Kerala to kick off IT literacy projects

Tuesday, 17 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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MALAPPURAM: The Kerala government said Tuesday it would launch a slew of IT literacy projects across the state to bridge the digital divide.

The government also plans to focus on e-governance projects to help people access a wide variety of services from distant locations, said IT and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty.

"Our aim is to ensure that every family in the state has easy access to the power of information technology," Kunhalikutty told media persons here.

"E-literacy and e-governance projects will make available the power of networking and connectivity to the common man. We want to give people a better life by using IT," he added.

The minister said the government had already launched Akshaya project with a view to help familiarise one person from every family in Kerala with the basic use of computers.

The project, launched in November 2002, has already made the Malappuram district, one of the most backward districts of the state, 100 percent IT literate, he said.

According to Kunhalikutty, one member each from the 750,000 families in the Malappuram district in north Kerala have been trained in IT applications through the 600 Akshaya centres in the last two years.

"Malappuram has become the first district in India to become 100 percent e-literate. The project has become hugely successful and we will be replicating it to other districts over the next few months."

The government, which has invested 300 million to make the Malappuram district fully e-literate, plans to cover the entire state by 2005 through 9,000 Akshaya centres.

The Akshaya centres, run by local entrepreneurs with infrastructure support from private and government bodies, act as computer-usage training hubs for people from all walks of life and belonging to different age groups.

The centres also double up as cyber cafes and are the focal point for availing a wide range of e-governance services, including payment of utility bills, registration of land records and redressing grievances.

All the centres will have support facilities like webcams, scanners, printers, fax machines, and Internet telephony. All the Akshaya centres across the state will be connected through the Internet.

In Malappuram district, the state government has tied up with New Delhi-based Tulip-IT Service Ltd. to provide wireless Internet facility in all the Akshaya centres.

On the e-governance front, the state plans to connect all the official departments through "state wide area network" by end of the next year to expedite the service delivery mechanism, said Kunhalikutty.

The minister said the motor vehicles, sales tax and treasury departments had already been electronically connected to facilitate easier access by citizens.

Source: IANS
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