Technology provider companies like Google,Microsoft,Intel and Cisco among others,will now help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban Gujarat. They will aid the e-Gram Vishwagram Project,which was formally launched by the state government recently.
The project offers VSAT communication technology based broadband connectivity to all 13,693 gram panchayats in the state,across 224 talukas in 26 districts.
Of these,7,400 village panchayats have Ku Band facility and are well connected to the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geo Informatics (BISAG),Gandhinagar,for two-way audio and one-way video facility.
Varesh Sinha,Principal Secretary (Panchayats),Gujarat confirmed that
Google has signed an agreement with the state government for running the e-Gram website.
Besides,Microsoft will devise an e-learning curriculum for digital literacy training to village entrepreneurs,while Intel will help in spreading computer literacy among the village children, he said. Cisco will provide ICT-based agricultural services like soil health cards,SMS-based alerts and agri-resource directory services,he added.
The important features of the e-Gram project include the Pavan Channel,which is the Panchayat Wide Area Network,e-Utsav for the rural masses in all villages,e-ticketing facilities,e-postal facilities,market linkages for agricultural commodities,video conferencing facilities and a common service centre facility in every village.
Soon,other services like payment of electricity and telephone bills will also be covered,officials added.
Another important feature of e-Gram is that it will empower the gram panchayats to issue documents,certificates,application forms for various development and welfare schemes,including the 7/12 certificates to the farmers.
The state has also tied up with the State Bank of India for providing e-Banking services under the e-Gram project. Under this,e-Gram kiosks will facilitate checking of account balance,money transactions,loans,deposits,insurance and other banking services. In addition,there will be a Gram Rural Accounting Management Software (GRAM),which will help capture the accounting details of the entire village panchayats at the taluka panchayat level.