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Centre should partner local communities in 'Digital India': Expert

The central government needs to partner communities at the grassroots level and integrate the country's vernacular component to make the Digital India initiative a success, an expert said here Friday.

IANS| Updated: Jan 09, 2015, 17:42 PM IST

Kolkata: The central government needs to partner communities at the grassroots level and integrate the country's vernacular component to make the Digital India initiative a success, an expert said here Friday.

"Whatever money it (Centre) is spending on culture, heritage conservation and preservation etc., it is always a very centralised activity.

"It is very, very essential to partner local communities," T. Vishnu Vardhan, programme director (Access to Knowledge), The Centre For Internet and Society, Bengaluru, told IANS here.

Vardhan was attending the 10th anniversary celebrations of Athe Bengali Wikimedia community at the Jadavpur University here.

Aiming to turn the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the Narendra Modi government has envisaged the Rs.1 lakh crore Digital India project.

Global IT giant Microsoft and Google have offered to help with the programme.

Vardhan said that while going forward with the project, the Centre must integrate the vernacular components. Else it will be restricted to Delhi and metro cities. Access to culture on digitised platforms should not be limited, he observed.

"The current government talks about Digital India. But when you talk about digital India, the key thing that one needs to take into consideration is not the India but the Bharat -- the vernacular imagination of India, the regional imagination of India.

"Otherwise whatever grand plans they have will only be limited to Delhi and other metropolitan cities," said Vardhan.

He suggested that the central government take note of examples like Wikipedia's regional language domains to further the Digital India project.

"Wikipedia or wikisource where you put up the original prints source in digitised form and make it searchable... these are the examples that the government should look at because these are done with the help of local volunteers who come from the remotest regions," said Vardhan.