TECH TALK: The Best of Tech Talk 2002: Bridging the Digital Divide (Part 2)

India Post: The Story of Nayapur: “Nayapur is the face of the New India. As a village it may be small, but that in no way represents the aspirations of its people. Life in Nayapur has been transformed ever since India Post set up its Tech 7-11 computer and communications centre a year agoThis is the amazing story of how these old computers running open-source software with full support for local languages combined with the Will, Vision and Entrepreneurial Thinking of the India Post team to transform the lives of the residents of Nayapur. The story takes you through a day in the life of one family in Nayapur.”

Disruptive Bridges: “Imagine a New India. A million computing and communications centres, each with 10 or more computers connected to the Internet, dot the landscape, making them accessible to everyone across the country. Every Indian is computer-literate, and can email, browse the Internet and compose letters. Citizens can make bill payments, obtain ration cards, check land records, and do other interactions with the government easily and efficiently. Computers in small- and medium-sized companies make them real-time enterprises, ensuring instant updation of information and making them integral parts of global supply chains What separates the dream of a New India from the reality of today is the digital divide. It is this rubicon that we have to cross, this divide that we have to bridge.Developing countries need disruptive innovations to bridge their digital divides. Think of these divides as separating todays technology markets from tomorrows. The next 500 million users lie on the other side of the divide. What is needed to open up these new markets is the construction of digital bridges with disruptive innovations as their foundation. Lets call them Disruptive Bridges.”

Postscript: In 2002, I visited China both Shanghai and Beijing. I wrote about my visit to Shanghai An Indian in China. Shanghai is the engine powering China ahead. It has been undoubtedly dressed up for the external world to see and experience the New China. Shanghai’s look-and-feel makes me dream of what Mumbai could have been. The next set of entrepreneurial opportunities lie in leveraging the two large markets of India and China.

Monday: A Personal Journey

TECH TALK The Best of Tech Talk 2002+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.