Curtain Raiser eINDIA2008 Setting the Agenda

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In recent years, countries including India have responded to the global need to constantly upgrade the ICT skills and adaptability of human trends with more knowledge expansion that can support an accelerated spread of new technologies in the whole system. However, counties are still in different stages of this integration, coping with challenges of infrastructure and implementation. And bringing all those to limelight in order to initiate the action phase is what the eINDIA2008 is getting ready to do.

The Curtain Raiser happened on 30 May with the ‘Meeting of the Program Advisory Board’ of eINDIA2008 Conference at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi was organised by the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies. The meeting aimed to engage the Programme Advisory Board members to discuss and set the agenda for the eINDIA2008 Conference and Exhibition scheduled for 29-31 July 2008, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Along with CSDMS, the 4th annual eINDIA conference is Co-organised by the Ministry of Communications & IT and Ministry of HRD, Government of India, and also by UN GAID. The conference is framed around seven development themes and technology verticals, like Education, Governance, Health, Agriculture, Telecentres, Municipal, and mobile services.

Held as an evening programme, at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi, the meeting drew participation by 25 delegates, comprising members of the Programme Advisory Board, who are the key resource persons from government, representatives from supporting partners and institutional partners, senior executives and leaders from the IT industry and members of the presenting publications of eINDIA2008. It was chaired by R Chandrasekhar, Additional Secretary, Department of IT, Ministry of IT, Government of India.

The programme started with the welcome note by the Chairman of the Program Advisory Board, R Chandrashekhar who laid emphasis on the overriding importance for creating enabling opportunity to encourage new paradigms and intellectual networks through platforms like that to be provided by eINDIA2008.

The opening remark was followed by a presentation by Jayalaxmi Chittoor of CSDMS. Jayalaxmi explained the objectives of the conference; starting from the capturing through sharing and dissemination efforts, she elaborated on the objectives for each of the seven Conference tracks under eINDIA2008 namely- eGov, Digital Learning, Indian Telecentre Forum, eHealth, eAgriculture, Municipal IT, and mServe.

Dr Ravi Gupta, the Executive Director of CSDMS and the Convener of eINDIA2008 also added to the presentation, announced the eINDIA2008 awards. As an attempt to recognise the efforts of the community of practitioners, eINDIA awards, earlier known as i4d awards, will be conferred in different categories, like- ‘Best Government initiative of the year’, ‘Best NGO initiative of the year’, and ‘Best Policy initiative of the year’. Awards will also be given in all verticals of eINDIA2008, for ‘Best ICT enabled farming of the year’, ‘Best ICT enabled Govt Department of the year’, ‘Best ICT enabled School of the year’, ‘Best ICT enabled University of the year’, ‘Best ICT enabled Hospital of the year’, ‘Best innovations at the Grassroots Telecentres’, ‘Best innovative Mobile service provider of the year’, and ‘Best ICT enabled Municipal of the year’.

An open floor discussion followed soon after the presentation, wherein the members and representatives of the Programme Advisory Board were invited by the session moderator, the Chairman himself, to give remarks and suggestions. The discussion that followed touched upon the key issues of each of the thematic areas and relevance of these issues for discussion in the conference. A good number of valuable inputs did come in, laced with words of inspiration and intent of providing support to the conference.

Concluded with suggestions, views and new ideas, it was not the end of the show, just left the members to hold their breath for the real show to begin- eINDIA2008 this July.

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