South Asian Voice at Davos
     on Globalisation
     on Technology

Honoured at Davos 2001
     Anant Singh
     Iqbal Quadir

Technology   Feature     

Reinventing India

Role of Internet In South Asian Development
Successful case studies
    What the Gurus say
    - Vinod Khosla
    - Gururaj Deshpande

Technology - a weapon to
fight poverty.

South Asian success     stories
   - Bangladesh  
     Village Phone
     Village E-Mail
     Village Internet
   - Madhya Pradesh State
   - TARAhaat.com
   - Several more

Cultural feature
Sadhus - Holy Men of India
- Their Beliefs
- Their Sects



Sundown Madness at Wagah Border


Heritage & Travel

Rajasthan's Forest Forts


Three Brothers & A Violin 


Editor's Note



Silk Road on Wheels

South Asian Shop

Old Prints




the-south-asian.com                            February 2001

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The Role of Internet in South Asian Development


Salman Saeed


Digital Divides and Dividends [Connectivity = Productivity].
Current Examples & Case Studies.



 Grameen Telecom - Empowering women.

B3B – the Bottom 3 Billion poor is how Iqbal Z. Quadir describes the disenfranchised poor of the world. Iqbal Quadir [a former New York Investment Banker], after experiencing Local Area Network failure in his New York Banking office, found exchanging diskettes manually a major loss in productivity. Subsequently, he approached Mohammad Yunus, who had started micro Financing Loans under the name Grameen Bank to poor rural Bangladesh women, with the idea of starting Rural Mobile Telephone as a way to connect rural people to the rest of the world.

With investments from Telenor [ Norwegian Telcomms ] who owns 50% of the GrameenPhone, rural women in Bangladesh  connect about 3000 villages in Bangladesh and make $ 2 daily.

A Wireless phone investment costing $ 200 [the price of a cow] becomes a cash producing electronic cow from the selling of phone calls to the rest of the rural village; in the case of Bangladesh migrant workers to the Arabian Gulf States have to send money transfers to their homes in the villages and also talk to their families; other Mobile phone uses are healthcare, social phone calls to relatives elsewhere in the country.

For Details see the article in this issue: Iqbal Quadir




 2001- the case of Positive Electronic political change.

President Joseph Estrada was driven from office by angry citizens mobilized by electronic messaging [short message system – sms – as available on the GSM Mobile Phone network in Philippines]. The Philippines network operator Smart Communications Inc.'s public affairs department said that they received 70 million text messages a day during that week as against the daily average of 45 million text messages.

Globe Telecom also said it handled a higher volume of text messages as People Power II began, but officials say they can't say how many messages were sent over the five-day period.
The public relations officer at Globe's public relations division, said that the volume clearly exceeded the company's average daily text messages of 24.7 million.



E-Post in 6 states

In the six states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the next time the postman rings the doorbell, a printed email will be handed over with a few words on it rather than a postcard, envelope or aerogramme. The sender would spend nothing. It's the person the mail is addressed to who would have to shell out the money to receive the message. This is how things will be when the Indian government goes hi-tech with its postal system. 


ITC sets up Coffee Planters Internet Kiosks

Coffee prices, which are at record 30 year lows have prompted ITC to launch a portal (plantersnet.com) for coffee planters that provides prices and market information. The portal with Internet booths setup in the 6 – 12 months time frame will provide international coffee prices and market information to coffee growers.

ITC, which has business interests in tobacco, hotels and agri-business, launched a project this year to bring the Internet to Indian farmers by setting up kiosks. It plans to spend Rs 10 crore ($2.14 million) on the project. ITC is 31.7 per cent owned by British American Tobacco. ITC has set up some 100 Internet kiosks in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, the country's soybean bowl besides launching a soya portal. ITC's International Business Division deals in feed ingredients such as soymeal and rapeseed, foodgrains, coffee and marine products.

Andhra Pradesh Judicial Videoconferencing

Andhra Pradesh has become the first Indian state to provide videoconference links between jails and courts, a measure that will help 'produce' undertrials before magistrates without their physical presence. The video linkage facility between the Chanchalguda central jail, which has more than 1,600 undertrials, and the Nampally City Criminal Courts here has been provided by Stan Power Technologies at a cost of Rs.150, 000.


Andhra Pradesh – Site for Shrimp Farmers  www.aquachoupal.com

This site provides shrimp farmers information on world shrimp prices and technology information on shrimp farming technology.


Sri Lanka


This is the web address of a group of overseas Sri Lankan students, teachers, academics setting up a virtual rural school community to help them in getting books and school /learning related resources.

Useful Links:

Vikas Nath
Inlaks Scholar 

London School of Economics (2000-1)



Sustainable Development:

1. India website http://sdnp.delhi.nic.in

2. Pakistan article on PTC attempt at Controlling Internet Access using Network Access Points [NAP] with the excuse that there is loss of revenue through Internet Telephony – the argument is similar to the Middle Eastern Countries Control of Internet:


3. CNN website on Virtual Villages in India , Bangladesh.[ Grameen Bank’s new project - Village Computer and Internet Program (VCIP),



4. International Development Research Center – Canadian Government’s IDRC site – very interesting articles on the use of Internet in the Development of third world countries.


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