Nokia May 16 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 the Digital Empowerment Foundation as the implementation partner to develop 10 such villages in each state, according to a news release.
The pilot in Tain village in the Mewat district in Haryana was inaugurated May 16 by Ambassador of Finland Nina Vaskunlahti.
"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,” Nokia head of India markets Sanjay Malik said in a statement. “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.”
According to the International Telecom Union ICT Facts and Figures, 20 percent of households in developed countries and as many as 66 percent of households in developing countries do not have internet access, leaving almost 4 billion people from developing countries offline, the news release noted.
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, it said.
The project aims to create a sustainable ecosystem 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, the company 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,” Vaskunlahti said.