Manthan Award 2007

  • RAJiv Internet Village-e-Commerce
  • None
Community Broadcating Click here for details
  • Our rule in our country (Abua Disum Abua Raj)
  • Community Radio and Community Video
  • Jansamvad
  • None
  • Virsa Digitization
  • Nagas on the net
  • None
  • HIV/AIDS Awareness Package-HAAP
  • Kerala Education Grid
  • College to Career Program
  • None
E-Enterprise & Livelihood Click here for details
  • DesiCrew Solutions
  • e-Sagu: IT-based Agro-advisory System
  • None
E-Entertainment Click here for details
  • The Great Escape
  • Arbit Choudhury – First B School Comic Character
  • None
  • A Degree of Concern
  • SAHYADRI: Western Ghats Biodiversity
  • None
  • Instant Money Order
  • National Portal of India :
  • Website of Mumbai Police
  • National Employment Service Portal
  • AP Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  • None
  • – Finest Health Portal
  • The Wellness Site – Health Portal
  • From Dusk to Dawn
  • Let’s know more about HIV…
  • None
  • Daisy Book Reader
  • Braille Literature (GITA)
  • None
  • India Education Digital Library
  • SolidGyan
  • Booksline
  • None
E-Localisation Click here for details
  • Raftaar – Integrated Hindi Search Engine
  • Lipi Toolkit
  • None
  • Manorama Online
  • Odisha News
  • None
  • Self-Employment through SMS Communities
  • None

The Manthan Award 2007 & ICONECS HIGHLIGHTS

The successful completion of Manthan Award 2007 and Second International Conference on e-Content & Sustainability is nothing but testimony of the fact that prospects and challenges in the domain of ‘e-Content for Development’ are for real. The two days of deliberations spread across livelihood, rural development, agriculture development, Education, community broadcasting, governance areas have brought to the fore the issues involved in these areas vis-a-vis ICT and content based development. The deliberations highlighted the fact that any talk of ICT enabled development will be a lop sided one without taking into consideration the core issues of content that is the driving force of any ICT enabled approach. If deliberations were scintillating ones, then the Manthan Award 2007 Evening Gala on September 22 were icing on the cake in projecting those grassroots ICT and e-Content innovators and practitioners whose years of hard work have brought in positive changes in the lives of so many people across communities.


The Manthan Award 2007
e-Content for Development in India

2007 Highlights

The Ratio

Nominations : Winners

     100 : 11
Nominations Received


State-Wise Nominations

Andhra Pradesh: 32
Assam: 02
Bihar: 02
Chandigarh: 01
Chhattisgarh: 10
Delhi: 57
Goa: 01
Gujarat: 18
Haryana: 07
Himachal Pradesh: 07
Jammu Kashmir: 01
Jharkhand: 12
Karnataka: 23
Kerala: 18
Lakshadweep: 01
Madhya Pradesh: 10
Maharashtra: 68
Meghalaya: 03
Nagaland: 03
Orissa: 05
Pondicherry: 02
Punjab: 03
Rajasthan: 03
Tamil Nadu: 17
Uttar Pradesh: 14
Uttarakhand: 09
West Bengal: 14

Total : 343*


Platform wise Nominations
Broadband/Online: 053
Mobile Content: 006
Cross Media: 031
Offline: 044
TV/Interactive TV: 004
Radio: 009
Web / Internet: 149
Blog: 005
CD DVD: 026
Telephone: 003
Wireless WAP: 002
Mobile/PDA: 007
Mobile Van: 001
Satellite:  003
e-Mail:  007

Total : 350*
* Variation in number is
because of overlapping of
platform in many of the


Category Wise Nominations
e-Business: 13
e-Learning: 32
e-Culture: 16
e-Government: 88
e-Health: 28
e-Enterprise & Livelihood: 28
e-Entertainment: 12
e-Inclusion: 16
e-Education: 30
e-News: 13
e-Localisation: 23
e-Youth: 06
m-Content: 07
e-Environment: 13
Community Broadcasting: 13

Total : 338*


Winners @ States of India

Every state has different number of nominees. We received nominations from 27 states/UTs. Likewise there are different numbers of winners from each of the 17 states. Following are the winners as per their state.

Andhra Pradesh
Rajiv Internet Village-e-Commerce for Poor People
e-Sagu: An IT-based Agro-advisory System
Arbit Choudhury – The First (MBA) Comic Character
APREGS (AP Rural employment Guarantee Scheme)

Website for Mumbai Police
The Wellness Site – Health Portal
Let’s know more about HIV..
Self-Employment Promotion through Local SMS Communities

Community Radio and Community Video
College to Career Program

Nagaland – a Home for Nagas on the net

Haryana – India’s Finest Health Portal

HIV/AIDS Awareness Package-HAAP
The Great Escape
A Degree of Concern
Instant Money Order
National Portal of India
Raftaar- The first Integrated Hindi Search Engine

Our rule in our country (Abua Disum Abua Raj& Let’s go to village (Chala Ho Gaon Mein

Odisha News

SAHYADRI: Western Ghats Biodiversity: Environmental Information System
Braille literature (GITA)
India Education Digital Library – Multimedia Tools for Teaching, Learning and Training
Lipi Toolkit for Online Handwriting Recognition

