The users of information technology are almost confined to urban areas. But, needless to say this state is being changed. The world has 1.8 billion internet users and India is in the fourth position recording 81 million users. According to the recent survey conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the 70 percentage of Indian population are in rural sector where the users of internet have been rising to 24 million from 12.1 million. The survey says that the rising number of Net users in the rural India is due to the growing awareness about the internet and easier access. It must be noticed the project, Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI), as part of fast-tracking the penetration of internet use, has taken up the task to provide the facility of Public Access Internet Kiosks in rural India.
Another survey reveals that India expects 214 million broad band internet connections by 2014. India’s mobile user base has also recorded an outstanding growth of 45000 percentage from 1 million (1999) to 450 million (2009). Internet access on mobile phone has been an add-on to the total figure of internet users. The government has spent close to US$40 million on providing 100Mbps fiber broadband connections to 250,000 villages across India, and the first 10,000 are expected to be online by the end of the year of 2013. Launching of the first online village news portal, www.panancherynews.com, will be an endeavour to become part of the same pace of the sea change.
Www.panacherynews.com, an online news portal exclusively for Pananchery Grama Panchayath in Thrissur district in the state of Kerala, aims to bring about a robust IT/internet culture at village level. The modules like student’s corner, citizen journalism, Pravassikal (NRIs/NREs), agriculture etc. are the main attractions of this local news portal in the vernacular language, Malayalam.
The module of citizen journalism aims to stimulate the power of observation of villagers on their own surroundings and it is totally attributed to the people of our Grama Panchayath for citing their grievances/woes and reporting the news and events in their villages where they live. It would make sure that the voice of the villagers would be heard of by the concerned authority. And it would pave an increased bottom-up participation in the governance processes.
The module, student’s corner, is unique one. As a dynamic platform to exchange and extend knowledge and information, panancherynews.com would promote the creativity of students by offering a vast space on web where their works will get published. I am sure that the panancherynews would be a promising add-on in moulding up the potential and vibrant student folk who is determinant to the future of our nation.
It has been estimated that about 5000 people from our Grama Panchayath have been working in Indian states and overseas including Middle East, America and Europe. Even though the numerous online news portals are there, they provide little space for the news and events taken place in villages. The panancherynews portal instilling nostalgic feelings and pulses would be an ample media to access daily news and events related to their own village where they born and bought up.
The Module for Pravassikal will track to the close affinity and intimacy of the Pravassikal with their own village. The panancherynews portal would also provide them (the Pravssikal from our Panchayath) a vast space to publish their works sketching out their better and bitter experiences derived from the lifecycle in abroad.
The module, Charity, is expected to be a channel to extending the philanthropic activities of the Pravassikal to their own village.
Relevant real-time information like commodity prices, local weather, agri news can also been accessed from the panancherynews as part of the farmers’ interest. Indeed, an agri-extension framework has been placed on this portal.
This local/rural level online news portal in vernacular language, www.panacherynews.com, is expected to be a strong tool in inculcating the tremendous scope of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) among the rural folk. Its mission is to transform the Pananchery Grama Panchayath into a center of resource, knowledge and information by utilizing and disseminating the optimum scope of ICTs.
Our longing is to become part of transforming the rural landscape of Kerala by replicating the local online news portal like panancherynews in vernacular language in every grama panchayths in our state. Such drive would be a robust tool to pave a digital track in integrating the news and events being taken place in every village. And it would also be a direct link to make the policy/decision makers understand the demands and grievances/woes of the villagers who comprise 70 percent of the population.
Instrumental to Government
For achieving financial inclusion and economic growth, the Information and Communication Technology can play an important role by increasing effective access and improving delivery and governance in services. The key issue is how technology can be harnessed for improving the efficacy of the services with the minimal of the transaction costs involved. 833.5 million Persons live in rural areas as per Census 201. As the majority of the Indian population lives in rural areas, there is an urgent need to deliver services to them in a cost effective way with time-bound manner and assured quality.
Age-old administrative lethargy and procedural bottlenecks make inordinate delay in citing the issues/demands/woes of the rural people before the ultimate decision makers (ministers) and it is quite natural that results in public resentment against the government. A government which is very keen on retains the power in consecutive terms must not allow to raise such inauspicious political situation.
In this era of information, the local online news portal like panancherynews in vernacular language would be an innovative tool in cementing the healthy rapport between the government and the rural folk. It is also a virtuous platform to publicize the government programmes and governmental achievements, which are the determinant to bagging votes in the elections. Of course, outreach of the governmental achievements has a pivotal role in retaining power. Here the public exchequer, to a certain extent, could also save the cores of rupees being spent against the publicity focusing governmental achievements. Importantly, this powerful online tool needed to be used to integrate and consolidate the functions and events taken place in all Grama Panchayaths, launching an integrated rural online portal, 999.com ( there are 999 grama panchayths in Kerala). The portal, 999.com , is expected to be a great solution exchange platform among the Local Self Governments (LSGs) and the rural folk in Kerala.
Please log onto our own news portal www.panancherynews.com for further details
http://www.panancherynews.com the first online village news portal in india, launched on July 02, 2011