Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Oct 18, 2004
Industry & Economy
Info-Tech - E-Governance
PM to inaugurate village resource centre today ISRO-MSSRF project to provide satellite-based rural interface
Bangalore , Oct. 17
THE stage is set for the beginning of a unique satellite-based rural interface meant to serve a variety of community needs.
The interactive project will start on Monday with three towns in Tamil Nadu and provide locale-specific information to the local communities on education, health, nutrition, farming, weather, drinking and irrigation water and vocation.
The village resource centre (VRC), jointly set up by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) and the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, will be inaugurated from New Delhi by the Prime Minister, according to ISRO.
Through the resource centre, the villagers of Thiruvaiyuru, Thankatchimadam and Sempattican can access services such as tele-education, telemedicine, online decision support, interactive farmers' advisory services, tele-fishery, e-governance services, weather services and water management. It can double up as a virtual community learning centre, or bring speciality hospitals and doctors virtually to the village.
Technologically, ISRO says, the project will be a rare blend of the services of a communication satellite, the earth resource survey capabilities of its remote sensing satellites, and will be realised on ground in the villages through IT tools. The application is meant to transform the lives and livelihoods of rural residents by providing them basic information and services.
The data and services can be anything related to cropping pattern, weather, farming and fisher folk advisory, sea safety, disaster alert and management to land records, natural resources, location of drinking water or recharge of ground water, reclaimable waste land, rural employment, watershed and environment.
The centre will also open up possibilities for online interaction between local farmers and agricultural scientists. It can also be tapped for details of Government schemes, farming action plans and advice to the community.
According to the ISRO spokesman, the space organisation wants to replicate the model in other States with local NGOs and agencies involved in community development.
"The VRC project is the first step in the ambitious and challenging task of providing a brighter future for more than six lakh villages by connecting them to the world of opportunity and growth."
The system is based on a VSAT network linked to an INSAT-3A transponder. The hub at the MSSRF office in Chennai is connected two-way with a node or a kiosk, in each of the three towns.
People from any one of these towns can fully interact with those at any of the other three nodes through audio or video links. The reach of each node can be further extended to neighbouring clusters using wi-fi, wireless technologies and optical fibre.
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