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1. Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions was set up in 1993. It aims “to strengthen the creativity of grassroots inventors, innovators and ecopreneurs engaged in conserving biodiversity and developing eco-friendly solutions to local problems.” Prof Anil K. Gupta of Centre for Management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad is its President. It is associated with the well-known Honeybee Network, which has more than 30,000 ideas. For details, visit the Web site http://www.sristi.org
2. TARAhaat is a Delhi-based company dedicated to continuous innovation and product development. It was launched in late 2000 in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In 2001, TARAhaat expanded its operation into Punjab. Today, TARAhaat has 22 centres and is in the midst of a major expansion in Punjab, and in the Bundelkhand region.
Its current products are focused on education, communication and
e-governance. It delivers its services through a network of franchised community and business centers owned by individual entrepreneurs. For details visit the Web site
3. Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme. The programme aims to support “civil society organisations in assisting people in the poorest and most backward districts of India to realise their entitlements more effectively and sustainably.” The PACS Programme concentrates on the hundred poorest districts located in the geographically contiguous areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Centre-West (Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra). The Development Alternatives ( http://www.devalt.org/ )- PricewaterhouseCoopers(P) Ltd. consortia are implementing the programme with the support British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). For details, visit the Web site http://www.empowerpoor.org/about.htm.
4. Conceived by Satyan Mishra, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), it has genesis in Gyandoot project on February 26, 1999 in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. It started its second project under its own brand in Sirsa district of Haryana. Its software platform enables e-governance and provides access to education and health services, market-related information, and private information exchanges and transactions. It is capable of creating 50,000 information kiosks all over India in six years. These kiosks would serve a market of 500 million (50 crore) people, with a purchasing power of Rs. 100 billion (Rs. 10,000 crore). In less than two years, it has set up 300 kiosks six Indian states. For details, visit the Web site http://www.drishtee.com/nd/index.htm.
5. Launched in June 2000 by ITC Limited, one of India’s largest consumer product and agribusiness companies, as an Internet kiosk for e-commerce and run by a lead farmer selected by the company called the sanchalak. e-Choupal services today reach more than a million farmers growing a range of crops – soyabean, coffee, wheat, rice, pulses, shrimp – in over 18,000 villages through 3000 kiosks in five states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. [choupal means village gathering place in Hindi]. For details, visit the Web site http://www.itcportal.com/agri_exports/e-choupal_new.htm.
6. These are village information kiosks in Nellikuppam town in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu set up by the E.I.D.Parry (India) Ltd., Chennai, which has a sugar factory there. E.I.D. Parry has a turnover of $600 million and has operations in farm inputs, sugar, confectionaries and sanitary ware. A Parry corner is a low-cost telecom system for accessing voice and the Internet through kiosks and consists of a PC, printer, touch screen, telephone, and a power back up system. Trained personnel who are employees of EID Parry manage the kiosks. (Source: The Financial Express, April 24, 2001, cited at http://www.tenet.res.in/Press/24042001.html; and http://www.uncrd.or.jp/ict/nellikuppam.html).
7. For-profit Internet kiosks, for whole of India except top 100 or 150 cities, set up by n-Logue Communications Private Limited, Chennai (PG Ponappa, CEO), one of several companies incubated by Telecommunications and Communications Networks (TeNet) ( http://www.tenet.res.in) Group of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai. The kiosks are based on corDECT, a wireless in local loop (WLL) system pioneered by Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala and jointly designed by TeNet, Midas and Analog Devices, USA. So far more than 500 kiosks have been set up in Tamil Nadu and other states. For details, visit the Web site http://www.n-logue.co.in/aboutus.htm.
8. Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) programme announced by the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Independence Day (August 15) 2003. The programme envisages four types of connectivity for these rural clusters
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