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After intense and grueling considerations on certain specified ICT benchmarks, Digital Empowerment Foundation decided that the newly born State of Uttaranchal has surpassed so many other States in introducing ‘Technology for Development’ for empowerment and development. Based on the prime considerations like impact of ICT reach, budget allocation for ICT projects, number of Schemes launched, the reach and spread of such schemes, the initiatives in roping in private and other partners in various ICT initiatives in the State, the e-readiness among the State authorities, the gender inclusiveness of these ICT interventions, and other fundamentals, it was a well researched and well considered decision of the management of the Digital Empowerment Foundation that the Himalayan State of Uttaranchal deserves to be accorded and recognised as the ‘e-Merging State of India’ on the Manthan-AIF Award 2006 Platform It is well satisfying to think and witness that this State have done and attempted to do what many other new states have faltered or lagged behind in putting the technology race for human advancement and empowerment.

Despite nascent in origin with multitude of issues to handle, and limited resources at hand, the Government of Uttaranchal has introduced path breaking initiatives in the social and economic spheres using Information Communication Technology. Mention can be made of Aarohi, the wholesome computer literacy project across 1400 State run schools, the first in its kind in India on such a large magnitude. Stepping further, the State authorities have introduced rural business hubs and Kisan Soochna Kendras as public information booths using the ICT medium, wherein the farmers and others can use the booths having computers, call centre facilities to deal with agriculture and other trade issues. Mention can be made of the Environmental Information System that has been launched in the State to sort out emerging environmental issues. The introduction of Online Registration Facilities in the commercial tax department is another interesting and yet practical initiative. Not the least are programs like Shaksham, the computer awareness and educational program for the government employees in the State, and Shikar, the computer literacy project for higher education students in the State. The long list of e-content and ICT application driven projects can be seen at www.itdaua.org

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