Bridge the Digital Divide - Innovation at the Grass Roots
One of the members of GCMMF, the Banas dairy, has started a unique initiative called the Internet Sewa Project in their district called Banaskantha. This is a village-level effort at bridging the Digital Divide by providing information kiosks at the Village Cooperative level. Each village has one information kiosk, which is the single point of contact for Internet and other e-governance activities for the co-op. Official forms, educational applications and local market prices are provided at the information kiosk so that people do not have to travel all the way to the district headquarters for this information. Go to http://www.banas.chiraag.com to see an actual site. To address poor connectivity at some sites, the Banas dairy uses a wireless connection to the Internet. The wireless equipment is cheap since there is only a one-time setup charge and no recurring charges. To improve the farmer members' living standards and to facilitate affordable Internet access services, the district union has also become a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) using these Village Information Kiosks. Today the services are subsidised but the goal is for the kiosks to become self- supporting.