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President Pratibha Patil on Monday launched DoT-USOFs' pilot project Sanchar Shakti, which aims to provide useful information to women, about health, social issues and government schemes over their mobile phones.
The scheme, which is funded by Department of Telecom's (DoT) Universal Service Obligation Funds (USOFs), is for mobile value-added services and information and communication technologies (ICT) related livelihood skills for Women's Self Help Groups.
"The scheme is initiated as a gender budget scheme, it adopts an innovative approach to connect rural women with the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector, by involving women Self Help Groups (SHGs)," Patil told reporters.
It will also serve the purpose of increasing the tele density, as well as broad band connectivity in rural areas, enabling them to join the cyber community and in this way, bridge the digital divide, states the details of the scheme.
With the creation of ICT skills sets in rural areas, over a period of time, these areas can become centres for the consumption and production of various ICT goods and services, including hubs for processing outsourced work, it added.
Patil added, "Real development cannot take root if it bypasses women, who represent the very pivot around which social change takes shape."
The scheme is funded by the USO fund. The USO fund is accumulated from a charge levied upon on private telecom operators for providing telecom services in rural areas.
It envisaged that the implementation of USO Obligation for rural/remote areas would be undertaken by all fixed service providers who shall be reimbursed from the USO Fund.
The function was attended by other dignitaries, including IT & Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for IT & Telecom Sachin Pilot and Department of Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar and other officials from the department.
Meanwhile, private service provider Uninor today launched 'Soochna Shakti', a revolutionary value-added service (VAS) to empower rural women, the company said in a statement.
This innovative VAS by Uninor 'Soochna Shakti' will deliver information, expert advice and news alerts on health, education, self employment and finance on an IVR portal which can be accessed by dialling a short code from anywhere at any time, it added.
Source: DD NEWS