Prof Keniston on India
Old India hand and close watcher of ICT-for-development initiatives, Prof Kenneth
Keniston of MIT, has recently published a new book titled IT Experience
in India, along with Deepak Kumar of Bangalore. Published by Sage in March
2004, it is priced at Rs 250 (paperback) and Rs 425 (cloth).
This book explores whether modern information and communication technologies
(ICTs) can deliver on their promises of democracy and prosperity for the people
of developing nations who comprise 80 per cent of the worlds population.
In order to do this, this volume uses lessons from the Indian experiencea
country where information technology (IT) has made giant leaps, but which suffers
from what has been described as multiple digital divides.
The contributors explore four such closely interrelated divides. The first is
internalbetween the digitally empowered rich and the poor. The second
is a linguistic-cultural gap between English and other languages and between
Anglo-Saxon culture and other world cultures. The next gap is underscored
by disparities in access to information technology and between rich and poor
nations. Finally, there is the phenomenon of the digerati. This
is an affluent elite possessing the appropriate skills and means to take advantage
Essays by V Balaji et al (Pondicherry), T H Chowdary (Indian
telecom), Pat Hall (IT and diversity), Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Bhaskar Ramamurthi
(telecom and regulation scenario), P D Kaushik (e-governance for the poor),
Deepak Kumar (digital development), Harsh Kumar (Indian languages), Rajeev Sangal
et al (digital resources in Indian languages), Anna-Lee Saxenian (the Bangalore
boom) and an introduction by Prof Keniston (The Four Digital Divides) are part
of the book.
Lawrence MG <email@example.com> recently announced
a new mailing list that would be of interest to all those interested in amateur
radio in India. To join the list, send a blank email to: IndianHamfirstname.lastname@example.org
eProcurement in India
Raj Kumar Prasad of the Commonwealth Centre for e-Governance (India Chapter)
recently announced that the World Bank together with the Commonwealth organisation
and the Commonwealth Centre for e-Governance India have the planned first international
conference on eProcurement in India on June 3, 2004.
Says he: eProcurement is integral part of e-governance
and smart governance. Details are available at the Commonwealth Centre
for e-Governance India, Delhi Chapter. www.electronicgovindia.net
List for Railways
A list for the Indian Railways? Yes, theres a lot of interest in it too.
There are over 5000 railway photographs in the archive of this list. Other postings
dealt with the Katra-Udhampur rail link, a rail trip to Shimla, Mumbais
new EMU, and a lot more.
Also see http://www.irfca.org
And another one for consumer issues in India.
Dgroups is a joint initiative of Bellanet, DFID, Hivos, ICA,
IICD, OneWorld and UNAIDS. To check out the mailing lists available via this
server visit www.dgroups.org
This list has been set up by film buffs keen to build up Goas film culture
prior to the shifting of the International Film Festival of India to Indias
tourist state, in November 2004.
The list is available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/moviesgoa.
Why the list? Say the promoters, Salil and Gayathri Konkar:
Cinema makes us laugh, it makes us cry, it inspires and it thrills. Cinema
gives us much more than that: it gives us the opportunity to like and dislike,
to argue, to discuss and sometimes leaves us speechless. If you enjoy cinema
just for itself or if you are one of those who are hooked on films and love
to make new friends and discuss films for hours on end, then consider joining
Moving Images Film Club. Moving Images in collaboration with the International
Centre, Goa at Dona Paula (also the venue of the screenings) will bring to you
films and documentaries, popular and the classics, from India and across the
globe. The screenings are open to all and there is no charge.
Computer literate district
Malappuram is Indias first computer-literate district, reports the Milli
Acharya recently featured on Drum Beat, a newsletter on communication
for development activities. See this multilingual software and online Sanskrit
lessons for the disabled; provided by the Indian Institute of Technology in
Madras as part of an effort to bring the benefits of ICT to all Indians. http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/
Noted in the Gulf
GNU/Linux enthusiasts in the Gulf region recently noted the arrival of a new
version of the Simputer. www.amidasimputer.com
Said Manoj Menon <email@example.com> on the linux-middleeast
mailing list on yahoogroups.com: [GNU]Linux based PDA for less than 1000
and best of all, its made in India.
Responding to the reports about the Simputer, Gary Dunn <>
of the Open Slate Project wrote: Several years ago I started a project
called Open Slate, with exactly this in mind. To date it has not generated much
interest. My website is a bit mouldy, but I think you will find it interesting.
If you are interested in working on Open Slate please drop me a line.
Internet and poverty
The Internet in developing nations: Grand challenges by Larry Press,
in First Monday, volume 9, number 4 (April 2004)
For over a decade, we have hypothesised that the Internet could raise the quality
of life in developing nations. We have conducted hundreds of studies of the
state of the Internet and e-readiness, done extensive training of
technicians and policy makers, run pilot studies, and held local, regional and
global conferences and workshops. After all this activity, Internet connectivity
is still nearly non-existent in rural areas of developing nations, in urban
areas the numbers are far below that seen in developed nations.
G Karunakar <firstname.lastname@example.org> recently announced the launch of
an Indian localisation e-newsletter. Says he: The aim of this newsletter
is to highlight localisation activities based on Free/Libre Open Source Software,
present a complete picture, and to serve as a mouthpiece for all localisation
teams & their volunteers.
Its highlights include Bengali, Punjabi supported languages in Gnome 2.6, Hindi
and Tamil supported in KDE 3.2 and Mozilla build with Indic support
Read the complete issue at www.indlinux.org/nl/nl150404.html A pdf of it is
available at www.indlinux.org/nl/nlvol1.pdf (238KB)
If you would like to receive a copy of the newsletter regularly
you can subscribe to the mailing list
Any idea about a useful national database of e-governance projects in India?
Bytesforall (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers) reader Rama
Bhardwaj was just one of those enquiring about the same recently.
Both she and another query about the use of ICT for coping
with disasters threw up some interesting debate and ideas.
Open access health
Dr Vinod Scaria <drvinods@HotPOP.com> recently announced his article on
Open Access for Health professionals and how Open Access can be capitalised
on by developing world professionals was published at Plexus. The full text
is available at: http://www.psyplexus.com/excl/open_access.html
Contacts Dr.Vinod Scaria through www.virtualmedonline.com.
ILUG-Delhi has set up a CD request list. It invites
people from other cities in India to join this list and make it an India-wide
resource for exchanging free software CDs. https://frodo.hserus.net/mailman/listinfo/ilugd-cd
India Computes! is presented by Frederick Noronha, a freelance
journalist based in Goa. He is the co-founder of BytesForAll, a voluntary unfunded
venture focusing on how IT and the Internet can benefit the common man, particularly
in South Asia. To join the Bytesforall mailing list send a blank e-mail to email@example.com