Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rural Kiosks model to spread internet in Rural India

According to this news: Ltd, plans to deliver the government and other services to villagers through ICTs. They rely on the enterprise of local entrepreneurs supported by a central organisation and ICT infrastructure. Improving services to villages and increasing the economic viability of rural entrepreneurship through proprietary arrangements with the governments to provide services at lower than government costs are some of the stated aims. Its basic objective is to sensitise and promote the usage of ICT kiosks among users and the outside stakeholders. It advocates the need of basic accountability, timely reporting and spreading general awareness about new economy.

It has two roles: to expand and build the network and to sell services through the kiosks which it sets up. A kiosk is a multi-point service delivery channel in a village. The kiosk operator provides different kinds of services to villagers like computer education, insurance, digital photo studio and the Internet-based services. The kiosk is equipped with a computer, a digital camera and a photo printer. This project is in partnership with ICICI, Microsoft, Amaron. Advantage to ICICI is that it can offer financial products and services such as loans, investments and insurance through these kiosks.
I think, this project has a huge potential if the model is properly implemented. This is very similar to governments knowledge centre concept (or Abdul Kalam's PURA). However, as there is a wonderful business, so govt's role should be limited to service provider. I mean, Govt services should become add-ons to the total project. Govt should invest in educational issues, family planning, similar social issues. But it should not focus on setting-up the infrastructure. Otherwise, whole efficiency of this project may become a question. I am very happy that once ignored market of rural India is now a hot market and this fact has been realised by truly global players. So now changes will be rapid.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited (OSPGlobal, LLC)

Every Village a Knowledge Centre : Mission 2007

According to this news:

With its grand Mission 2007 project, the Chennai-based M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation plans to promote rural prosperity by focussing on an information and knowledge-led rural economy. Their dream of rural prosperity is all set to materialise in the current decade, thanks to the formation of a national alliance to make every village a knowledge centre by 2007 and the launch of Mission 2007 to achieve this goal.

The national alliance, which began with 40 members, now has over 100 partners, including government departments, public sector enterprises, industrial houses, philanthropic bodies, NGOs and international development agencies. The village knowledge centres will be organised and managed by ICT-based SHGs and NABARD is expected to provide Rs.1 lakh as loan to each centre. A cadre of one million grassroots level fellows would be created and they would function as the torchbearers of the knowledge revolution. Other key aspects to receive attention include gender mainstreaming of content, assured and remunerative market-linking of producers and purchasers, outsourcing of work from towns to villages, fostering SHGs and organising technical, financial and infrastructure resources.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited (OSP Global, LLC)

The hidden wealth of the rural poor

According to this news:

Financial services are at last spreading from the rich to the developing world—and even making money. In rich countries, financial services on the whole work remarkably well, despite the exotic salaries, the crackpot deals and the occasional bust. By contrast, financial services for poor people in developing countries—a business known as “microfinance”—have mostly been awful or absent so far.

At present, nobody knows how many institutions are providing microfinance in some form, but the number is certainly increasing. They are growing fast and serving a vast number of people in absolute terms, although still only a small proportion of the billions who earn only a few cents a day. Local banking giants that used to ignore the poor, such as Ecuador's Bank Pichincha and India's ICICI, are now entering the market. Even more strikingly, some of the world's biggest and wealthiest banks, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, HSBC, ING and ABN Amro, are dipping their toes into the water.
OSP India Information Security Private Limited (OSP Global, LLC)

Free Computers for Rural Communities and select individuals

Recent announcement of, a Hongkong based firm, unveils a very new business concept. It is planning to offer computers absolutely free for rural folks (even to NGOs, individuals, small rural companies, etc) of Latin America, China, India, Russia, Continental and Eastern Europe, South Africa, Mexico, the Philippines and West Asia.

Although it has not received media attention as expected, but I believe it will be a sensational news within few days.

First of all, is it a viable business model? Although Ms. Chen (CEO, is silent in this regard, some curious observers predicted the following.
This model could work -- but it might be difficult to attract the required sponsorship. Some Russian companies might be willing to pay up to $10 per computer annually to attract users from the targeted demographic to their sites. If could attract such companies for each of the 10 buttons, it would earn $500 over the maximum lifespan of the average PC, more than covering the cost of the lowest PCs currently on the market.
On the negative side, observers feel:
We do not see any lock-in value for the sponsor as the user may not use these keys at all. Coupled with this, the PC is connected to the internet through dial-up modems, when most of the internet connections now available operate on the broadband route.
Will it explode like 1GB free e-mail service or it busts like FreePC which attempted to distribute 10000 compaq machines in 1999?

If it succeeds, we will see radical changes in society towards computing. Which, in turn, means that we have seen only a fraction of IT revolution till date. I do hope so irrespective of practicalities.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited (OSP Global, LLC)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

African farmers share traditional knowledge

According to this news:
Farmers in Tanzania and Kenya are developing sustainable crop protection strategies — and spreading the word when they hit on a solution which works for them. When they observe positive results in the field, they spread the message via radio programmes, printed materials and traditional music and drama, so that farmers in other districts can try similar tactics. The initiative is part of the UK Department for International Development Crop Protection Programme. The programme builds on farmers’ traditional knowledge, adding scientific knowledge about pests, diseases and weeds and options for their management. In Tanzania’s Singida district, peasant farmers have been helped to develop traditional crop protection methods against seed-eating birds, mainly queleaquelea, as an alternative to expensive and damaging agrochemicals. They use traditional early warning information on the migratory patterns of the birds.

DFID Crop Protection Programme
Park House
Bradbourne Lane
Kent ME20 6SN
Fax: +44-1732 220498
Such a program can very well be replicated in India.

OSP India Information Security Private Limited (OSP Global, LLC)