Taking Broadband and WiFi to where it doesnt Go [Hint: Rural areas]

Big Telecom always runs behind big money. Telecom companies are not interested to provide voice or data services in rural areas due to various reasons. That is the reason the Government of India brought in the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to cross subsidise rural service providers to cover the losses they make.

Reliance Jio was the first company to get pan India license to roll out 4G services and they choose 5000 towns in India covering 90% of the urban population and some 215,000 villages. Jio acquired pan-India airwaves in the 2300 MHz band four years ago but is yet to roll out services.

Reliance Jio is expected to launch services soon well ahead of the May 2015 deadline under licence conditions. Reliance Jio is said to be planning for services like live TV (Jio Play), video-on-demand (Jio World), Cloud-based sync and storage (Jio Drive), and video calls over 4G network and other apps.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Reliance jio rolled out 4G public wifi but doubts were raised about the actual speeds. The service was launched by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi under the e-Nagar project. But the irony of the face is that with 150 KM (100 miles) of Ahmedbad even 2G connectivity is hard to come by. All free Wifi zones are highly urbanized areas or in restricted places like Airports and malls.

In India WiFi is available in all sorts of places except rural areas. The first step is always the urban area and rural areas receive step motherly treatment. The urban areas have multiple access options for internet, while the rural areas are left with no option. That is why in Mexico the Talea De Castro, a rural community set up its own mobile network.

It took the country 10 years to go from 10 million Internet users to 100 million Internet users. Now the country is adding five million new Internet users every month. India now has over 200 million Internet users. This year the number ofInternet users in India will surpass that of U.S. and it will be 500 million by 2018, most of it is likely to be urban users than rural users.

Hon. PM Narendra Modi spelt out a vision for Digital India from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014 in his Independence Day speech. Digital India project’s main aim is to “transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy”.

Nine growth areas identified under Digital India are:

  1. Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  2. Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  3. Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  4. eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  5. e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
  6. Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  7. Electronics manufacturing
  8. IT for Jobs
  9. Early harvest program

Government of India spelt out a vision of providing fibre optic connectivity to 250,000 village by 2017. But the ambitious National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) is already facing trouble when companies like BSNL, Railtel and other backbone owners are reluctant to let out their excess capacity.

About a third of India’s 252 million internet users, and a fourth of mobile internet users, are in rural areas. But internet penetration in villages, at 8.6% compared to 37.4% in cities, has a long way to go, and this is the statistics Digital India hopes to change. Broadband in India is currently defined as a connection with a minimum download speed of 512 kilo bytes per second (kbps), and India’s broadband penetration is a lowly 2%. Broadband connected villages can transform the lives of people, connect them with livelihood opportunities and bridge the knowledge divide.

As per a World Bank report, a 10% increase in a country’s broadband connections leads to a 1.38% rise in its gross domestic product. This Rural-Urban divide and the Digital Divide has to be addressed quickly and with full force if we are to fully utilize the contribution of the Rural sector to the economy.

It is imperative to look into other options to make rural broadband and rural wifi as a profitable proposition in rural areas. There is a need to create new models of broadband access depending on local needs and resources. Left to the market forces the Broadband is not going to go all places that we want it to.

Want to be a change agent in India – Your New PM wants You

Reaching out to people particularly youth is no new thing PM designate Narendra Modi. He has proved his mettle in savvy usage of technology and social media to connect with Youth Voters msot of which were first time voters too. From conducting google hangouts to tweeting he has been there and dont that.

It is no wonder that he is building his next army of social change using the motivated crowd that want to be the change and make the change. The target now is “Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat”

You can sign up as a volunteer at this page.

ekbharat shreshth bharat

In gujarat there is a scheme called Shramdhan where any aam aadmi can sign up to work on projects and contribute upto 100 hours of social work to government. Its a new way of engaging citizens directly harnessing ideas and energy to government goals.

The focus of the next five years is going to be sanitation and cleanliness. In fact varanasi has already started shramdaan to clean up its areas. We can expect more such activities pan-india scale. Go ahead Sign Up and Be the Change that you want to see in India.

Here the Government – By the Crowd, For the Crowd and Of the Crowd.

Is this tweet by Narendra Modi when he won, the most Retweeted one?