Open Source Simple Computer for Agriculture in Rural Areas (OSCAR)

Kerala Education Grid
Manorama Online

Virsa Digitization

National Employment Service Portal

Tamil Nadu
DesiCrew Solutions, Rural Business Process Outsourcing

Madhya Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh
Daisy Book Reader

West Bengal
From Dusk to dawn

Grand Jury Report

The Manthan Award 2007 Grand jury is over. Out of 400 applicants, 354 final nominations were screened in 15 categories, winners chosen and results are individually informed to the winners, while it is kept secret for the larger audience until September 21-22, 2007when the Award ceremony slated to take place at India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), New Delhi. The Grand Jury details are hereunder :

Grand Jury Report

Date: 23-24 August, 2007
Venue: Board Room
Tata Consultancy Services
5th Floor, PTI Building
4 Parliament Street,
New Delhi 110 001

The Manthan Award 2007 Grand jury is over. Out of 400 applicants, 354 final nominations were screened in 15 categories, winners chosen and results are individually informed to the winners, while it is kept secret for the larger audience until September 21-22, 2007when the Award ceremony slated to take place at India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), New Delhi.

The jury process started at 11 A.M. on August 23 and continued till 6 P.M. on August 24. Mr. Osama Manzar, Chairman, Manthan Award, briefed the jury members about the jury process before the actual jury process started. Prof. K Kannan, Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University chaired the first day jury session while Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Government of West Bengal chaired the second session of the jury process.

The response for call of nominations for the Manthan Award this year has been overwhelming and around 400 nominations were received from all over India for the fifteen categories. It is interesting to inform that e-Governance, e-learning, e-education, e-enterprise and livelihood, and e-health received maximum nominations.

The jury process was conducted across all the 15 categories of nominations spread across two consecutive days of screening nominations:

  • e-Business
  • e-Learning
  • e-Culture
  • e-Government
  • e-Health
  • e-Enterprise & Livelihood
  • e-Entertainment
  • e-Inclusion
  • e-Education
  • e-News
  • e-Localisation
  • e-Youth
  • m-Content
  • e-Environment
  • Community Broadcasting

The Grand Jury took place at TCS Board Room, Parliament Street, New Delhi. The jury process, hosted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), brought together 19 experts from different fields, such as academia, media, industry, associations, civil society, and technology. The jury had been independent, non-political and only followed the rules and guidelines set out by the Manthan Award. All selection and award decisions made by the jury were taken as final and were not necessitated to be challenged legally or in any other way.

All nominated products were evaluated in a two-round judging process, and subsequently, India’s Best e-Contents and Applications were selected. A few nominated products (Best Products) were awarded with a special mention. The decision for the jury process has been made by the Manthan Award Board of Directors, which is inline with World Summit Award jury processes.

The jury acted independently from the organizers and conveners and all vested interests, and followed only the guidelines for participation published in advance for the Award. All selection and award decisions made by the jury were final. The selections of the winners were made by the jury. The jury was given full freedom to choose not to give an award in any given category.
Jury and Selection Process
The Manthan Award jury 2007 is composed of most eminent content Industry personalities, proposed from government, industry database of evaluators, such as academia, media, industry, associations, civil society, and technology. The final jurors have been selected by the Board of Directors of the Manthan Award.

Jury Location and Evaluators Briefing
The jury meetings and all evaluation were held in New Delhi at TCS Delhi office in Parliament Street where suitable technical and physical infrastructure were made readily available with high speed online access for the evaluators to validate nominations.

A comprehensive official instruction of the jury regarding the call for entries, the entire evaluation process, the Award rules and the rules governing the jury evaluation based on the documents approved by the Manthan Award Board and this Jury Evaluation Guide were made available.

Evaluation Criteria
Elaboration of the categories of the Award and the criteria were made and explained during the briefing of evaluators by the moderator Mr. Osama Manzar, Chairman, Manthan Award. The criteria were tied to the concept of value added for users and e-contents for a purpose.

  • CONTENT: Quality and comprehensiveness of content;
  • INTERFACE: Ease of use: functionality, navigation and orientation;
  • IMPACT: Focus on the actual impact due to particular e-Content interventions at the community level;
  • STRENGTH OF IDEA & EXECUTION: Value of the idea and how effectively it has been executed;
  • THE OUTREACH: The focus is to be on the outreach of any intervention, its reach geography and demography wise;
  • TECHNICAL REALIZATION: Quality of craftsmanship & Creativity;
  • STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE: for the global development of the Information Society;
  • ACCESSIBILITY: according to the W3C ( the category of the product The juries were given the right to switch a product from one category to another if the category chosen by the producer is recognized as unsuitable. Category switch was out of result of a discussion followed by a vote amongst the panel members.

