Rural IT kids dream of replicating brand Bangalore back home

November 8th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 8 (IANS) As India’s silicon hub, brand Bangalore is not just global, but also catching up fast with rural IT kids in Karnataka to replicate its success story in villages.The dream of taking benefits of IT revolution to rural masses began to unfold for two smart teenagers hailing from Brahmavar coastal town in Dakshina Kannada district when they won the ‘Rural IT Quiz’ contest on the second day of Bangalore 2008 here late Friday.

The duo - Prashanth Pai and Snehith Periera of SMS Pre-University Science College - have vowed to take IT products and services to Brahmavar, about 400 km from this tech hub, and to use these to bridge the digital divide.

“Since my boyhood, I have been preparing to be a part of the IT revolution, which began in Bangalore over a decade ago. My knowledge about the industry helped us win the tough competition,” Pai told IANS at the event, held in the royal Bangalore Palace grounds.

Pai wants to study computer engineering and become an entrepreneur to set up an IT firm in his home town, where fruits of the IT revolution in Bangalore are yet to reach.

Endorsing Pai, Periera said he too would like to incubate an IT start-up at his native place and contribute to the development of the home district instead of working for an Indian tech firm or multinational in Bangalore.

“It’s time the IT industry left comfort zones and reached out to towns and villages to benefit the locals with native talent. Even youngsters from rural areas are forced to migrate to cities due to lack of opportunities to develop skills,” said Periera.

To reverse the trend, Periera intends to use his domain skills to help other youngsters realise their dreams by setting up a company at Brahmavar after graduating in engineering.

The quiz contest had all elements of suspense, tension and excitement. The students in the six best teams, who qualified for the finals, impressed the audience with their wealth of knowledge about the IT industry and drew rounds of applause from their urban counterparts.

“It’s a great feeling to see rural youth answer such tricky questions related to the IT industry. Their performance demonstrates we have a wealth of talent pool even outside Bangalore and need to tap them at the earliest,” said quiz partner Nagaraj Ijari, who is also the vice-president of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

The quiz competition, a joint initiative of the state government and TCS, has been designed to bring young talent to light in the IT field and to nurture it.

The ninth annual event attracted a whopping 1.2 million students from eighth to 12th standards in rural schools across the state over the last two months.

By scoring 60 marks in the quiz finals, Pai and Periera bagged a trophy, TCS scholarship of Rs.75,000 and a portable DVD player. The first and second runners-up were also given trophy, TCS scholarships of Rs.35,000 and Rs.20,000 respectively and cell phones.

The quizmaster was Giri Balasubramaniam, popularly knows as Big Brain. He has 900 quiz shows across India and other South Asian countries to his credit.

“I like to be a part of the IT revolution in my district. Though Bangalore has become the IT hub of India, yet the industry has to make an impact in rural areas of the state,” said 14-year-old Rakshitha H.M. from Carmel Convent at Mandya, about 100 km from Bangalore.

In her opinion, the state government has to help students gain proficiency in soft skills like knowledge of English, a must for IT industry to fare better in the sector. “I am sure many youngsters like me will be able to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in terms of overall development with holistic approach,” Rakshitha noted.

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