On 16th May 2009 at 12.09 PM Narendra Modi the then PM candidate of BJP and now to-be sworn in PM tweeted that India has Won. He is the first person to who was born after independence to become PM. This elections set  records in many ways. The live tweet is embedded below.

When Barack Obama was re-elected his social media team sent out a tweet which Govpreneur covered. The tweet is embedded below.

While he is social media savvy Narendra Modi still has a long way to go in making retweet records. Going forward we can see many more historic moments on twitter. May you live in interesting times.

 

Make a Drone for Good and win One Million Dollars – UAE Govt

drone for good

Gone are the days when Drones were used for killing in conflict areas. Civilian applications for drones have come of age and the UAE Government offers USD 1 Mn to promising prototypes that may benefit humanity.

There is a also prize of one millon AED for UAE nationals in the national competition.

Here is the details.

The International competition is dedicated to rewarding the most promising prototypes of future services that may benefit humanity at large.

Submissions must be able to demonstrate a working prototype that could conceivably be developed into a working system within the next 1 to 3 years.

The goal of the international competition is to highlight the most advanced research into UAVs and drones and accelerate their application in humanitarian, development and public service applications.

Eligibility
  • The International competition is open to anyone in the world.
  • Individuals, teams, or companies are eligible.
  • An individual, team or company may submit up to three (3) separate entries.
  • Eligible participants from the National competition may also enter the International competition as well.
Criteria

Submissions must:

  • Be forward looking and use the most advanced civilian UAV technology available
  • Describe the human need
  • Describe the proposed solution for meeting that need
  • Describe how it will be done

Submissions can suggest new ways of improving an existing service using drones, or new kinds of services that could be practically and economically implemented through these technologies.

Submissions must also be:

  • Fully autonomous
  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Economical
Categories

Submissions to the International competition can address any human need, service improvement or public good. This could include:

  • Disaster relief
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Economic development
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Civil defense
  • Logistics
  • Environment
  • Etc.

Concepts need not be 100% ready to deploy today, but must push the boundaries of what may be possible in the coming 1 to 3 years.

This could include applications to disaster relief, humanitarian aid, or any number of government services or useful applications.

Timeline & Key Dates

The International competition has three phases:

  • Phase 1: Open Call – 11th of May to 1st of August, 2014
  • Phase 2: Semi-finals – 15th of August to 15th of November, 2014
  • Phase 3: Finals – 1st of December, 2015 to 1st of January, 2015
Phase 1: Open Call

Phase 1 begins on the 11th of May. The goal of Phase 1 is to come up with the best idea for improving human lives through drone-based services. Participants have until the 1st of May to complete their registration, create a 2 minute video describing their idea, and submit a video to the competition website. A long-list of semi-finalists will be announced by the 1st of August.

Phase 2: Semi-finals

Phase 2 begins on the 15th of August, with the announcement of the long-list of semi-finalists. The goal of Phase 2 is to describe a complete technical solution for your service idea. Semi-finalists will need to submit a detailed technical proposal describing how their service idea will be delivered. Full technical documentation must be upload to the competition website by the 15th of November, 2014.

Phase 3: Finals

The final round of the International competition begins on the 1st of December, 2014 with the announcement of the short-list of finalists. The goal of the Final Phase is to address concerns raised in Phase 2 and demonstrate the actual service. Finalists must prepare a short presentation outlining the technical, functional and economic aspects of their service, as well as perform a live demonstration in front of a panel of judges in Dubai on January 1st, 2015. The winner will be selected and announced one month later at the Government Summit in Dubai, February 8th, 2015.

Award
  • All semi-finalists of the International competition will receive $5,000 USD to develop and improve their prototype.
  • All finalists for the International competition will be flown to Dubai, UAE for the final presentation and award, with their accommodation and other expenses covered.
  • The 1st place winner of the International competition will receive $1 million USD.
How to Submit

To submit, participants must do the following:

Phase 1: Open Call
  • Step 1: Register on this website
  • Step 2: Upload a 1 to 2 minute video describing your service concept
    Your Video submission should:

    • Describe the service need
    • Describe the proposed solution for meeting that need
    • Describe how it will be done
    • Be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video-sharing website, set to private, and the link should be pasted into the submission form.
  • Step 3: Describe your service idea in 500 words or less
Phase 2: Semi-Finalists

A group of candidates from the open call will then be selected as semi-finalists. They will be selected based on the quality of their idea, the importance of their service, and the feasibility of their concept.

