Frederick Noronha (FN) on Thu, 22 Apr 2004 05:41:09 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> SOUTH ASIA: BytesForAll * May 2004

_/      B y t e s   F o r   A l l ---
_/      Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia
_/      MAR04 *

Prof Keniston on India

Old India hand and close-watcher of ICT-for-development initiatives Prof
Kenneth Keniston of MIT has recently published a new book titled 'IT
Experience in India', along with Deepak Kumar of Bangalore. Published by
Sage in March 2004, it is priced at Rs 250 (paperback) and Rs 425 (cloth).

This book explores whether modern ICTs can deliver on their promises of
democracy and prosperity for the people of developing nations who comprise
80 per cent of the world's population. In order to do this, this volume uses
lessons from the Indian experience -- a country where information technology
(IT) has made giant leaps, but which suffers from what has been described as
multiple 'digital divides'.

The contributors explore four such closely interrelated divides. The first
is internal -- between the digitally empowered rich and the poor.  The
second is a linguistic-cultural gap between English and other languages and
between 'Anglo-Saxon culture' and other world cultures.  The next gap is
underscored by disparities in access to information technology and between
rich and poor nations. Finally, there is the phenomenon of the 'digerati'.
This is an affluent elite possessing the appropriate skills and means to
take advantage of the ICTs.

Essays by V Balaji et al (Pondicherry), T H Chowdary (Indian telecom), Pat
Hall (IT and diversity), Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Bhaskar Ramamurthi
(telecom and regulation scenario), P D Kaushik (e-gov for the poor), Deepak
Kumar (digital development), Harsh Kumar (Indian languages), Rajeev Sangal
et al (digital resources in Indian languages), Anna-Lee Saxenian (the
Bangalore boom) and an introduction by Prof Keniston (The Four Digital

Export documentation

Udyog Software -- phone 022-36024366 / 011-33007634 -- is offering an export
documentation software. This promises customisable excise invoices, direct
posting from invoice to RG register and ER returns, Excise requirements of
manufacturers and traders and others, State Excise reporting and e-filing of
Excise returns. Email or call for a demo. 

Indian Ham

Lawrence MG <> recently announced a new mailing list
that would be of interest to all those interested in amateur radio in India.
To join the list, send a blank email to:  

eProcurement in India

Raj Kumar Prasad of the Commonwealth Centre for e-Governance (India Chapter)
recently announced that the Worldbank together with the Commonwealth
organisation have and Commonwealth Centre for e-Governance India has planned first
international conference on eProcurment in India on 3rd June 2004.

Says he: "eProcurment is integral part of e-Governance and SMART
Government." Details from Commonwealth centre for e-Governance India chapter
Delhi Mobile-9810063137

Dgroups list

Dgroups is a joint initiative of Bellanet, DFID, Hivos, ICA, IICD, OneWorld,
UNAIDS. To check out the mailing lists available via this server visit

List for Railways

A list for the Indian Railways? Yes, with a lot of interest in it too. See 

It might be of interest: there are over 5000 railway photographs in the
archive of this list. Other postings dealt with the Katra-Udhampur rail
link, a rail trip to Shimla, Mumbai's new EMU, and a lot more... 

See also

Consumer issues

And another one for consumer issues in India

Movie topics

This list has been set up by film buffs keen to build up Goa's film culture
prior to the shifting of the International Film Festival of India to India's
touristic state, in November 2004.

Why the list? Say ts promoters, Salil and Gayathri Konkar: "Cinema makes us
laugh, it makes us cry, it inspires and it thrills. Cinema gives us much
more than that: it gives us the opportunity to like and dislike, to argue,
to discuss and sometimes leaves us speechless. If you enjoy cinema just for
itself or if you are one of those who are hooked on films and loves to make
new friends and discuss films for hours on end, then: consider joining
Moving Images Film Club. Moving Images in collaboration with the
International Centre, Goa at Dona Paula (also the venue of the screenings)
will bring to you films and documentaries, popular and the classics, from
India and across the globe. The screenings are open to all and there is no

Bhagwad Gita on CD

Pune-based technology company Penfosys Private Limited has announced the
release of its mutimedia CD on the Hindu religious text, the Shreemad
Bhagawat Gita. This includes chanting by Swami Brahmananda and translations
by H.H.Swami Chinmayananda of Chinmaya Mission. Says its promoters: "This
CD-ROM is an ideal tool to initiate people of all ages into the philosophies
and messages of the Bhagawad Gita. It is a unique compilation of entire
Shreemad Bhagawad Gita in computer readable format. The audio from this CD
can also be listened to on a normal CD player that supports MP3 format."

