Non Governmental Organizations | NGOs India | NGOs in Bangalore | NGOs in India

In the following subsections we discuss the role of ICTs in different developmental sectors. Both urban and rural citizen consumers may benefit from ICT projects by receiving: (i) enhanced access to information and communication across large distances, (ii) improved access to governmental and quasi-governmental resources and services, (iii) opportunities to trade or bank online through kiosks, (iv) opportunities to design, manufacture and market their products through internet or intranet systems, (v) education through computers or about computers or both, and (vi) superior medical advice, diagnosis or knowledge in their own locality.
This listing is by no means encyclopedic, and is intended only as a guide to the unfolding landscape. Social Investors and Social Entrepreneurs are invited to think of these resources as an incomplete tool-kit, or kit-of-parts, that may be assembled together for new and innovative applications, experiments, and project. Certain specialized application areas, including Global Information Systems (GIS), and Agri-input initiatives, for example, have been omitted for clarity and space.
Technology & Infrastructure Developments
The three major hurdles to the use of Information Technology in rural areas of South Asia have been: (i) inappropriate software (ii) expensive hardware and (iii) weak telecommunications infrastructure. In each of these fields, however, the landscape is slowly changing.
The Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC; http://www.cdacindia.com) has been working on Indian language fonts and software for over a decade. Most state-sponsored IT initiatives, as well as many rural ICT projects, now use their fontographic standards, if not their text-processing software. In another significant development, a machine language translation project based in Hyderabad called Anusaraka (www.iiit.net/anu/anu_home.html) promises to allow Indian language users translation between various Indian languages, as well as access to English language resources on the web.
As even occasional computer users will be aware, the cost of hardware is continuously falling, such that computers that were state-of-the-art 3 or 4 years ago, are now available for a fraction of their original cost. Those computers – or, indeed, new computers configured just like them – are still good for basic text-processing, email, and browsing functions. In addition, however, new entrants into the basic computing market such as the Simputer (www.simputer.org) and the iStation (www.inablers.net) have been specifically designed for a mass market, including both urban and rural users.
As mentioned above, Wireless-in-Local-Loop and related technologies have emerged as a cheaper, smarter form of telecom infrastructure, in comparison with traditional wire telephony. The TeNet Group (tenet.res.in) at the IIT-Madras has been at the frontline in developing technology solutions designed to improve telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas. The group has incubated several companies that work up and down the value chain in this sector, including, most recently, n-Logue Communications, which is working as a rural internet service provider.

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