November 2007

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Agriculture

Remote control operation of irrigation systems planned
The Public Works Department of Chennai (India) is planning to introduce remote-controlled operation of irrigation systems, including reservoirs.

Under the proposed programme, a management information system will create a document of all the reservoirs, the amount of rainfall in catchment areas, the storage level of reservoirs and the anticipated inflows and discharges. A real-time data acquisition system and a mechanism for automated canal operation will also be implemented. Initially, the automated system of operating canals would be implemented on a pilot basis in two places under the Parambikulam, Aliyar Project (PAP). A pilot scheme will cover the operation of the gates of the branch canals of the PAP. The State Department has proposed the programme under the World Bank-assisted Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water Resources Management, will cover 63 river sub-basins in the State. For this programme, a South Australia-based company is providing services to the authorities.

Community Radio

DDS ready to launch first community radio station in India
The Deccan Development Society (DDS) is ready to receive the letter from the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) to launch a first community radio, named Sangham FM in the country.

The Sangham FM, which has been narrow casting their programmes by playing recorded programmes in villages, will soon broadcast the content prepared by the illiterate but resourceful women members of the DDS in and around Zaheerabad and Jherasangham mandals. While speaking at the regional community radio workshop, P.V. Sateesh Kumar of the DDS stated that women of Community Media Trust, separate group established to run the radio, have ready content for 600 hours. The spectrum can accommodate 5,000 community radios in the country as a transmitter of Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 100 Watt would be adequate to run a radio station. Around 100-200 community radio will start functioning all over the country within the two years.

Delhi University launches community radio station
The Delhi University has launched a new community radio station, named DU 90.4 FM, which aired the inauguration message by the Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.

The studio for the station has been set up at the School of Open Learning on the North Campus covering areas in and around the University. With a 10-km radius, DU 90.4 FM will broadcast community-related programmes as well as those dealing with students' issues.

The DU 90.4 FM will combine education and information and help in reaching out to people. The University has provided INR 25 lakh for the equipment and other requirements. The Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia is providing technical and programming support to the DU 90.4 FM. Initially the radio will be operational from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the evening. The duration will later be increased to eight hours a day.

e-Commerce

IBM partners with Grameen Foundation to expand its open source microfinance banking platform
IBM has partnered with Grameen Foundation to launch a collaborative project to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) to better serve poor communities around the world by expanding Mifos, Grameen Foundation's ground-breaking open source microfinance software platform.

The project will allow MFIs to access new and world-class software, which streamlines the lending process and significantly reduces operational and technology costs. Currently, five MFIs are deploying Mifos in India, Kenya, Tunisia, and Honduras. MFIs will provide small loans who are below poverty line to establish or expand very small, self-supporting businesses.

MFIs will also provide other financial services like saving accounts, micro-insurance, and social services such as education and healthcare.

The benefits of the new Mifos platform will include access to world-class software for all microfinance institutions; global standards in management and reporting; and  sharing and scaling of technology innovation.

e-Governance

Belgium launches multipurpose ID cards
The Belgium government is planning to issue multipurpose national chip cards to all citizens and residents.

Under this initiative, the government has also issued blue and green children's cards both as an identity and a child protection measure. The kid's card includes three functions. Each card carries a phone number that connects to a cascade of numbers registered by the parents. If there is no answer, the call is transferred to a national child-protection hotline. After 24 hours, if parent find their child or a card, then it means that the parents or the police can be notified right away. The card's third function is Internet safety: from the age of six, children can receive a PIN allowing them to sign on to children-only online groups.

The children's card is part of a national programme to replace existing cards with multi-purpose electronic tokens. The e-ID has an embedded digital signature allowing citizens to bank online, as well as carry out e-Government transactions such as filing tax returns.

CICT Philippines launches electronic school

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) of Philippines has launched a project, called 'e-eskwela' (electronic school) to make public high school education completely accessible over the Internet. e-Eskwela aims to digitise the entire high school curriculum as an alternative to taking it in the normal classroom setting. CICT has partnered with the Bureau of Alternative Learning Systems under the Department of Education (DepEd) to launch the project nationwide. Of the total 80 modules, around 40 have been digitised and made available online. The CICT has piloted the online modules in four designated e-Learning centres, located in Roces Avenue in Quezon City, San Jose, Bulacan, Mandaue City in Cebu and Cagayan De Oro City. The e- skwela project is part of the Basic Education project that attempts to develop e-Learning components for primary and secondary public school education.

Latvian Government develops national database on learning opportunities
The Latvian State Education Development Agency(www.niid.lv) has developed a national database on learning opportunities.

Currently, the database contains information about professional education programmes and educational opportunities offered by Latvia's higher education institutions and colleges. Soon users would be able to learn about other education programmes with the database on the portal. The website contains two parts: the database and the portal. Presently, users can choose seven different test, according to their interests, intellect, career values, personality, motivation, workplace environment, and favourite subjects. In the next step, the database would be integrated into the European Commission's PLOTEUS portal

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