Microsoft India, in partnership with IDRC’s telecentre.org, has announced the launch of Rural Innovation Fund under its rural market initiative Project Saksham at the 3rd Annual meeting of the M S Swaminathan led Mission 2007, will help local software application development vendors in smaller towns to create and provide localised applications and solutions customised for the needs of the rural communities.
It will initially focus on telemedicine, education and agriculture, areas which are of maximum interest to the rural communities. The fund is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and IDRC, a Canadian Development organisation and will be managed by a committee set up under Mission 2007, comprising of eminent people from the industry, academia and government. The program committee will choose the various applications for the programs in the next 6 months. The Rural Innovation Fund will have a two pronged benefit. It will empower the local software industry by promoting individual or organisational endeavours towards low cost innovative applications and at the same time enable the development of rural applications in fostering ICT based entrepreneurship for youth in rural areas, learning systems or skill development interventions via ICT for rural communities to enhance livelihood opportunities, improve healthcare delivery systems and specific applications for physically challenged and the disabled community.