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India to e-connect 600,000 villages

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In a bid to bridge digital divide, India is embarking on an ambitious project to connect 600,000 villages. Called as 'e-Bharat,' the initiative is one of the most aggressive and comprehensive e-governance initiatives being planned by any country in the world.

This mass IT empowerment project will cost the government almost US$1.3 billion and is being undertaken by National e-Governance Action Plan (NeGAP) of the Union Ministry of Information Technology. This is aimed providing last mile last mile, direct technology and Internet access to village entrepreneurs through over 100,000 multipurpose kiosks by December 2007.

The kiosks, being designed by a specially assembled team picked from various technology companies, will enable services like e-Learning, e-Training, e- Teaching, e-Health, telemedicine, e- Farming, e-Tourism, e-Entertainment and e-Commerce. This will be a collective initiative between the center, state governments, corporates, non-governmental organizations, telecom operators, universities, hospitals, insurance companies, and tourism and entertainment companies. The government will look into successful e projects underway in the country like the e-Choupal of the ITC, n-Logue in Tamil Nadu, e-Serve in Andhra Pradesh and Akshaya in Kerala.

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