Round 1

  • The 1st round of the jury process was entirely based on online system, developed through stringent methodology where mathematical permutation and combinations have been incorporated into the back end based on the parameters
  • Each and every nomination is supposed to be voted/marked and evaluated by at least three jurors and their markings area translated into mean value
  • The products were divided into groups, according to the product categories
  • Outcome: A Shortlist of maximum of 5-8 products per category (based mainly on the rank list of technical score)

Round 2

  • Second plenary was based on totally offline discussion, methodology where presentation, methodology where and consensus
  • Participated by every juror, in second plenary, the short listed methodology where methodology where nominations methodology where went through joint voting system by hands up
  • Discussion and voting on the winner per category by the plenary
  • Outcome: A Winners List of 3 nominations per category; and as the case required, there were Special Mentions in few categories

Special Mentions

  • Panel Presentations and discussion on the best products from each category based mainly on the rank list from the second round) and also those who would have gone to third round but did not made it to the final list were picked up as special mentions.
  • Outcome: A list of special mentions – best products from each of the 5 national regions, one/two/3 per category depending upon the consensus from the juror.

The jury process concluded on August 24th. After two days hectic schedule and mind striking exercises, the jury members came out with the list of winners and special mentions after lot of discussions, cross-arguments and debates, preceded by online screening process. At the end of the day 29 winners were selected along with 11 special mentions. methodology where

The following are instant comments from the jury members after the completion of the jury process that they thought have struck their ideas and thoughts over the entire two days exercise. The Manthan Award team is extremely grateful to the distinguished Jury Chairs and members to have spent two days valuable time and energy in devoting to this noble cause of churning out ICT and content practitioners and innovators across India:
“I felt humbled. I should become a student again,”- Prof. K. Kannan, Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University

“Could have spent a few days doing this. Felt at once a student as well as a teacher evaluating scripts,”- Amir Ullah Khan, Fellow, India Development Foundation

“You really made us work for a good reason,”- Piyush Gupta, National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), Hyderabad

“A great platform to see and understand the work happening around the country. The opportunity was both great as it was rare too,”- Ashish Garg, Global e-School Community Initiative (GeSCI)

“Challenging and great fun! Thanks for the opportunity,”- Manas Chakrabarti, American India Foundation

“Manthan goes from strength to strength – its going amazing how many great ICT ideas you have unearthed!”- Sajan Venniyoor, UN Solution Exchange

“Now I got the real feel of what goes behind in choosing the awardees. The process is so challenging, the entrees are unique and universal. Great education. Thanks,”- Madhura Chatrapathy, Asian Centre for Entrepreneurial Initiatives (ASCENT), Bangalore

“Great learning experience for me. Excited at the length, breadth and depth of e-Content,”- Naimur Rahman, OneWord South Asia

“This time the arrangements and process was much better. Keep it up and all the best,”- Rufina Fernandez, NASSCOM Foundation

“Its gets bigger, better and more tiring,”- Rajan Varada, TFTP, Bangalore

“An experience of great value. Being a Manthan awardee as well a juror now, I know both sides of it!! Great. Keep it up!!- S.N. Goswami, Media Lab Asia

The Manthan Award 2007 Grand Jury was conducted successfully on September 21-22, 2007 at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Board Room, PTI Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi. The jury was hosted by TCS. Members of the jury devoted two consecutive days devoting time and energy in the entire nomination exercises going through the details of nominations, in both online format, and in presentations moderated by chairpersons / moderators.
The best part of the entire jury process was the valuable suggestions that cropped up during the sessions. Members were frank and honest enough in detailing and listing out limitations of the jury process and coming out with valuable suggestions:

  • There is need for more clarity and definitions of categories;
  • The parameters for determining the nominations must be more detailed and clear; the specifics of the parameters must be clearly indicated for facilitating the jury process; they must be more explanatory in order to avoid any confusions
  • The copy right issues of nominations must be clearly indicated. In other words, every nominations must be ending with undertaking that the nomination is independent product, or created by parent organization etc
  • There is need to invite implementers, producers, creators, users related to any e-Content product or innovation during the award ceremony
  • The time period for screening out nominations could be increased because of the vastness and diversity of nominations that require more concentration, understanding and listing into proper perspective bef methodology where ore any selection or rejections
  • There is need methodology where to clearly define what is methodology where ‘e- Content for Development’ or any clarifications that clears the air of confusions of any product that is created by private and corporate groups and that created by civil society bodies, and yet both reaching out to the masses

e-Business & Financial Inclusion And e-Science & Technology

Using technology to serve the remotest of remote

e--Business-&-Financial-Inclusion-And-e--Science-&-TechnologyHosted by a New Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation called Digital Empowerment Foundation, the 12th Manthan Awards 2015 was organised this year at India Habitat Centre in the national capital on December 2, 2015.

Unlike all previous years when innovators gathered in a formal atmosphere to share slide show presentations with an audience in an all-day event, this year the awards threw the spotlight on the best digital innovations in an ‘un-conference’ style. The afternoon gave participants an opportunity to learn, interact, share, engage and absorb with likeminded development professionals, thought leaders and experts in the field.

e-Business & Financial Inclusion was one of the 13 categories, and the Winners of the category were Dharavi Market, Paytm-One97 Communications Ltd, and Financial Inclusion. E- Bozar, meanwhile, was chosen for the Chairman’s Distinction Award.

Identifying the best solutions

The Finalists of the categories e-Business & Financial Inclusion and e-Science & Technology brainstormed on finding the best possible solutions to help the masses with innovations in these fields.

