Nokia today announced its Smartpur project that aims to develop 500 digitally integrated and sustainable villages across India in line with government’s vision of Digital India. In phase 1 of the project, a pilot has been rolled out in Haryana and Tamil Nadu with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) as the implementation partner to develop 10 such villages in each state. The pilot in Tain village, Nuh district, Haryana was inaugurated today by Ambassador of Finland, Ms. Nina Vaskunlahti.
According to the International Telecom Union ICT Facts and Figures, 20% of households in developed countries and as many as 66% of households in developing countries do not have internet access, leaving almost 4 billion people from developing countries offline. Nearly a billion of these unconnected people live in India, and mostly in rural India. As a telecommunications technology leader, Nokia is committed to improving people’s lives through connectivity. With the Smartpur project, Nokia 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.
In phase 1 of the project, 20 villages will be digitally integrated in Haryana and Tamil Nadu in a hub and spoke model. Tain village in Nuh district Haryana and Asoor in Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu will serve as hub which will host a digital center with telecom connectivity to provide ICT-enabled, primary services across each of the 5 pillars to rural community. The spoke centers will further extend these services to 9 other villages from each hub. In phase 2, the project will be scaled-up to up to another 80 villages across various states. Subsequently, it will be extended to another 400 villages over a period of 5 years.
Sanjay Malik, head of India for Nokia, said, “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. Globally, Nokia works with governments, NGOs, our customers and vendors to drive access for all. 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.”
Ms. Nina Vaskunlahti, Ambassador of Finland, said, “India is on the brink of a phenomenal digital journey which can only be successful if it is all inclusive. 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.”