Semi-finalists will be invited to submit a detailed technical proposal that must include:

  • Detailed description of the service including:
    • 3 to 5 minute video
    • 2,000 to 5,000 word write-up describing the full service
  • A technical report detailing:
    • Plans & schematics of how it will work
    • Components used
    • Flight time, speed and range
    • Operating system
    • Take off and landing
    • Power source
    • Avionics, sensors / optics
    • Cargo system
    • Tracking / management system
    • Etc
  • Estimated cost
  • Safety, security and regularity issues raised
  • Other limitations of the service and proposed solutions

Semi-finalists will be judged by a dedicated Technical Committee from around the world, based on their assessment of the feasibility and technical aspects of the proposed service.

Phase 3: Finalists

A small group of finalists will then be selected from the semi-final proposals. Finalists will be flown to Dubai in January to give a live presentation and demonstration of their service in front of a panel of final judges. The winner will be chosen and announced one month later, on February 8th, 2015, at the Government Summit in Dubai.

In their presentation Finalists must:

  • Describe the service
  • Describe the need
  • Describe the technical system
  • Describe the feasibility of the approach
  • Address any technical concerns raised by the Technical Committee

Points will be awarded based on the importance of the service, the feasibility of the proposal, the strength of the presentation, and the results of the live demonstration. The winner will be selected by the Judging Panel and announced at the Government Summit 2015.

Track the Great Indian Election on Facebook

Facebook Launched India Election Tracker app to provide a live stream of the candidates. The app also has a poll section. It displays the leading candidates and parties on a real time basis based on the mentions on facebook.We can view the results of the ranking for the last 7 days.

facebook election tracker

Apart from the tracker, facebook also launched a feature called Facebook Talks where a video show with interaction from the politicians are being held. Recently Narendra Modi was to be the first guest of this multi-screen multi-platform live show. But later he decided not to participate and the show launched on March 04, 2014 with Arvind Kejriwal as the first guest.

Google has also launched a Election Page which contains the latest news and happening on the Election. The page is bi-lingual.

Save the Hacker – An event to fight the mediocrity trend in Technology

save the hacker

Save the Hacker – An event to fight mediocrity among coders.

Save the Hacker is a two-day hackathon organized by Freshdesk, meant for college students who want to demonstrate their talent and smart engineers who are stuck in an IT services company. If you feel like you are one of them, stuck, with nowhere to go, here’s your last chance at redemption. Code your heart out for two days straight, show us what you have, and while at it, win some great prizes.

Not long ago hackers went out their way to make stuff that made a difference. Today they are mired in corporate red tape, mundane rules and corporate bull shit. Writing awesome code didn’t really matter anymore, work lives became a 9-5 thing and god-level geeks allowed themselves to pursue strategic mediocrity. Today, the hacker is a dying species, endangered by pointless hierarchies, outrageous dress codes, and teammates who are hell-bent on being lazy. But wait, there’s still hope.

Save the Hacker will take place at the Freshdesk office in Chennai on March 1-2, 2014.

Registrations are free and will be open until the 25th of February. You can compete in a team of up to 4 people or be a lone wolf.

You can build a web or mobile app. Coding must be started during the hackathon only. No reusing existing stuff. At the end of the hackathon, you will be asked to give a 5 minute demo of your project to a panel of judges. We’ll be evaluating it based on the original idea, the completeness, and the technical challenge that went behind building your app.

If you’ve got questions, shoot them an email: rescue@savethehacker.com

We will be offering cash prizes of Rs.1,00,000 (and maybe something else) for the winners.

WordPress in Government – SWOT Analysis and Strategies -[video]

The past month has been very busy for me with Republic Day celebrations. But it was also special because i had a chance to present my ideas on WordPress in Government to a big group of WordPress movers and shakers who got together at WordCamp Baroda. It was a great experience to connect with WP guys and gals and discuss about the software the web loves. I also met Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud whose blog has been a great resource for me over the years.

