the e-Governance category. It has created a transparent, simplified and efficient Prisoners’ Information Handling System for all Prisoners who are lodged in the Tihar Prisons and their visitors. Recording and tracking of all Prisoner movement activities within the Jail and out side Jail are being recorded using the PMS.

    Surat and Gujarat based District Co-Operative Milk Online Integrated Computerized Systems (OICS) is a technology innovation covering Milk Procurement, Marketing, Sales Distribution, Cattle Feed Management, Materials Management, Maintenance Management, Document Management, Human Resource and Financial Accounting, which is pivoted around 8 major modules comprising on an approximate 1000 data entry forms, 120 query forms and 1500 reports. It is estimated that more than half million records are created each day in the computerized systems at different places. OICS is a winner in the e-Business category.

    Of special significance of this year’s Manthan Award is taking the bold initiative in recognizing best community radio initiatives in the country. Special mention can be made of the village and rustic Raghav Mahto and his FM radio innovation in his Mansoorpur village in Vaishali district in Bihar . Raghav and his DJ friend Sambhu created and developed a simple FM radio tool that catered to the community needs in so many villages. The FM radio served for more than two years before it was shut down in March this year by official orders due to its illegal nature.

    The appetite for knowing more of such other ICT and e-Content practices is enhanced further given the huge figure of 32 winners for this year Manthan Award. A reality check of the winners and special mention list reflects how the e-Content scenario is building up. The e-Content practices are essentially focusing on three areas: new innovations, new applications, new application and distribution network.

    The Manthan-AIF Award is a first of its kind initiative in India to recognize the best practices in e-Content and Creativity. Launched in October 2004, by Digital Empowerment Foundation in partnership with World Summit Award, and the American India Foundation, the Manthan Award emphasizes the importance of e-Content & Creativity for and by the grassroots people and organisations. The Manthan Award 2005 recognized and awarded 27 initiatives out of 104 nominations received for 8 categories.

    The mission behind Manthan-AIF Award is to create an information rich society where everyone, irrespective of caste, religion, race, region, gender etc., are empowered to create, receive, share and utilize information and knowledge for their economic, social, cultural and political upliftment and development.

    The success of ICT does not stand on its own. Among several important components for any ICT intervention content formation and its utility assumes one of the core status. ICT delivery has to take into consideration the local needs of community, type and form of content for consumption and use, language of content and continuous value addition of content services and its delivery.

    The Manthan-AIF Award is established to guide India through those best e-Contents from the country which stands out due to their excellence in carrying message and creating knowledge networks among local communities and the wider society. The e-Content practitioners are selected for their exemplary role and activities in empowering communities and groups through their ICT interventions in myriad ways.

    The Manthan Award is an Indian initiative by Digital Empowerment Foundation, India as the national initiative of World Summit Award, to select and promote the best practices in e-Content and Creativity in India . It involves representatives from each state and union territory of India and visualizes the bridging of digital divide and narrowing of the content gap as its overall goal.

    List of categories for Manthan-AIF Award 2006

     

    § E-Business,

    § E-Culture,

    § E-Entertainment,

    § E-Science,

    § E-Health,

    § E-Government,

    § E-Learning,

    § E-Inclusion & Livelihood,

    § E-Education,

    § E-News,

    § E-Localisation

    § E-Environment

    § E-Youth

    § M-Content ( Mobile content)


     

    Partners for The Manthan-AIF Award 2006


     

    § American India Foundation, Principal Partner

    § The Government of Uttaranchal,

    § Department of IT, Government of India ,

    § PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry

    § e-Gov World,

    § MetaLearn India ,

    § DataQuest,

    § IRAM,

    § TFTP,

    § Brand Reporter

    § iCongo,

    § iTVidya,

    § Inomy Media Ltd.


     

    Board Members of Manthan-AIF Award

    § Mr. Bibek Deb Roy, Secretary General, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry

    § Osama Manzar, Director and Founder, Digital Empowerment Foundation,

    § Shankar Venkateswaran, Executive Director-India, American India Foundation, Madanmohan Rao,

    § Research Director, AMIC, Singapore


     



     

    The Nomination List for the Manthan-AIF Award 2006

    States

    No. of nominations

    Percentage of Nomination Category wise

    Category

    No. of nomination

    %age

    About DEF

     

    Set up in December 2002 Digital Empowerment Foundation is a not-for- profit organisation catering to the Information Communication Technology needs for grassroots empowerment and enablement. Dedicated and committed to work across the country, DEF is concentrated on vital ICT areas of information, knowledge, research, investigation, activism, consultancy, outreach, and advocacy and so on

    About AIF

    The American India Foundation (AIF) is a leading international development organization charged with the mission of accelerating social and economic change in India . By mobilizing people and resources across the United States , AIF has raised over $30 million since its inception in 2001. AIF awards grants to education, livelihood, and public health projects in India – with emphases on elementary education, women’s empowerment, and HIV/AIDS, respectively.

    For Further Information please contact:

     

    Maria Rizvi, Digital Empowerment Foundation; defindia@gmail. com; manthanaward@ gmail.com

    +91-9818896456

    +91-11-26532787

    The Manthan-AIF Winners 2006

    E-Learning

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Localisation

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Culture

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-News

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Environment

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Youth

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    M-Content

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Inclusion & Livelihood

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Health

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Entertainment

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Business

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Governance

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    E-Education

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform

    Special Category: Community Broadcasting

    Institute/Company

    Title of the Product

    State

    Platform




     

    Osama Manzar
    Chairman: The Manthan Award –http://www.manthana ward.com
    Founder & Director – Digital Empowerment Foundation – http://www.defindia .org
    Jury Member: Dataquest eGov Champions Award 2006 – http://www.dqegovsu mmit.net
    Board of Director: World Summit Award, Austria – http://www.wsis- award.org
    Vice Chairperson: Global Alliance for Bridging Digital Divide – http://www.gabdd. org
    Author: e-Content: Voices from the Ground – The Sequel 2.0 [2006] – http://www.econtent worldwide. org

    Email: osama@manzar. info, osama@vsnl.net
    TeleFax: + 91-11-26532787/ 6
    Mobile: + 91-9810042862

    Address:

    12/17(Lower Basement)
    Sarvapriya Vihar
    New Delhi – 110 017
    INDIA

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