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Nokia to Make 500 Smart Villages in India

In the first phase of the project, 20 villages will be digitally integrated in Haryana and Tamil Nadu in a "hub and spoke" model.

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In line with the government's Digital India programme, Nokia on Wednesday launched a
Nokia to initiate Smartpur Village Program. Pixabay

In line with the government’s Digital India programme, Nokia on Wednesday launched a “Smartpur” digital village project with the aim of developing 500 digitally integrated villages across the country in five years.

“India is on the brink of a phenomenal digital journey which can only be successful if it is all inclusive,” said Ambassador of Finland to India Nina Vaskunlahti after inaugurating a pilot of the project in Tain village of Nuh district in Haryana.

“Smartpur project is a significant step in that direction which will integrate these villages and rural communities, providing digital tools and Internet connectivity for social and economic impact that truly makes a village smart and fosters a digitally inclusive society,” she added.

With the Smartpur project, Nokia said it aims to create a sustainable ecosystem in villages where community members can leverage digital tools to bring efficiency in daily lives, transparency in governance, economic prosperity for households and ease of access to various government services and information.

The project will work under the five key areas of development – health, education, livelihood, governance and finance – to build a holistic, digitally integrated village, the Finnish telecom gear maker said.

“The Smartpur initiative is our contribution to delivering the benefits of broadband infrastructure and services to the ‘telecom-dark’ areas and support the government’s vision of Digital India for a more inclusive growth,” said Sanjay Malik, head of India for Nokia.

According to the International Telecom Union ICT (information and communications technology) Facts and Figures, 20 per cent of households in developed countries and as many as 66 per cent of households in developing countries do not have Internet access, leaving almost four billion people from developing countries offline.

In line with the government's Digital India programme, Nokia on Wednesday launched a "Smartpur" digital village project with the aim of developing 500 digitally integrated villages across the country in five years.
Nokia to develop smart villages in India. Pixabay

Nearly a billion of these unconnected people live in India, mostly in rural India.

“At Nokia, we believe connecting the unconnected opens up opportunities in many areas and has tremendous potential to enable socio-economic empowerment of individual as well as communities,” Malik said.

In the first phase of the project, 20 villages will be digitally integrated in Haryana and Tamil Nadu in a “hub and spoke” model.

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Tain village in Nuh district of Haryana and Asoor in Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, will serve as hub which will host a digital centre with telecom connectivity to provide ICT-enabled, primary services.

The spoke centres will further extend these services to nine other villages from each hub, Nokia said.

In the second phase, the project will be scaled-up to up to another 80 villages across various states and subsequently, it will be extended to another 400 villages over a period of five years, it added. (IANS)

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India can Lead in Setting Standards for Ethical use of AI: Microsoft Executive

Microsoft on Friday announced a partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to equip business leaders with tools and strategies to make their organisations AI-driven

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FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

By Gokul Bhagabati

With the government focusing on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) as people are increasingly adopting digital technologies, India can lead in setting standards for ethical use of AI, a top Microsoft executive said on Friday.

“The real application of AI needs to be to empower human ingenuity and to accelerate innovation for all kinds of work and thinking,” Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, told IANS.

In an earlier interview with IANS on the eve of 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government is trying to leverage technology like AI and ML to improve school education.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget speech in July announced that the government will lay focus on new-age skills like AI, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality and Robotics.

“About 91 per cent of organisations today plan to leverage AI within the next three years to drive their businesses and the biggest issue they point out for not using it right now is lack of skills,” Maheshwari said.

Artificial Intelligence Bot
Artificial Intelligence Bot. Pixabay

“India is among the top three geographies globally in terms of the supply of skills for AI and that bodes very well for India to lead and contribute significantly in the world of AI,” Maheshwari added.

“We can very much create use cases and the standards for ethical use of AI. I am quite optimistic on the role India will play in the emergence of AI and the principles of AI,” he noted.

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Microsoft on Friday announced a partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to equip business leaders with tools and strategies to make their organisations AI-driven.

“The initiative we are launching today between ISB and Microsoft really addresses not only the issue of creating right awareness around the skill set needed to drive the AI strategies, but also provide the tool sets to create the AI strategies, to create the discussion around what culture is needed inside an organisation to drive AI and also have the awareness of the ethics and principles around it,” Maheshwari emphasised. (IANS)