WordPress can help you make a change, create an impact no matter wherever you are, whatever you do. It empowers you to make a change. In the Goverment sector there is a lot of unexplored potential for WordPress. I have been using WordPress personally for many years now. There were some new and interesting projects i did using wordpress. I have discussed my experiences of these projects in the talk.

Some ideas i have discussed are:

Innovation is putting technology or concept in the right context.

WordPress has helped me be a leader in my area of work.

Government is a creator and enabler of platforms.

WordPress is the best tool to start your digital presence.

Watch the video below:

Presentation on Slideshare

Rail Radar HotSpots Allows You to Plan Your Journey without Disruption.

One of my post on Rail Radar at Govperneur blog crossed 6000 pageviews . It was an unexpected but pleasant milestone. So i went back and reviewed the article. To my utter dismay i found that the Rail Radar project which was covered in the article has been closed down and link now redirects to the National Train Enquiry Service (NTES)  website of the Indian Railways (CRIS).  On further digging i found that the project which was lauched in partnership with Rail Yatri has been shelved in favour of a new interface (supposedly user friendly) developed by CRIS  in this article.

In that article i had shared that this project marks a major milestone in the digital governance highway the Indian railways is cruising in. With the closing of this project in favour of the new inhouse interface by CRIS the project has moved backwards.  However not to be left behind, Rail Yatri (Stelling Technologies) has created Rail Radar Hotspots. This site provides train movements as per scheduled timings (since CRIS is maintaining its monopoly of train movement data) and also highlights the hotspots which are likely disrupt your travel.

Rail Radar by Rail Yatri

RailRadar™ HotSpots is a live tracker of spots of significant events and incidents called as ‘HotSpots’ occurring across the country which has or has the potential of impacting train travel in India. This live tracker is shown on an interactive map and allows users to locate these HotSpots across the country. It also helps determine if any of the scheduled train has the potential of getting impacted by it.

The effects of these HotSpots vary in terms of severity. Some of the known after-effects which we have tracked are as follows –

  • Widespread cancellation of services (partial or fully)
  • Changes in time schedule or route schedule
  • Delays
  • Rush in trains, unavailability of seats, etc.
  • Accidents/Mishaps
  • Increase in crime.
  • Increased cost of travel

It is difficult to predict a complete list of events or incidents which can impact train travel. However, one can take clues from past events/incidents over the years which have resulted in train travel getting affected in adverse manner. Some of them are –

  • Accidents, Mishaps, Breakdowns
  • Engineering & Construction work and maintenance
  • Significant public gatherings
  • Weather, Natural Calamity, etc.
  • Man-made disruptions
  • Events which cannot be explained or be attributed to – but typically are outcome of Chaos Theory or Domino Effect.

Every year thousands of such reported across the nation which has resulted in significant impact on travel.

Over the last decade, train network and traffic in India have grown tremendously. Indian Railways expects this trend to continue over the next few decades. Also increasingly Indian Railways passengers today want to know more – beyond just ‘an’ ETA of ‘a’ train at ‘a’ station. As the volume and complexity of information increases – we believe that new methods of information dissemination (associated with Trains) will be required. RailRadar™ is one such attempt on that line. We believe that value of information/directions can greatly be enhanced when presented graphically rather than just plain text.

RailRadar™ HotSpots is one such representation of information dissemination mechanism associated with events which can significantly impact train travel in India.

How this affects us?

The larger public interest is affected as CRIS is trying to maintain its monopoly of train data. They should release it as API and allow for innovation. Many innovations are possible like this Wake up call System called Pyka.

The Government has embarked on a mission to promote Open Data and to bring more information into the public domain. Much of the information published there are just statistics. It will be game changer if government takes a proactive approach in releasing such data that are relevant to large section of the population day in and day out.

This my friends represents the challenge and opportunity for Govpreneurs. What other data can be released by the Government that can have a major impact in citizen friendly government. Share your comments.

Credits – FAQs at Rail Radar Hotspots

How to Ask Your Government and Get answers for Public Interest Questions

askyourgovt.in

Information is the Anti-dote to Corruption.

Public Minded citizens are now asking various questions under RTI and making the bureaucracy dispense the information. Question Hour of the Parliament is considered the toughest time for ruling government where legislators ask questions and government is bound to answer. When RTI Act came into force the power to ask questions became available to the Aam Aadmi. Like legislators now even bureaucrats fear about the RTI Questions. It keeps them on their toes.

