Baramati to focus on ICTs for communities

March 10th, 2008 - 12:23 pm ICT by admin  

By Frederick Noronha
Bangalore, March 10 (IANS) It’s an event that links techies, development campaigners, agricultural scientists and others to help “integrate the rural community into the digital world”. Welcome to the Baramati Initiative. The Maharashtra city of Baramati, surrounded by the agricultural lands of Pune district, will host the annual event for the eighth time during March 23-26 this year.

In a region where Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar looms large, the initiative will focus on the theme of information and communication technology (ICT) and development.

Vidya Pratishthan’s Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), the Pawar-linked engineering and educational institution that sits with its plush buildings in what seems to be the heart of grassroots India, started this series of conferences along with US Digital Partners.

This year’s conference is called ICT for Communities — Scale and Economic Benefits. It will focus on scale and the economic benefits of ICT on communities throughout the “developing world”.

“During this conference, we will explore how the government, NGOs, development agencies and corporates can work to successfully scale the ICT projects and measure its economic benefits to the rural economy,” principal Amol Goje, director of VIIT, Baramati, told IANS.

Its focus will include looking at the use of technology in improving the quality of education, healthcare, innovative good practices in broadband, e-agriculture, e-health and shared access.

It will also look at the “challenges and imperatives” of scale to ensure a significant impact from an international development agency perspective.

Broadband and ‘last mile’ solutions (for reaching the distant potential users of technology) to scale ICT projects will be looked at, as will the different possible models. Some focus will go to the need for new devices and business models for content service providers for scale.

Those whose participation has been announced include Intel World Ahead Program vice president John Davies. One session will look at suitable broadband policies for education, healthcare and shared access.

Conference organisers said the event would showcase projects not only from India but also from across the “developing world”. The event is to be addressed by Pawar and Communications and IT Minister A. Raja. Business heads, representatives of international development agencies and others are to take part as well.

This event’s site is at

In 2006, the sixth Baramati Initiative looked at ICT in agriculture, and the potential of e-agriculture. ICT and health was the theme in 2007.

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