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Uninor has teamed up with Hand in Hand to reduce the digital divide in India. Hand in Hand is a public charitable trust founded in India in 2002; its purpose is to work to eliminate poverty. Part of its mission is to support India’s Right to Information Act that promises IT and Web access to rural and semi-urban parts of the country.
The first step in the Uninor – Hand in Hand partnership is to set up Citizen Centres. These centres will bring Internet access to people in rural areas, addressing the communications needs of people who have previously been unconnected. Each centre will be equipped with a computer, Internet connection and a small library with newspapers. Residents of rural areas can visit their local centres and register to vote, apply for a passport, sign petitions and access a wealth of information on the Web.
“These Citizen Centres are an important first step in decreasing the digital divide and increasing global awareness in even the most rural parts of India,” said Rajiv Bawa, EVP Corporate Affairs, Uninor. “These centres will help people become more engaged in their communities and contribute to the development of their regions. This is just the beginning and we plan to see many more Citizen Centres in the future, across all of India.”
A total of 50 Citizen Centres will be established during the initial phase of the Uninor – Hand in Hand collaboration. Hand in Hand also offers a programme called Citizen Centre Entrepreneur (CCE), which gives loans to women who are interested in starting their own Citizen Centres. Uninor will offer training to each Citizen Centre business owner. The business owner will generate a revenue stream for herself through paid services such as printing, faxing and other services.