The 2005 Manthan Award gala paid tribute to prominent organizations practicing e-Content and creativity in India

New Delhi, July 23, 2005:

Putting at rest all pre-event apprehensions and uncertainty, it turned out to be a momentous event finally when curtain was brought down to the Manthan Award 2005 gala at India International Centre, New Delhi on July 23, 2005. The Award, unique yet first of its kind in the country, is bestowed to best practices in e-content and creativity during the past one year.

Digital Empowerment Foundation, an NGO working with marginalised sections empowering them through ICT interventions in close association with like minded organisations in the development field like American India Foundation, PlaNet Finance India, and others, initiated Manthan Award in October 2004.

At the outset a special welcome was accorded to the prestigious awardees who had come from all parts of the country from different backgrounds, right from government to governance, learning to education, culture to entertainment, medical health to sciences in general and finally from business to grassroots community   Also present were well known personalities in the country’s development field as guest of honours. The list includes viz., S Shiva Kumar, the man behind ITC’s e-Choupal initiatives; Prof Anil Gupta, the man behind Honey bee network working from IIM-Ahmedabad courtyards; The event turned out to be a day of e-celebration as winners came in with flying colours with their display of hard work and intellect in contributing to the overall e-content practices in the country through creativity and digital technology while sharing their ideas and experiences in a single national platform- the Manthan Award ceremony

Osama Manzar, Chairman Manthan Award, in his opening speech welcomed the participants and the awardees and said, “The mission of the Award is to bridge the content gap by showcasing India’s best e-Content practices. The objective is to create an information rich society where everyone, irrespective of caste, religion, race, region, gender etc., are empowered to create, receive, share and utilize information and knowledge for their economic, social, cultural and political up-liftment and development.

Manthan Award 2005 was given to INDIA’S BEST e-CONTENTS in eight respective categories: e-Business, e-Culture, e-Science, e-Entertainment, e-Health, e-Inclusion, e-Learning, e-Governance. All total of 27 winners were handed over trophies in respective categories.

Digital Empowerment Foundation through the Manthan Award is trying to discover how much of e-content is being generated in the country. However, the fact is that there is very little content being generated in India, leave aside in local languages, even in English the situation is not good.

Osama says, “However, what can be duly recognised is the fact that anyone going around the country will discover that there lies enough content to be recognized and generated in this country. “My feeling is until we create an atmosphere of motivation nothing is going to happen. Our intention is not exactly to find out what the best is or who has done the best and so on in e-content practices. We just want to inspire and create a culture of motivation in this country”, Osama clarified on Manthan objective. The need of the hour is to motivate those in content practices at the lower level in small towns and cities.

There are a series of constraints and challenges to brave against to complement e-content with economic boom in the country, said S Shiva Kumar, CEO, ITC e-Choupal venture, a hugely successful experiment for rural generation using ICT. This was the main crux of Kumar’s key note address during Manthan 2005. While complementing the DEF initiative to recognize e-content in the country, Kumar focused on the need to connect content with resource and resourcefulness in the country, especially for rural India.

“Good ideas do not come to intelligent and intellectuals alone. They can even come to ordinary people,” said Anil Gupta, Professor IIM, Ahmedabad. Resources should not be a constraint in coming out with good ideas. Anyone having knowledge is not poor, according to Gupta.

Sharing knowledge in multilingual, multimedia context has assumed more importance in the era of ICT and digital technology. Gupta pointed out that e-content is missing in local languages in this country, which is quite problematic in sharing local knowledge and innovations. Language is primary and no culture is comprehensible without a sound language base.

He further said, “The innovations in this country are not at the bottom of the pyramid but tip of the iceberg. What National Innovation Foundation has done in identifying innovations is only a small part of a gargantuan exercise.” Gupta offered a hand of cooperation to those present and others to come forward to innovate and preserve innovations at the grassroots level. It is time that chances are given to local knowledge, local creativity, and integrating them for entrepreneurial purposes involving the markets to better lives of the common man. Gupta appreciated the effort of Manthan Award and wished the Manthan team to continue with the Award every year.

After the Manthan Award distribution, all the winners were given one-by-one opportunity to speak about their initiative and about their thought on Manthan Award. Anil Bahuman from IIT, Bombay won the first prize in e-Inclusion category. He said, “Awards like this given to us makes us feel that we are doing something for a purpose and makes us feel great.” He told that it has been a wonderful experience but creating e-content is hard as the tools to do the same are not available.”

Another winner in the e-Health category Khushroo Poacha of said that he has been working for the last 5 years and the Manthan Award is the first recognition in five years and this award would help us continue with our work. is a web based Indiawide helpline for patients who need blood in an emergency. It has donors registered from over 330 cities which include more than 25,000 donors.

Brij Kothari, an Ashoka fellow and one of the winners in e-Learning category said, “The award will generate awareness and there is need to generate awareness so that like-minded people like us continue to explore new things in the domain.”

Sanjay Borkar’s initiative called “C-GAP course – self learning kit from Maharashtra was the first among the winners in the e-Learning category. Sanjay said, “Manthan Award is the first recognition for our work and it would help us serve more the neglected area called agriculture.” He dedicated his win to the farmers of India.

“I want to give heartfelt thanks for organizing Manthan 2005 and want to congratulate and acknowledge the sincere efforts of the Manthan team. Indeed it is a very well planned opportunity created to recognize e-content practices in the country. It is a great job done,” said Ms Mridula Chandra of Helpline on HIV/AIDS, Rajasthan. Helpline bagged the bronze in the e-Health category.

The Award gala ended in a positive note given by Sachin Pilot, Member of Parliament, India, who expressed his full appreciation for the inspirational and hard work of the award winners. Mr. Pilot praised them for coming out with noble ideas in e-content for common men benefit. Manthan Award has provided a right platform to those whose noble works will be duly recognized and inspired, he said. “It is a nice experience to see people coming out with ideas and translating them into real products,” Pilot stated. In the end he promised that he would strive to have all the MPs and MLAs to have a portal of their area as soon as possible.

List of 27 Manthan Award winners category wise given below:

E – Business

  • Automatic Milk Collection System, GUJARAT
  • PlantersNet – ITC, ANDHRA PRADESH

E – Culture

  • Honeybee Network, GUJARAT
  • NUDI – The Kannada script-enabling software, KARNATAKA

E – Entertainment

  • World Cup Cricket, DELHI

E – Health

  • Sisu Samrakshak, ANDHRA PRADESH
  • Helpline on HIV/AIDS, RAJASTHAN

E – Inclusion

  • aAQUA: Almost All Questions Answered, MAHARASTRA
  • VAACHAK – Text to speech software for Indian languages, UTTAR PRADESH
  • Dissemination of animal health – RGCVAS, PONDICHERRY

Special mention

  • Save the Girl Child, DELHI
  • Disability India Network, DELHI

E – Learning

  • C-GAP course – self learning kit, MAHARASTRA
  • Learning objects-creating a knowledge utility, MAHARASTRA
  • Chukki Chinna interactive radio instruction programme,KARNATAKA

Special mention

  • Adventus Learning Management, KARNATAKA

E – Government

  • NISANI – National Identity Card, UTTAR PRADESH
  • E-governance infrastructure for globalised Indian agriculture, DELHI

Special mention

  • State-Wide Attention on public Grievance by Application of Technology, GUJARAT
  • E-VIKAS Government to citizen interface, HIMACHAL PRADESH
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