Our Bureau

Pune, Dec. 5

IF Dr M. S. Swaminathan had his way, then by 2007, at least one-lakh villages across India would be connected.

Talking to presspersons, he said to achieve this 5Cs were necessary - connectivity, content creation, capacity building, care and management of the centres and co-ordination with other service providers.

He said many departments including information technology, Panchayati Raj and local bodies had already begun the work and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which has already covered about 80 per cent of the country through their lines, would act as the rural information centre. He said the content creation would be location specific and would have a content consortium.

Dr Swaminathan also noted that Hyderabad would host the second National Virtual Congress for Farmers, an initiative of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar.

He said during the programme about 12 knowledge centres would be connected and would be given one and half hours for question-answer sessions. He said there was also a proposal to provide employment to the wives of farmers who had committed suicide.

These women would be given the opportunity to operate these knowledge centres, if they had studied till tenth standard. He also said about 200 people from 10 States including 150 women would be inducted as fellows into the Congress.

This congress was being conducted jointly with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he said. Dr Swaminathan also pointed out that it was time for the `ever green revolution' to take place in the country. He said that due to the increasing requirement of land for construction, the prime land for farming was shrinking and it was high time that policies to protect these lands were put in place. He said instead of targeting the prime farm land, about 30 per cent of the land, which was in various stages of degradation, could be used for the construction activities and noted that the year 2006 should be dedicated as the "year of agricultural renewal and soil health enhancement".

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 6, 2005)
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