eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

MS fund to spread IT in rural areasAdd to Clippings

Posted by egovindia on August 2, 2006

MS fund to spread IT in rural areasAdd to Clippings

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 02, 2006 12:00:00 AM]

CHENNAI: Microsoft India and Canada’s International Development Research Centre have launched a rural innovation fund, an initiative the organisations hope would help in spreading the benefits of information technology in rural areas. The fund would begin with a seed capital of $200,000 and finance IT projects that offer localised applications and solutions for rural communities.

Ravi Venkatesan, chairman, Microsoft India, told reporters in Chennai on Friday that a full ecosystem was needed to take IT to rural areas. “No one government agency or one company can make it happen,” he said. A crucial element would be the inputs and participation by people, organisations at the grassroot level — and hence the fund.

Prof M S Swaminathan, chairman, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, said, the launch of the fund would create an entire network of rural IT entrepreneurs who would develop local software specific to the needs of the rural communities.

The fund will be managed by a committee set up under Mission 2007, an alliance of organisations looking at bridging rural-urban divide. The committee would choose applications for the programmes in the next six months. Dr Basheerhamad Shadrach, Senior Program Officer, International Development Research (IDRC) & Secretary, Mission 2007, said the idea was to scale innovations across networks.

In a similar development, Qualcomm, which is into digital wireless communications, has tied up with Nasscom Foundation to provide CDMA2000-based wireless Internet connectivity solutions to 65 village resource centres under Nasscom’s Rural Knowledge Network Programme. Qualcomm also had a $1 million global fund to finance development of applications for wireless technology. 

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