India’s telecom revolution is bearing fruit, propelling this South Asian giant to new frontiers as a pioneer of worldwide digital inclusion, furthering equal opportunities, creating the conditions for every child to have access to knowledge and the chance of an education – as a birthright.
India’s new machine is a low-cost computing and access device, unveiled on Thursday in New Delhi. At an initial cost of just Rs 1,500 (35 USD), a figure which could fall as low as 10 dollars in the near future, according to the Indian Ministry of Education. Based on the Linux operating system, the prototype includes an Internet browser, a PDF reader, touch screen, videoconference capacity and the design permits the user to add new functions.
Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human resources development, stated at the press conference accompanying Thursday’s launch of the prototype, that “We have arrived at a state of development today in which a motherboard, chip, processor, connection, all of this has a cost of around 35 dollars, including the memory chip, screen, everything”.
Developed by the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Science Institute, the new machine will soon begin mass production and will be available for higher education institutions in 2011. The new project is part of India’s drive to guarantee connectivity to all students and teachers, bridging the digital divide between the cities and countryside in India, a process which will inevitably spread further afield, creating the reality of worldwide digital inclusion in the near future.
In a first phase, all of India’s 250,000 village councils will be linked by 2012 and new budget gadgets will be made available for students not only in higher education but also at the basic instruction level.