The Jig Saw

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

2 steps forward 3 steps backward

So here is what I want to do ...

The idea started from deploying PC in rural India and imparting IT education and training. Corporate change their computers every 3 years and these machines are in good condition. These could be used in rural areas. That was the basic concept. However it has changed considerably now.

The new new thing is 'affordable computing' .. making a PC with a basic configuration and providing financial support to the customer in rural areas, to encourage purchase of PC. Well you build a PC, a basic stripped down version that does word processing and allows you to surf the web. We can't compete with the Nehru Place and Lamington Roads of the world .. when it comes to cutting cost on hardware (and software!) and besides that selling individuals PCs needs too much of bandwidth and as a start up that would be tough. Thus the idea of small 5-10 PC units in a network - thick server -thin client models and tie up with NGOs/ Panchayats/ local entrepreneur who can buy these for their village and further use these to generate income.

Also we could tie up with financial institutions and provide these people micro credit facilities to purchase these machines.

The idea is still fluid and I am just collating information and looking for like minded people. A lot of work is already being done in this area... NGOs, government agencies, corporate and some small Pvt limited companies. At a later stage we could also look at using any form of technology for rural India. Thats the vision :) There is a lot of work that needs to be done .. Technically on the machines, finding out from villagers if they need this .. micro credit .. income generation methods .. and the list is endless. ..

Please rip apart the idea.. and I'd love to argue and defend!

4 Comments:

  • what do you mean by a thick server, thin client..care to elucidate? I still dont understand what aid this model would give to a villager in supplementing income?

    By Blogger Amit Gaur, at 8:26 PM  

  • Hi Sal,

    The plan is ambitious and a good one. After the STD/ISD/PCO revolution, this is the next logical step. Although to get corporates I think you will have to do a lot of convincing in terms of the long-term and short term benefits for them and for the rural community.

    What happens when the computers do reach the village though ? What is the next step ? Will there be a training program in place ? Wouldn't language be a major barrier ? Wouldn't education to a certain level and a working knowledge of English be a prerequisite to using computers .. wherever? Or is the plan to get the next generation to "grow up" with computers and bypass the current generation ?

    Also, I too have the same question as Amit .. how does a rural community benefit financially by having computers ?

    By Blogger Mustali Barma, at 10:42 PM  

  • I have pretty much the same question as mustali does.Will the average adult in rural india really look forward to this as a possible means of income?
    Improving the standard of living might be a higher priority of an adult individual living in a village.Of course on the other hand this is a surely a great opportunity for childred in the schools.This is already in effect in some areas of the country.Corporate india might want to invest some money in this venture.

    By Blogger AD, at 3:28 AM  

  • Hi Saloni,
    Well your idea is great. As to the various queries raised, Indian language computing is fast becoming a reality and so is e-governance. In Karnataka there is a working model of an e-gov application which allows people to access land records, get certificates printed (don't ask me what certificates). So your idea of taking computers to village is just the first step towards e-governance. I also believe there is a group working in Maharashtra on a similar project. All the best.

    By Blogger M.Sandeep, at 6:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home