Finalist Smart eHomes from the e-Science & Technology category participated in discussing the benefits of ICTs in the field to change the benches at the grassroots. cleared notions and misunderstandings about life in slums — slum dwellers are not criminals or beggars, they too have robust enterprising skills and intimate community life.

Paytm, meanwhile, spoke about its focus on creating a platform where millions of small, medium and large merchants can sell to millions of customers from across the country in a seamless manner.

Taking forward the conversation, Financial Inclusion illustrated how it is engaged in providing banking services to people in villages and urban areas using biometric devices.

Conceptualising for a connected world

The brainstorming session started at the micro level, where the participants discussed their projects and gave insights about the change ICT can bring at the grassroots keeping in mind their projects implementation and, soon after this, the cross cutting discussion between the participants kick-started. The discussion for building a concept initiated from micro to meso to macro level among the participants. The most intriguing thing about this session was that there were participants with a very strong perspective from each verticals business, finance and science technology.

Sijo Joseph from e-Science & Technology category discussed how innovations can bring savings to the village life which would increase the efficiency. He also added that smart cities and villages should improve the quality of life to provide connectivity, and to save cost, manpower and energy. It was a great sight to watch unanimous people conceptualising and analysing their respective ICT-based solutions for a better world and towards building solutions.

Participants quoted assuredly that it is the age of information and communication technology, and the application of ICT tools in various social, economic and administrative fields is on the rise. ICT use and their participation in growth-related activities are strongly linked. For example, businesses that use the Internet to collect sales orders have higher rates of exporting, innovation, and entering new export markets. ICT can enhance both the practical and theoretical aspects in any range.

Ishita Anand and her team from Bitgiving, along with Bidyut from E-Bozar, threw light on topics like innovators, engagement in funding, access to market, certification and sponsorship, among others. The group mentioned that financial inclusion is something that is multi-level and multiple different things should be put together to bring out the innovation in terms of money going to the target audience but, especially, mentioned to make them producers themselves in their own way.


Several suggestions were also made by participants and audience members. These included:

  • Establishing broadband or wireless kiosks at different locations
  • Encouraging greater digital literacy
  • Setting up e-banking kiosks across the country
  • Creating easy interfaces for e-banking mobile apps
  • Developing special Web content in various Indian languages
  • Promoting greater use of ICT tools at all levels

The participants meticulously enjoyed the informal style of the sessions and praised the technique used for discussion.


Making medical help available on the touch of a thumb

e-healthOn December 2, 2015, the 12th Manthan Awards South Asia & Asia Pacific 2015 was hosted at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, amid much fanfare in a village-themed environment.

Manthan Awards, organised every year by Digital Empowerment Foundation, provides a platform to digital innovators to bridge the future using information communication and technology with change-makers uncovering their exceptionality, creativity and inspiration.

Now in its 12th year, the Manthan Awards was hosted in an ‘un-conference’ style’. Instead of a formal presentation from the stage to an audience seated in an auditorium, innovators were asked to talk about their e-initiatives in a village-themed environment, complete with a well, charpoi, kulhad wali chai, haystacks and bamboo shoots. Amid this set up, Finalists of the 13 awards categories gathered to share lessons, achievements, best practices, challenges and recommendations for the road ahead.

The winners in the eHealth category were TraumaLink Bangladesh Expansion, Run Tropica, and BPL LifePhone+. The first two particularly impressed the Jury.

Unique ideas

TraumaLink is a volunteer-based emergency response system built to tackle the barriers of travel time and cost for traffic injury victims. To measure the quality of its service, it currently focuses on a few key metrics including the percentage of accidents responded to, crash scene response times, and volunteer retention rates.

‘Run Tropica’ project commenced by the University of Colombo’s School of Computing aims to develop a prototype product of an active video game virtual rehabilitation system that targets physical therapy of the lower limbs of the user. ‘Run Tropica’ is a 2D infinite runner where the player’s performance is based on their ability to collect items and how far they can run before dying. By implementing gamification into a rehabilitation process, the project looks to improve motivation and persistence among patients.

They were presented with their trophies amid an esteemed audience at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on December 2, 2015.

Creating an informed society

The application of ICT and telemedicine is an excellent idea for remote areas where there is a shortage of health sector manpower, and, thus, integrating ICT in the health care system could contribute to universal health coverage and strengthen the weakened health care delivery system in India.

Over a period of time, politicians, policy makers, academics and many others have discussed the potential role of ICT in influencing the health and well-being of the poor and marginalised sections of the society. Its potential contribution to poverty alleviation, sustainable development and health care enhancement has been pointed out by the UN Millennium Development Goals framework and by many other organisations. Appropriate technology, if used, for health care support and proper information, it can empower health care workers at primary health care units in a cost effective manner for sustainable improvement of health care in remote areas.

ICT is not a readymade fit, particularly when technology is expanding every day. ICT always needs to be contextualised and, above all, needs a commitment to be used. Thus, capacity building and the process of creating an informed society are crucial for its implementation, especially in the health sector.


Some of the recommendations made by the participants for the growth for the benefit of e-Health included:

  • Establishing broadband or wireless kiosks at different locations
  • Encouraging greater digital literacy among health providers
  • Connecting village-level health services with district-level hospitals

We hope those working in the health sector are taking notes!

e-Entertainment & Games

Easy access to rich recreational content

e-Entertainment-&-GamesNew-Delhi non-profit organisation Digital Empowerment Foundation organised the annual Manthan Awards this year at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on December 12, 2015.