Most requests in RTI are made for personal issues/work. But when a question of larger public interest is made it becomes relevant to a lot of people. Ask Your Government  is a community around asking public interest questions. Citizens can start with knowing about RTI, How to Ask, Browse RTI requests and Responses or by reading public reactions. This will help in galvanizing the community to deliberate on issue of public interest.

The site also contains FAQs on RTI. The RTI Act is also available for download in 10  indian languages.

The facility to ask RTI questions online and publicly is available in many other countries. What do they Know of  UK, Ask the EU of  European UnionKosovo and Brazil are some good examples. What stifles the RTI movement in India is the need for payment of Rs,10/- as fees. If that requirement is waived off public authorities can be made to provide information online.

It will a great innovation if a Govpreneur can provide a service for Public Offices to provide information under the act using online platforms on payment of fees. Such an initiative is already underway in Government of India to make online RTI requests. However it will be sometime before the facility is available to states and local authorities and small public establishments. Till the online RTI space is open for disruption.

History of Right to Information

World over Right to Information is also known as Freedom of Information

Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 is the oldest in the world. In the 18th century, after over 40 years of mixed experiences with parliamentarism, public access to government documents was one of the main issues with the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766. Although the novelty was put out of order 1772–1809, it has since remained central in the Swedish mindset, seen as a forceful means against corruption and government agencies’ unequal treatment of the citizens, increasing the perceived legitimacy of (local and central) government and politicians. The Principle of Publicity (Swedish: Offentlighetsprincipen), as the collection of rules are commonly referred to, provides that all information and documents created or received by a public institution (local or central government, and all publicly operated establishments) must be available to all members of the public. It also states that all public institutions must do everything in their power to give anyone access to any information that he or she might want as soon as possible.

Over 90 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation.

 

 

Can You survive on $1.25 per day – 1.4 Billion People do

Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on less than USD$1.25 a day. For those living in extreme poverty this needs to cover everything — food, health care, housing, education. This is the kind of poverty that leads to children dying for lack of a basic immunization or access to clean drinking water. This level of poverty is unjust and unnecessary. Extreme poverty is the greatest injustice facing our time. A world that sees over one billion surviving on less than USD$1.25 a day, deprived of their basic rights and opportunities, is unjust and unacceptable.

The last two decades have been the most successful in history in the fight against poverty: the share of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half worldwide, from 43% in 1990 to under 20% today. However, it is unacceptable that more than one billion people still live in extreme poverty. Ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes is a difficult but achievable goal. Now is the time to take action!
end extreme poverty by 2030

What can You do to End Extreme Poverty by 2030?

At the least you can Sign a Petition Online to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Tell the world what you can get for $1 in your place. Just take a picture of what you can get for $1 and post it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with #1dollar hashtag. It will be collected at the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar.

Ask your friends to answer the #1dollar question on social media. Sample post:“What can you buy for #1dollar? More than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty. Post a photo of what you can buy for #1dollar in your country on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and tag it with #1dollar to help spread the word: it’s time to end povertyhttp://zeropoverty2030.org”

About Zero Poverty 2030 Campaign

Zero Poverty 2030 is a campaign run by Global Citizen, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, in partnership with charities working to end extreme poverty #by2030.

Global Citizen is a learning and action tool designed to help you become a more effective agent for change. Developed in partnership with leading organizations working to fight extreme poverty in the developing world, Global Citizen brings everything you need to know about extreme poverty into one place, and then helps you keep track of the issues and opportunities you care about.

The Global Poverty Project is not-for-profit organization whose vision is much like yours: to live in a world without extreme poverty. We know that extreme poverty is an injustice that can be ended. And we’re working to make it happen by building a global movement for change. We’re working to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty. We utilize the power of education, communication, advocacy, campaigns and the media to advance the movement to end extreme poverty. You can learn all about us – our history, track record, Annual Financial Review – on our website www.globalpovertyproject.com.

Together, we can raise awareness and end extreme poverty. We look forward to seeing your Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and signatures.

Here are some of the things that you buy for #1Dollar around the world.

Visit the World Bank Social Hub for #1dollar to see more…..

What do you think $1 can buy?