October 2006


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OSWA’s Lifelines for farmers in India
The South Asian Centre of the OneWorld Network has inaugurated Lifelines India on 28th September 2006, at capital city.

OWSA aims to strategically position ICT tools to enable the poor to communicate on developmental issues and work towards realisation of a better quality of life embodied in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Lifelines India is an IVRS based service for marginalised commu-nities, to provide connectivity, content and capability via a phone-based service. OneWorld South Asia (OWSA) with support from British Telecom and CISCO systems are piloting the service in North India in partnership with other civil society organisations. The pilot phase is concentrating on the agribusiness sector by providing information related to agriculture to the farming community.

Community Radio

Farm Radio Internet radio station for UK farmers
Defra is promoting the Farm Radio Internet radio station for UK farmers. It is aimed at people who are interested in farming and residing in the countryside. It is proving a great success, clocking up nearly one million hits on its website in the past year.

The station, launched in Dorset in November 2003, aims to create stronger links between rural communities. Professional farming journalists and volunteers from farming backgrounds, make the progra-mmes, which cover up-to-the-minute farming issues. Each month a new edition of Farm Radio is available to listen online and all previous programmes also remain on the site. Farm Radio is funded by the EU LEADER+ scheme, the South West Foundation and the Sustainable Develop-ment Fund. LEADER+ is a European Union programme, managed in England by Defra, to help rural communities improve their economic prosperity and quality of life.


IBM signs MoU with Uttar Pradesh on IT education

IBM Global Services India has signed a deal with the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government, India, to promote IT education at the grassroots level as well as build capa-city and improve skills of the IT workforce.

The programme is called Initiative to Nurture a Vibrant IT Ecosystem (INVITE). The MoU was signed by Munindra K Bharti of IBM and UP Industrial Development Commissioner Atul Gupta. Elaborating on the need for the programme for IT excellence, Bharti said the need for skilled IT professionals was greater than ever. For the government, the objective of the programme is to build a repository of e-Governance/solutions/prototypes and make it freely available to the government agencies solution providers and the academia.


eBay in charity platform
eBay has joined hands with the Goa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) to auction the special belongings of Bollywood stars to treat animals both stray and wild.

Film stars John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Soha Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ajay Devgan, Bohman Irani and Raveena Tandon have come forward to offer an array of interesting memorabilia for auction as a preview of the World Animal Week celebrations, to be held in Goa from October 4 to 16. The proceeds from the exclusive charity auction, undertaken on eBay India charity platform, will be used by GSPCA to provide food, shelter and medical care to stray and wild animals at Socrates Oliver Veterinary Hospital in Goa.


CSI gets 100 eGov projects from 21 states for evaluation
The Computer Society of India (CSI) has received over 100 eGovernance projects from 21 States for evaluation based on the project features, sustainability and technology innovation.

The Convener of CSI Nihilent e-Governance Awards 2005-06, Dr Ashok Agarwal, said that the awards sought to identify best IT projects from the perspective of citizen friendliness, their technological innovation and their sustainability. The committee comprising Dr Vijayaditya, Director General of NIC, Mr. S.P. Singh, Senior Director of MIT, Mr L.C. Singh, President of Nihilent, and Prof Vaidya of IIM, Lucknow among others, will evaluate these projects. The selection is based on what CSI calls an analytical hierarchy process that has been designed in collaboration with IIT, Delhi. After short-listing the projects, a team of experts will visit the sites and assess their implementation and their impact on the people. The National Institute of Smart Government is working on a framework that would potentially help replicate successful eGovernance projects.

NIIT, IIMs team up
Three IIMs (Indian Institute of Mnagements) — Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Indore will now make their executive development programmes available at six remote learning centres in India on the technology provided by NIIT.

The classes would be run after-working hours and on weekends enabling the students to continue with their jobs and pursue education simultaneously. Under the system, the faculty would operate from an in-house studio located within the campuses of the IIMs and the students would undergo interactive sessions through two-way live video and audio and other related software to replicate face-to-face teaching. NIIT, under project ‘Imperia’, will foray into management education, and set up centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. There is also plan to have 75 remote classrooms in the next five years with an investment of Rs 20 crore. The duration of these courses range from four months to one year and the fees from Rs 54,000 to Rs 1,94,000.


PGI to extend medical consultation to patients in African countries
Under the new proposal floated by the Government of India, PGIMER would soon be providing medical expertise and consultations to patients in the African countries.

PGIMER is one among the few centres across the country that have been selected as a part of the prestigious project and it would soon be providing medical advice to African countries through its telemedicine services. The Telemedicine Project is already catering to many hospitals across the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Now, under the new project, the hospitals across the African countries would be able to seek medical advice from experts in various super specialities.’ Further, the hospital would also extend educational facilities across the borders through Clinico Pathological Conferencing (CPC) programme, wherein academic lectures would be delivered through teleconferencing. PGI Director Prof K K Talwar, said that the telemedicine project was a great achievement of the hospital and it helped solve the problem of excessive workload.

Open Source
Malaysia plans to move into second phase of open source initiative

The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit is ready to move into the second phase of its open source initiative.

The Malaysian government has saved up to 30 percent on Information and
Communications Technology costs among its agencies under the Open Source Software (OSS) initiative. According to Dr. Yusseri Yusoff, former OSS consulting project director at the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), OSS implementation has enabled the government to address increasing licensing fees and constant upgrades of proprietary software. There were also plans to start bilateral initiatives with countries adopting OSS, he added.

Tamil Nadu has potential to achieve 25 percent of Indian ICT market

Tamil Nadu has the potential to achieve 25 percent share of the Indian market for Information, Communication and Technology, which is about $30 billion revenue across IT and ITES sectors.

This would mean that Tamil Nadu would be able to generate over 20 lakh jobs by 2011, according to Mr Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology. The Nasscom has projected the software exports to be $90 billion by 2011. Mr Anil Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Communications, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, said that India needs ‘Info-structure’. Communication is a vital lifeline of the country to drive productivity and India’s competitiveness. Now it was time to improve the connectivity and information available any time, any place, in any form and anyhow, he said.

Saudi to extend Internet access to all areas of the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s government is looking at ambitious plans to extend Internet access to all areas of the Kingdom by setting up a fund enabling Internet service providers (ISPs) to share the cost of the project.

To ensure all citizens can access these services from anywhere in the Kingdom, it is looking at working with ISPs to help provide services in more remote and less profitable areas. Fahad Al Hoymany, minister’s advisor for IT and Head of the e-Government infrastructure department at the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), revealed that the government was currently in talks with service providers over proposals for them to share the costs of providing services to some areas. One of the obstacles that the Saudi Government could face in establishing e-Government across the country is that Internet penetration across the Kingdom is currently very low.


Nortel wireless network for Indian Railways

Indian Railways will use wireless railway communications technology from Nortel(x) (NYSE/TSX: NT) to help improve the safety and efficiency on  one of the most important and busiest rail arteries in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

The wireless system will be used to connect trainconductors, on-board crew, train dispatchers, station personnel and other operations groups, such as those responsible for attaching and separating rail cars at station yards. This is Nortel’s second such contract in India. Nortel was previously chosen as sole provider of a GSM-R solution to Eastern Railway of West Bengal.

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