Seminar Report on ICT in Agriculture and Health, 12 January, 2006, Hyderabad, India

The two areas-Agriculture and Health being so close to the hearts of many, a high level of interest and participation by the delegates was observed during the National e-Governance Seminar ‘Health-FarmIT’, which was held at Hotel Taj Banjara, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, in the southern Indian city Hyderabad on 12 January 2006. The seminar on the theme ICT for rural areas with a focus on Agriculture and Health sectors proceeded through three prime segments:Global Trends – where the world is going in usage of ICT in Agriculture / Health sectors; National Scenario – how is India doing on this front and are there any best practices around; State Scenario – focussing on a few initiatives from the states and see what are the lessons learnt.

The seminar tried to showcase those initiatives which can be adopted by State Governments with the existing resources, those initiatives which can be quickly rolled out by having a little additional resources, those initiatives which are eventually required to be in place for effective service delivery to even interior areas and also showcased relatively lesser known initiatives / ideas for enabling the stakeholders to think on those lines as well.

Key Note address was deliveredthrough video conferencing by Raj Reddy, Carnegie Mellon University, USA. Sanjay Jaju,  Commissioner, MCH, Hyderabad narrated District Level Replicable Models in his presentation entitled ‘Reinventing Gover-nance: Bringing Government Close to People’. S.P. Singh, Sr. Director, Ministry of Comn. & IT Govt. of India described National egov Plan and Mission Mode Proje-cts in Agriculture and health. There was broadband demo from Turkaya-mzal village, Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh (India), described by T.V. Parthasarathi, Director (Commu-nications), Government of Andhra Pradesh. Address by Chief Guest, N. Raghuveera Reddy, Minister for Agriculture, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh was the last part of the inaugural session.

ICT and agriculture sector
First forum was started with video conferencing address on ‘Global Trends’ by  Mohan Kanda, Member of National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi which gave insight into the lapses of information. Moni, Deputy Director General, National Informatics Centre, New Delhi addressed on ‘Role of ICTs on Agricultural Development and its future prospects in Rural India’. M. Ariz Ahmed, Addl. Secretary to the Government of Assam and CEO of Assam SFAC, explained the project ‘ASHA-Hope for Farm Prosperity’ which is also a member of Mission 2007.

V. Ranga Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Ramoji Film City described ETV programme- Annadata in his paper ‘Annadata in the Service of the Farmer- the changing face of Rural India’. P. Raghuveer, IFS and coordinator of the seminar in his paper ‘Parishkaram’ gave an example of the Chiluvuru village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh (India) successfully. V.P. Sharma, Director (IT), National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad, presented his paper on ‘Cyber Extension- Innovative usage of ICT’. ‘e-Sagu’ – meaning e-Cultivation, that was the topic adopted by Krishna Reddy IIIT, Hyderabad in which he elaborated a three tier system with farmers as end users.

ICT and health sector
In the Health sector panel, the moderator and the lead presenter was Ranjan Dwivedi, UNAIDS, New Delhi (India). In this session, B.S.Bedi, Senior Director (MCIT), Government of India presented his paper on National Initiatives in Healthcare using ICT  and the achievements of Media Lab Asia project. On behalf of Subba Rao, Prl.Secretary (Health) Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Prathiba presented his paper ‘PHC Computerisation