Nokia vows to de­velop 500 smart vil­lages in In­dia

The Gulf Today - Business - - REGION -

NEW DELHI: In line with the government’s Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gramme, Nokia on Wed­nes­day launched a “Smart­pur” dig­i­tal vil­lage pro­ject with the aim of devel­op­ing 500 dig­i­tally in­te­grated vil­lages across the coun­try in five years.

“In­dia is on the brink of a phe­nom­e­nal dig­i­tal jour­ney which can only be suc­cess­ful if it is all in­clu­sive,” said Am­bas­sador of Fin­land to In­dia Nina Vaskun­lahti af­ter in­au­gu­rat­ing a pi­lot of the pro­ject in Tain vil­lage of Nuh district in Haryana.

“Smart­pur pro­ject is a sig­nif­i­cant step in that di­rec­tion which will in­te­grate these vil­lages and ru­ral communities, pro­vid­ing dig­i­tal tools and In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity for so­cial and eco­nomic im­pact that truly makes a vil­lage smart and fos­ters a dig­i­tally in­clu­sive so­ci­ety,” she added.

With the Smart­pur pro­ject, Nokia said it aims to cre­ate a sus­tain­able ecosys­tem in vil­lages where com­mu­nity mem­bers can lever­age dig­i­tal tools to bring ef­fi­ciency in daily lives, trans­parency in gov­er­nance, eco­nomic pros­per­ity for house­holds and ease of ac­cess to var­i­ous government ser­vices and in­for­ma­tion.

The pro­ject will work un­der the five key ar­eas of de­vel­op­ment - health, ed­u­ca­tion, liveli­hood, gov­er­nance and fi­nance - to build a holis­tic, dig­i­tally in­te­grated vil­lage, the Fin­nish tele­com gear maker said.

“The Smart­pur ini­tia­tive is our con­tri­bu­tion to de­liv­er­ing the ben­e­fits of broad­band in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices to the ‘tele­com-dark’ ar­eas and support the government’s vi­sion of Dig­i­tal In­dia for a more in­clu­sive growth,” said San­jay Ma­lik, head of In­dia for Nokia.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Tele­com Union ICT (in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy) Facts and Fig­ures, 20 per cent of house­holds in de­vel­oped coun­tries and as many as 66 per cent of house­holds in devel­op­ing coun­tries do not have In­ter­net ac­cess, leav­ing al­most four bil­lion peo­ple from devel­op­ing coun­tries off­line. Nearly a bil­lion of these un­con­nected peo­ple live in In­dia, mostly in ru­ral In­dia.

“At Nokia, we be­lieve con­nect­ing the un­con­nected opens up op­por­tu­ni­ties in many ar­eas and has tremen­dous po­ten­tial to en­able so­cio-eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of in­di­vid­ual as well as communities,” Ma­lik said.

In the first phase of the pro­ject, 20 vil­lages will be dig­i­tally in­te­grated in Haryana and Tamil Nadu in a “hub and spoke” model.

Tain vil­lage in Nuh district of Haryana and Asoor in Kanchipu­ram district, Tamil Nadu, will serve as hub which will host a dig­i­tal cen­tre with tele­com con­nec­tiv­ity to pro­vide Ict-en­abled, pri­mary ser­vices.

The spoke cen­tres will fur­ther ex­tend these ser­vices to nine other vil­lages from each hub, Nokia said.

In the sec­ond phase, the pro­ject will be scaled-up to up to another 80 vil­lages across var­i­ous states and sub­se­quently, it will be ex­tended to another 400 vil­lages over a pe­riod of five years, it added.

The Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­gramme is a flag­ship pro­gramme of the Government of In­dia with a vi­sion to trans­form In­dia into a dig­i­tally em­pow­ered so­ci­ety and knowl­edge econ­omy.

The jour­ney of e-gov­er­nance ini­tia­tives in In­dia took a broader di­men­sion in mid 90s for wider sec­toral ap­pli­ca­tions with em­pha­sis on cit­i­zen-centric ser­vices. Later on, many States/uts started var­i­ous e-gov­er­nance projects. Though these e-gov­er­nance projects were cit­i­zen-centric, they could make lesser than the de­sired im­pact. Government of In­dia launched National e-gov­er­nance Plan (NEGP) in 2006. 31 Mis­sion Mode Projects cov­er­ing var­i­ous do­mains were ini­ti­ated. De­spite the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of many e-gov­er­nance projects across the coun­try, e-gov­er­nance as a whole has not been able to make the de­sired im­pact and ful­fil all its ob­jec­tives.

It has been felt that a lot more thrust is re­quired to en­sure e-gov­er­nance in the coun­try pro­mote in­clu­sive growth that cov­ers elec­tronic ser­vices, prod­ucts, de­vices and job op­por­tu­ni­ties. More­over, elec­tronic man­u­fac­tur­ing in the coun­try needs to be strength­ened.

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