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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Towards technology for wealth-creation

si Team
Saturday, March 31, 2007
si Team
The first International Conference on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Solutions for Socio - Economic Development (ISED – 2007), organized by the ICT Research and Training Centre of CDAC Bangalore concluded on March 13. The conference brought together development practitioners, researchers, and technical and social scientists who dwelt on the possibilities and prospects of using ICT for development of the standard of living of particularly the rural masses.
The conference did much in terms of providing an arena for knowledge sharing, with many like Peter Knight, director e-brasil project (who came all the way from Brazil), pleased to have found a platform that looked at the issue of use of technology for societal upliftment. For many though, it failed to spur thoughts on how such technologies could have more of a people focus.

Swami Bhaveshananda, faculty member of the Ramkrishna Mission’s Vivekananda University said, “Hardly any of the models (of pilot projects showcased in the presentations) focused on the human resource development component.”
Dr. Baharul Islam, Chairman and CEO of South Asian Development Gateway, seemed to agree, “India’s greatest strength is her human resource. Unless ICT finds a way to generate wealth, primarily among the youth, all this talk of bridging the digital divide is senseless.”

Incidentally, his talks were among the most hard-hitting and had recall value. While one of the talks focused on the ills (corruption, political vendetta et al) in the name of community information centers in the North Eastern states of India, the other sought to address the skewed government policy of developing ICT as a sector rather than focusing it on developing people’s economies.

In terms of people-inclusive models, K.M. Sharma of NABARD showcased the e-grama project, currently running in Davangere district of Karnataka. Under the project, Village Information Centers are established by educated unemployed youth of each village, which in turn employ other people at the local level to dole out various service offerings.
Dr. M.V. Ananthakrishnan, faculty member at IIT-Bombay, on the other hand, shared his experiences of developing educational resources for the rural sector, using the repository of examples from the recipient’s surroundings to teach them basic concepts. “The excitement on part of the children of having learnt via interactive multimedia, and that too using examples from the environment around them was a treat,” he says.

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