June 2006

i4d News

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K-AgriNet to connect 80 FITS
A programme named 'K-AgriNet' has been initiated in Philippines by the agricultural departments of the country for the maintenance and updating of databases and knowledge networks, training of ICT manpower to maintain networks, and training of the project implementers.

K-AgriNet connects 80 Farmers Information and Technology Service (FITS) centres nationwide. The managers of the FITS recently received desktop publishing equipment and computer accessories, digital camera, and cellular telephones. With these equipments and interconnectivity, the delivery and access of information and technologies would be faster, enhanced and modernised.

Community Radio

e-TUKTUK, a mobile telecentre for Sri Lankan villagers
eTUKTUK, a self-contained mobile telecen-tre and radio broadcasting unit housed with -in a tuk-tuk (three wheeled motorcycle), is on track to inform Sri Lankan villagers.

It is a project of the Kothmale FM Community Radio Station, located in Mawathura. Since 1999, Kothmale Community Radio has been serving as an interface between rural communities in the central hill region of Sri Lanka and new communication technologies. The eTUKTUK involves a laptop computer located inside the vehicle as it has a battery operated printer, camera, telephone and scanner. Internet is provided via a CDMA-enabled wireless connection and electricity is provided via a generator, which in turn charges a battery that is used to provide additional power for short periods of time. The weekly route of eTUKTUK is broadcast over the radio to inform listeners as to the location and time when it will arrive in their locality.


Students to handle e-Governance in Indian state
Engineering students in Karnataka will now handle e-Governance initiatives of the state government. In a novel scheme aimed at addressing e-Governance glitches faced by several government departments, the Board for IT Education Standards (BITES) in association with the IT department and IBM has launched Project INVITE (Initiative to Nurture a Vibrant Information Technology Ecosystem).

This project will engage final year engine-ering students in government projects. BE students will help to create solutions/prototypes for local e-Governance needs at various levels. Over 400 students are already working on 24 project scenarios for 22 government departments. More than 100 faculty members have been trained to help students with the projects. This initiative is primarily aimed at plugging plagiarism in college projects, besides helping the govern-ment solve roadblocks. Since not all faculty members have technical expertise, students can call on e-mentors for assistance. This will also help IT industry to recruit students with real-project experience.

School children tap into technology in Cayman Island
Government primary school children in Cayman Island have been talking to each other and to their counterparts in Bermuda and Seattle by video conferencing.

Thanks to the efforts of Information & Communications Technology, children were given the opportunity to speak to other students at other primary school sites and ask questions of common interest. This was done, not with expensive video conferencing equipment, but with a webcam, micro-phone, multimedia projector and external speakers, said a press release from the school. The webcam enabled the students to see and speak to each other and the projector and speakers were used for whole class comfort.


PNB to outsource ATMs to individuals

Punjab National Bank (PNB), India, is planning to outsource ATMs to individuals or organisations, those who have spacious houses and can provide access to ATMs round-the-clock.

To put up an ATM, it requires 80-sq feet and round-the-clock accessibility. The bank will obtain the necessary licence and will provide with the cash kept in the machine to the concerned individual. Such an ATM should be able to attract at least 200 transactions a day to break-even. The bank will not have make any capital investment since the ATM will be purchased by the person and the maintenance is also taken care of by the owner of the ATM. The cost of installing an ATM is around Rs 7.5 lakh. The bank will sign a contract of three years with the person concerned. On the process to obtain such a contract, the interested party will need to apply to the bank, which after scrutiny by bank officials will be considered for obtaining necessary approvals from RBI and finally the ATM will be leased out in the name of the individual.

Indiatimes offers online practice tests for students

Indiatimes.com, the country's leading Internet portal, is now providing online testing services, under its knowledge brand

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