Manthan Awards is a highly coveted platform where digital innovators, who use ICT for the betterment of the masses, are felicitated in front of an audience of likeminded professionals, innovators, sponsors, government officials and industry experts.

In an effort to usher a change, in its 12th edition this year, Manthan Awards South Asia and Asia Pacific decided to adopt the ‘unconference’ style for its annual event gala and awards.

Amid a village-themed environment at India Habitat Centre, Finalists of 13 awards categories gathered to share lessons, achievements, best practices, challenges and recommendations for the road ahead.

Promoting art

One of these 13 categories was e-Entertainment and Games for which the Jury had shortlisted two Finalists, and both were announced Winners at Awards Gala later in the evening.

The session for the category, earlier in the day, began with a friendly introduction, followed by both the Finalists introducing the audience to their e-initiatives.

Chai Stories is an initiative of the Boxx Studios to give a platform to artists, who are not part of the mainstream entertainment industry, to showcase their talent. Under this initiative, the Boxx Studios release short films every Friday. So far, 55 short movies have been successfully released online with the investment of approximately Rs. 5 lakh. is another initiative that aims to preserve, promote and enhance the music culture in Sri Lanka. So far, over 1,000 service providers have registered with them and the website has received around 45,000 likes on its Facebook page. It offers equal opportunity and exposure to all music equipment sellers, instrument exporters, music production companies and video production companies to market their talent and products.

Easy access and rich content

It is interesting to see how access to entertainment has become increasingly wide today. Earlier, people had to commute to watch a film, see a musical performance or witness a comedy/dance show. With the growth of the Internet, all of this became available online at the click of a mouse button. Innovators have now taken a step even further and introduced all kind of recreational material on mobile phones, just a touch away. ICT is ever-expanding and new digital tools are being created on a daily basis today. If we have come so far, imagine what these tech enthusiasts and digital innovators can do in the years to come.


There are several e-initiatives that cater to the rural population, and even allow content over SMS rather than mobile app or Internet connection. However, there are only a handful of them.

  • It is time innovators think of ways to produce content in regional languages, make them available even to the poorest of poor in the remotest of remote areas and allow sharing of content.
  • Content, in fact, is the most important aspect. The need to create easy access to entertainment content is as important as the selection of the content itself.

Let’s hope innovators are taking notes.

e-Education, Learning & Employment

Breaking barriers in mainstream education

e-Education-Learning-&-EmploymentFor the past 12 years, Digital Empowerment Foundation has been proudly organising the annual Manthan Awards. Every year at Manthan, digital innovations are celebrated and their innovators are honoured amid an esteemed and likeminded audience.

This year, Manthan Awards was held in an unconference style at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on December 2, 2015, without compromising on its agenda of bringing together digital innovators and industry experts on one platform to create a unique fusion of development. Instead of formal presentations, the 57 Finalists came together to share ICT-inspired suggestions and ideas for problem solving in their category area through hand-drawn flip charts, posters and oral skills.

One of the eight sessions, the one on education, was moderated by Meeta Sengupta, a writer, speaker, consultant and advisor on education and skills, and Dr. Suresh Reddy, director of SRF Foundation. The session revolved around the role ICT can play in bringing changes in the fields of education, learning and employment indices in a village. Finalists participating in this category were Madhura, Ofabee, i-Saksham, Zoya Learning Labs, JAAGO Online School, Career Cliniq Smart Tutor, and Swayamsidham Education Portal.

After a brief introduction by the moderator, each Finalist gave the audience an introduction to their work. Some of the unique innovations have been listed below.


i-Saksham provides in-situ education, skill development, and information services in unreached areas through sustainable community learning centers, run by locally skilled youth with the aid of digital technology and content.

OfaBee Tutor, an initiative of Enfin Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., is a cloud-based training and learning platform for test preparation training institutes to create online courses.

MILE Laboratory of the Indian Institute of Science under its project Madhura aims to develop a good quality, natural text to speech programme for South Indian languages to enable and empower people with visual and vocal disability to learn and communicate easily and more effectively.

The goal of JAAGO’s online school project is to overcome geographical barriers that exist in Bangladesh to provide quality education to students living in remote areas.

Zaya’s ClassCloud products and services enable blended learning without the need for connectivity, thus, opening up a type of learning to a mass market of students who were otherwise being left out of education technology altogether.

By the end of the introduction, the excitement to contribute from one’s experience and learn from other’s was overwhelming. The discussion drew the attention of passers-by and made them stop to listen to the discussion.

It was here that the participants and audience mutually agreed on the need to gouge out possible solutions against barriers on the path to change through ICT in the teaching and learning atmosphere at the village level for successful employment.

Outcomes and solutions

The seven Finalists came up with points that can help in scaling up the existing technologies and make them reachable to students at grassroots level. Among some of the solutions was the idea to develop a network of educational NGOs for effective communication, sharing of ideas and helping each other achieve their goals while achieving a common objective.

