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Naidu on mission to e-enable rural masses

Hyderabad, Jan. 3 – IT may sound far-fetched and unrealistic given the current state of the telecom infrastructure in the country, but the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, has embarked on a mission to empower people in rural tracts with the on-going e-revolution.

This he seeks to do so by developing what he describes as an `e-society’, which he expects will benefit the entire State populace.

After launching the `village secretariats’ earlier, which will pave the way for convergence in the rural tracts, Mr Naidu said that the Government was keen on linking up the entire database with local networks to empower people at the grassroots.

“Information is for everyone to benefit from. Having digitised data of about 76 million people covering 16 households across the State, the best way to make use of this data is to offer services at people’s doorstep,” he said.

“This we plan to link up with the AP Portal, which will be connected to the Andhra Pradesh State Wide Area Network (APSWAN) and local area networks and to computers in villages by reaching them out to across the State. The idea is to replicate the e-Seva project across the State, wherein a citizen can access any service from anywhere across the State.”

By the end of the year, Reliance Infocom, which is building an optical fibre cable connectivity backbone across the State, will be able to reach out to about 80 per cent of the villages.

“Based on this, we will be able to connect most of the villages,” Mr Naidu said.

But how will villagers benefit? Mr Naidu said, “In one go, we will be able to inform each and every villager about the various developmental programmes and also provide necessary information on farm inputs, prices, etc., without going to market yards.”

He added: “What used to take days and needed thousands of officials, we can do with this medium. More importantly, through various employment generation schemes, we will be able to spawn entrepreneurs offering services in villages.”

Mr Naidu also said: “This will not only empower villagers at the grassroots by providing vital farm and business related information, but also benefit them and the Government, as we will be able to take many services to the doorstep of the users bypassing middlemen.”

According to him, the Government is now in the process of networking mandals. “The connectivity of about 22,000 panchayats and co-operatives has also been initiated and by the end of the year, most of the villages across the State will be linked to the Internet.”