Wednesday, November 28

Microsoft - Democracy for India

Now this is fascinating and is not a joke at all. Check out this story and is absolutely amazing. The amount of usage of technology by the Governments in India is getting to be absolutely gobsmacking. Do you know every district headquarters is connected to the state and federal capital for many ministerial level information and communication needs? Many developed countries cannot claim that!

But read and applaud!

Microsoft SWARAJ for Panchayati Raj in India Prithwi November 28, 2007 | Entry. |

New Delhi: Microsoft on Tuesday launched a single integrated application SWARAJ for managing the information needs for all the five tiers of Panchayati Raj Panchayati Raj in India.

The solution would address the information needs for all the five tiers of Panchayati Raj including Ministry of Panchayati Raj at the central level, Panchayati Raj Departments at state level, District Administration at the district level, Panchayat Samitis and BDOs at the Block and Gram Panchayats at the village level, according to Microsoft.

Besides launching this state-of-the-art solution at the first Microsoft Government Leadership Summit here, India's Minister for Panchayati Raj and Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar also released a compendium of e-Governance initiatives in India titled 'India {e}nnovates'.

The application could run in both connected and un-connected scenarios and would provide critical information on schemes, funds, land and works besides baseline information to evolve Panchayats'
infrastructure and human development indices.

Having inbuilt analytical tools to study the data collected on a real time basis, the key difference from other solutions is that the monitoring of schemes, funds and works is today done by different applications which require the same data to be input multiple times, Microsoft said.

Through an integrated application, the data needs to be input only once and one application can provide the complete information any time, the company added.

Microsoft,  UPTU Initiative
Also at the Summit, Microsoft and the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to address the training requirements of technology students in the state.

As per the MoU, a training programme would be open to all final-year and pre-final-year engineering students (BE) graduating in computer science and information science as well as final-year students of the Masters in Computer Applications (MCA), the release stated.

The MoU, which involves an engagement for six months, starting in December 2007, is part of Microsoft's Education Alliance Program under which Microsoft endeavors to partner with the academic community—students, governments, teachers, educational institutes—to advance the cause of education in India.

In addition, Microsoft has allocated 300 projects for UPTU under Microsoft's Academic Projects Program and would also train 90 faculty members of UPTU on its latest technologies, the release said.

The Summit is envisaged as a platform for intellectual exchange amongst India's policy makers on the challenges and opportunities of driving innovation-led growth.

Key decision makers, academicians, senior representatives from both the central and state governments, industry think-tanks, as well as NGOs debated innovative ideas to enhance rural growth.

The sessions focused on local self governance as well as global best practices on e-Governance in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare, education and rural computing.

Initiatives like eChoupal and Project Bhoomi have shown how information access can empower the underserved.

These projects inspired Microsoft to launch initiatives like Saksham and Shiksha. Microsoft further informed that under Saksham, 50,000 kiosks had been set up across rural India in partnership with the government and under Project Shiksha, the company has so far reached over 200,000 teachers impacting 10 million students' lives.

It believes that education at every level remains crucial for India's continued growth and has chosen education as one of the focus areas under its recently launched Unlimited Potential vision in an endeavor to partner with India on its journey towards socio economic growth.

At the end of the training, one top student from each of the UPTU member colleges, selected through a test conducted at the end of the program, will have the unique opportunity to apply for Microsoft's Student Partner Program—an elite club of students around the world who are passionate about technology.

Speaking at the Summit, Microsoft India MD Neelam Dhawan said that the Government Leadership Summit is a milestone in the on-going efforts to realize the e-Governance vision for India wherein the company aims to foster collaboration with all stakeholders to spread e-Governance initiatives across the country.

She further added that Microsoft is committed to empowering the student community with the latest tools and technologies which will enable them to excel in the competitive market scenario.

Adding to it, Microsoft would also provide its assistance in other areas including providing access to the latest developer tools and select beta products to students, enabling them to better their market value, and setting up a portal for faculty members to share and communicate with other faculty worldwide under the Faculty Connection initiative.

The company also informed that it would offer a trainers' training program free of cost to select trainers identified by UPTU who will then go on to facilitate the three-month course.

Further extending the collaboration, UPTU would work with its member institutes and make available the required infrastructure for training and will also foster the formation of city-wide student user-groups, among other things, the release said.

At the summit, Microsoft has signed similar MoUs with governments and universities in Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
—iGovernment Bureau

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