Looking at the complex interfaces of some of the existing technologies, the participants realised that in order to increase teachers’ participation, interfaces need to be simplified enough to reduce their work pressure against the common perception of “increasing burden”. This point went hand in hand with the topic of language barrier and how making the best quality content available in local language can be useful as learning is always easier in one’s mother tongue.

The outcomes of the session were listed, ranked through voting and video recorded. The enthusiasm of the Finalists led the moderators to give a thought to sending the video to Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani through social media.


Further discussion on ways that can help enhance ICT in education in rural areas was concluded on the thoughts that:

  • CSR funding is paramount to all efforts being made in the field of education today
  • The potential of ICT can be further harnessed to seek funding
  • Both government and non-government organisations should compliment each other’s contribution to education

In today’s age, ICT is an integral part of the mainstream education system. It can help students, teachers and parents, especially in rural parts of the country where rapid growth is much needed.

e-Agriculture and Ecology

Indian farmers need a common information platform

e-Agriculture-&-EcologyDigital Empowerment Foundation organised the 12th Manthan Awards at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on December 2, 2015. In the last 12 years, besides honouring the best digital innovators, Manthan has created a rich repository of over 2,000 digital innovations from across Asia while bringing together young innovators and industry experts on one platform to create a unique fusion of innovation and development.

This year, by adding a little cultural flavour and village-themed ideas to this grand event, the Manthan Awards were held in an un-conference style.

Amid a colorful evening, complete with Rajasthani folk music performance, scintillating table performance and nukkad natak, 57 Finalists sat on moodah and khaat, sipped chai from a kullad and discussed possible solutions to tackle challenges in their respective category.

Collaborating for a better world

The Finalists of eAgriculture and Ecology category — SankalpTaru, Paddy Procurement, Plant Trees Online, e-KrishakSahyogi, AGMARKNET, Horticulture Crop Pests Surveillance — came together and discussed ways to eradicate poor circulation of solution-driven mobile apps in the countr, and gave a brief introduction about their project.

SankalpTaru Foundation aims to develop and manage reforestation and environmental conservation projects across India. IPE Global in partnership with the government of Odisha has launched the Paddy Procurement Automation System, which is designed after studying the functionalities of the paddy procurement centres. Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals or ISAP has developed an applet-based decision support system named e-KrishakSahyogi, which means an ‘electronic companion of the farmers’, to address the problem of inaccessibility of useful and timely information related to pests and diseases for small and marginal farmers.

Tackling the barriers

According to the participants and Senior Manager of Qualcomm Anirban Mukherji, who was also the moderator of the session, the plaguing issue in this field is that though there are several ICT applications available across India to solve problems, language has been a major barrier in the effective and efficient circulation of these applications.

For example, an application developed in Tamil Nadu in the local language is tremendously helping in solving several problems of farmers in the state but the same application is not used by the farmers of Karnataka. To tackle this problem, the participants of this category conceptualised a solution, which is a common platform for all the solution-driven applications, that is available in multiple languages or can be translated in several languages, orally or in written form. This conceptual platform will make information available to everyone, irrespective of their location, language, technology, and platform it was originally developed in. The platform will connect the farmers and expert, and will also contain curated knowledge-sharing content in the form of text, audio and video.

ICT revolution has played a big role in development of agriculture and ecology sector. For solving further problems, concepts conceived by the problem solvers should always be encouraged.


Some of the recommendations made by the participants for the growth for the benefit of e-Health included:

  • Establishing broadband or wireless kiosks at different locations
  • Encouraging greater digital literacy
  • Creating a common platform for sharing knowledge
  • Allowing content to be read in or translated into various languages

We hope those working on innovations in the sector are taking notes!

e-Women & Empowerment

Manthan 2015 – churning the pot of gender disparity

e-Women-&-EmpowermentEvery year, the Manthan Award recognises and celebrates digital innovators who use ICTs for social empowerment across South Asia. The awards event this year also included an ‘unconference,’ where, instead of prepared presentations, the winners and finalists of the awards categories gathered together to share lessons, achievements, best practices, challenges and recommendations for the road ahead. Here are some takeaways from the brainstorming which I had the opportunity to facilitate, on women and digital empowerment. The winner of this category was, and special mentions went to UN Women and Project Sampark (Telenor India).

Achievements has published 250 articles on women’s empowerment by 57 writers, and has 2,000 followers on Twitter as well as 15,000 on Facebook. “Many authors have been inspired and committed enough to write with their real names and not anonymously,” said founder Japleen Pasricha.
The United Nations has created a one-stop site for holistic information on women and empowerment. 11,000 users from 190 countries have registered, according to Anju Pande, Program Specialist at UN Women. Content is available in five languages, on topics ranging from workplace issues and entrepreneurship to policy formulation and statistics.

Mobile operator Telenor India has launched an initiative called Sampark, to support women’s access to mobile phones and accounts. “The initiative covers 89 villages, and has roped in over 40,000 new women subscribers,” according to Ashima Kukreja, Head of Social Responsibility at Telenor India.

Their call centre, called DIAL, employs 35 women. Forty women promoters offer handholding skills to bring more women on board the mobile network, via a programme of systematic socialisation. The initiative has been supported by industry lobby GSMA as well.