Details from or email or call

Computer literate district

MALAPPURAM is India's first computer-literate district, reports the Milli
Gazette. See

Acharya features

Acharya recently featured on Drum Beat, a newsletter on communication for
development activities. See this multilingual software and online Sanskrit
lessons for the disabled; provided by the Indian Institute of Technology in
Madras as part of an effort to bring the benefits of ICT to all Indian

Noted in the Gulf

GNU/Linux enthusiasts in the Gulf region recently noted the arrival of a new
version of the Simputer.

Said Manoj Menon <> on the linux-middleeast mailing
list on "[GNU]Linux based PDA for less than 1000 AED ...
and best of all, it's made in India."


Responding to the reports about the Simputer, Gary Dunn <>
of the Open Slate Project wrote: "Several years ago I started a project
called Open Slate, with exactly this in mind. To date it has not generated
much interest. My web site is a bit moldy, but I think you will find it
interesting. If you are interested in working on Open Slate please drop me a
line."  See

Internet and poverty

"The Internet in developing nations: Grand challenges" by Larry Press, in
First Monday, volume 9, number 4 (April 2004)

For over a decade, we have hypothesized that the Internet could raise the
quality of life in developing nations. We have conducted hundreds of studies
of the state of the Internet and "e-readiness," done extensive training of
technicians and policy makers, run pilot studies, and held local, regional
and global conferences and workshops. After all of this activity, Internet
connectivity is nearly non-existent in rural areas of developing nations,
and far below that of developed nations in the urban areas of developing


G Karunakar <> recently announced the launch of an
Indian localisation e-newsletter. Says he: "The aim of this newsletter is to
highlight localization activities based on Free/Libre Open Source Software,
present a complete picture, and to serve as a mouthpiece for all
localization teams & their volunteers."

Its highlights include *  Bengali, Punjabi supported languages in Gnome 2.6,
Hindi and Tamil supported in KDE 3.2 * PCQLinux2004 with Indic support,
Devanagari & Gujarati Opentype fonts, Mozilla build with Indic support *
Sayamindu Dasgupta speaking on the Ankur Bangla project.

Read the complete issue at A pdf
of it is available at (238KB)

If you would like to recieve copy of newsletter regularly you can subscribe
to the mailing list

E-gov database

Any idea of a useful national database of e-governance projects in India?
Bytesforall ( reader Rama
Bhardwaj was just one of those enquiring about the same recently. 

Both she and another query about the use of ICT for coping with disasters
threw up some interesting debate and ideas. 

Open access health

Dr.Vinod Scaria <> recently announced his article
published at Plexus on Open Access for Health professionals and how Open
Access can be capitalised-on by developing world professionals. Full text

Also see the Open Access News Weblog which blogged this article:

Contacts: Dr.Vinod Scaria WEB: 
Email: Mobile: +91 98474 65452

Mapping malaria

S-Asia-IT mailing list recently reported this. Remote sensing technologies
combined with GIS can describe local and landscape-level features
influencing disease. Authors Aruna Srivastava and B.N. Nagpal present a
brief review of the use of GIS-based surveillance system to map the
distribution of Anopheles sundaicus, a coastal malaria vector in India.

For farmers

Government of India has constituted a High-level Commission called `National
Commission on Farmers (NCF)' under Som Pal, to examine various issues
confronting Indian farmers and to suggest appropriate interventions for
improving the economic viability and sustainability of diversified
agriculture. A website of NCF ( has been created for
generating a dialogue with the stakeholders on relevant issues. 

GNU/Linux CDs

ILUG-Delhi has set up a 'CD request' list. It invites people from other
cities in India to join this list "and make it an India-wide resource for
exchanging free software CDs".

bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, 2004. bYtES   _/
For aLL e-zine volunteers team includes: Frederick Noronha in Goa,      _/
Partha Sarkar in Dhaka, Zunaira Durrani in Karachi, Zubair Abbasi in    _/
Islamabad, Archana Nagvenkar in Goa, Arun-Kumar Tripathi in Darmstatd,  _/
Shivkumar in Mumbai, Sangeeta Pandey in Nepal, Rajkumar Buyya in        _/
Melbourne, Mahrukh Mohiuddin in Dhaka and Deepa Rai in Kathmandu.       _/
If you'd like to volunteer in any way, please get in touch.             _/
We need all the help we can get.                                        _/
BytesForAll's website is maintained by Partha       _/
Sarkar, with inputs from other members of the volunteers' team and      _/
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recent debates, visit _/
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at the bytesforall mailing list                   _/                     _/

Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa, India
f r e d @ b y t e s f o r a l l . o r g
Ph 832.2409490 / 832.2409783 Cell 9822 122436

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