The discussion at Manthan 2015 included other women entrepreneurs such as Ritu Gorai, founder of Jamm’s, an online support group for mothers. Jamm’s has also offered haircuts for underprivileged children and bought canes for the blind, according to Gorai.


These achievements have not been without their challenges, according to the award-winning women entrepreneurs. The foremost challenge includes the male mindset of bias against women’s rights, denying them the basic rights of ownership of mobile phones or access to telecom services. There are also women apologists for such male power, under the guise of protecting culture and tradition.

Women also need training in the use of the wide range of digital technologies, and more data is needed on the tech adoption, online communication and content creation activities of women. More representation of women is also needed in lofty initiatives such as Digital India.

From an implementation point of view, project practitioners cite that it takes a lot of effort and skill to identify the right kinds of change agents for community empowerment. There are also social media restrictions which hamper the use of imagery about violence against women.
Finally, social media is a double-edged sword, opening the door to empowerment as well as online harassment, stalking, bullying and cyber-crimes against women.

Best practices

The women activists also shared a range of best practices which work well towards digital empowerment. Social media campaigns via Tweetathons and Twitterchats can be very effective. Branding, effective imagery and the choice of champions (‘sheroes’) have helped amplify the messaging.
Offline techniques like street plays and other interventions have carried the cause to wider audiences. Involving men and boys have shown how they can also contribute to solutions. Communication campaigns have worked better when they are focused and not too broad, with specific outcomes and implications in mind. Partnership with other organisations, such as youth communities, has helped connect with other audiences.
Good examples of such empowerment initiatives include Graam Vaani (with programmes such as ‘Do you think Rani should go to school?’), Safety Pin (safety app for women) and Khabar Leheria (village news about women).


The brainstorming session ended with a specific set of recommendations for the development community, policymakers, corporates and aspiring social entrepreneurs. At the highest levels, all major corporate and national policies need to have gender sensitivity and inclusion embedded in them, and not tackled as an afterthought.

Regular monitoring, accounting and enforcing of gender inclusion in these initiatives need to be carried out in a systematic and transparent manner. Better data on women in tech needs to be gathered and disseminated.
At an industry level, more cooperation is called for between the hardware, software and telecom sectors. At a deeper level, more involvement and enrolment of women are needed in STEM education. At the rural level, more women need to be involved and trained as heads of community service centres.

Decision flows in urban and rural organisations and community networks should be clearly mapped, so that gender roles can be identified and allotted in an equitable manner. Women should be regarded not just as consumers or users of digital media but as content creators and tool developers as well.

Finally, such forums should extend beyond the usual ‘Delhi circuit’ to the far corners and remote areas of India, and the outcomes of such deliberations should be made available in local languages as well.

These recommendations were displayed and presented at the Manthan 2015 conference, and the winners were acknowledged and honoured at the awards ceremony. We look forward to the implementation of such recommendations on a priority basis, and to tracking the progress made by the next Manthan Awards in 2016!

Manthan Awards aim to change rural lives Video
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2007

Recognising India’s best e-Content for Development 

Aab Gaon tak pahuncha sarkar ka SMS

eGovServices to develop CSCs in Jharkhand 

Equalising growth in outsourcing 

Recogninsing the ICT content innovations

Campus with no gates

Manthan Awards: New phase of websites tries to bring local flavour

Manthan Award for B.V.Selvaraj
Sunday, Sep 30, 2007

Granny Reports from Ajmer Village, Stroke by Keystroke 

BC Web Wise wins Manthan Award for developing
September 29 ‘2007

A glimpse into the Manthan Awards
Saturday, Sep 29, 2007

Manthan award for Lipi toolkit
Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

Manthan Awards aim to change rural lives
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2007

Manthan Awards aim to change rural lives
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2007

Granny reports from Ajmer village, stroke by keystroke
Monday, Sep 24, 2007

‘Manthan Award 2007’ for Narsaraopet website
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2007


Dash wins Manthan award for
Sunday, Sep 23, 2007

Manthan Award 2007 for Friends 2 Support
Sunday, sep 23, 2007

• Ishita Sanyal has been selected as winner of Manthan Award, 2007
Sunday, Sep 23, 2007

Ayushveda wins The Manthan Award for best health portal
Sunday, Sep 23, 2007 Wins The Manthan Award
Sunday, sep 23, 2007

Ayushveda wins The Manthan Award for best health portal  Monday Sep 24, 2007

Bits & Bytes – Giving IT Back’s community technology blog
July 16, 2007

The `BSC’ of identity
Monday, Mar 19, 2007

A glimpse into the Manthan Awards
Sunday, January 28, 2007

This Year’s Manthan Award goes to ‘e-Sagu’ 
Monday, Oct 15, 2007

A glimpse into the Manthan Award
Sept 27, 2007

Arbit Choudhury wins the Manthan Award !!
Sept 27, 2007

Friends, Romans & Sponsors
Sept 27, 2007

Manthan is an initiative of the Digital Empowerment Foundation

Kerala institute bags best e-content award

Uneducated woman spearheads e-content

Well wishers congratulate

Kerala institute bags best e-content award

The Manthan Award 2007 – The Best Of Econtent For Development In India

IIITM-K bags award for best e-content

IIITM-K bags award for best e-content

Kerala institute bags best e-content award

The Manthan Award 2007 Grand Jury members brings along with them rich and diverse experiences in fields cut across biotechnology, ICT to Forest development sectors. The following is a brief of the distinguished jury members:

Chairs of the Jury

DAY 1 (August 23, 2007)
Prof K Kannan, Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University

DAY 2 (August 24, 2007)
Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, IAS, Principal Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

Osama Manzar, Chairman, The Manthan Award; DEF
Shubhendu Parth, Director – Content & Governance, DEF


1. Prof. K Kannan, Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University

Prof Kannan is currently the Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University. With his scientific background, Prof. Kannan brings with him rich knowledge house of how technology can be deployed for innovations and new creations. His education stages crossed across Delhi University, IIT Mumbai and Mysore University and at the prestigious Imperial College of Science and Technology (London) . In the year 1982 joined at the newly established Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (Hyderabad) as a Scientist. He played an instrumental role in establishment of the state of the art protein sequencing lab comparable to the best in the world .he played a crucial role in establishing one of the first post graduate program in Biotechnology in India .In the year 1999 he moved back to academics as the first Professor and Dean, Biotechnology of the newly established Indraprastha University in Delhi.
2. Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Government of West Bengal

Mr. Chopra is currently Secretary, Horticulture & Food Processing, Government of West Bengal. Prior to this he was Secretary, Information Technology & Industries, Government of Uttarakhand. Mr. Chopra brings with him rich source of knowledge on diverse fields. His ideas and inputs have been covered across national print media. His current focus is on how agriculture can be made more dynamic with food and livelihood security for farmers.

3. Ms Madhura M Chatrapathy, Trustee Director, Asian Centre for Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Bangalore

Ms Chatrapathy is the Trustee Director of Asian Centre for Entrepreneurial Initiatives –ASCENT, she is an entrepreneurship champion working across Africa and Asia regions. Her successful enterprise- Food Associates Bangalore, is known for its unique range of customized food ingredients for local and global process meeting global standards.

She has established institution like AWAKE and ASCENT. A Catalyst and Chief Facilitator of ToeHold Artisans Collaborative, much acclaimed model for clustering approach. She has authored books and research papers / publication on entrepreneurship and SMEs. She is the first woman District Governor in South Asia, first woman Rotary international training leader from Asia. She has been awarded the Service above Self award.
4. Mr Sajan Venniyoor, Solution Exchange, UNDP

Sajan Venniyoor is Resource Person and Moderator for the ICT for Development Community of Solution Exchange, an UN initiative in India. UN Solution Exchange is a knowledge-sharing initiative to help improve development effectiveness in support of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). After 15 years in radio, and a brief stint in the Prasar Bharati secretariat, he moved to Doordarshan, where he worked for the Narrowcasting division, as well as Doordarshan’s DTH project, ‘DD Direct’. He joined UN Solution Exchange in 2006. He writes on broadcast issues, and is a founder-member of the Community Radio Forum, India.
5. Mr Manas Chakrabarti, Director, Digital Equalizer Program, American India Foundation

Mr. Chakrabarti, is Director of Digital Equalizer Program, AIF. Prior to this he was heading the NIIT Hole-in-Wall project, a pioneering project in enabling computer literacy to disadvantaged children in India. Mr. Chakrabarti carries rich experience in how ICT tools can be deployed for educational needs of children, especially at the grassroots level.
6. Mr Sunil Kapoor, Director—Central Buying, Fortis Healthcare Limited & Director, Jassa Ram Hospital

Mr. Kapoor is currently in the health care sector. His rich experience in health sector have seen instrumental in dealing with various health related governance and developmental issues.




7. Mr Shyam Malhotra, Executive Director, Cyber Media India

Mr. Malhotra is well known media personality, especially in the IT domain. He is also the Managing Editor of DATAQUEST, India’s one of the prominent IT publication. Mr. Malhotra carries with him rich experience is IT matters in India.
8. Ms. Rufina Fernandez, CEO, Nasscom Foundation

Rufina Fernandes, is the founder CEO of NASSCOM Foundation. NF was seeded by NASSCOM in mid-2005. NF’s core focus is to leverage information and communications technology (ICT) to help under-served communities and to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the IT industry. Based in Mumbai, Rufina brings diverse experience and passion to her current role.

As the chief architect of NF’s programs, Rufina has facilitated the creation of programs such as ‘Building ICT Capacities @ the Grassroots’ (BiG) – a series of workshops intended for small and medium sized organisations to help build an ICT dimension in their projects; STEP program – a collaborative partnership project that addresses the education-employability gap and builds entrepreneurial skills among youth in backward communities and ACT program – focused on facilitating ICT solutions for people with disabilities through advocacy, research and development.

9. Mr. Rajen Varada, Co-Founder & Director, Technology for the People (TFTP)

Rajen is a Project Head for SSK at UNICEF Hyderabad and Founder of TFTP (Technology for the People). Rajen is the winner of Manthan Award 2005 as well as Winner of World Summit Award 2005 in the e-Health Category for the product called Sisu Samarakshak. He has just formed India’s first group of ICT for SHGs (Self Help Groups) in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh

10. Ms. Ashish Garg, Country Representative, Global e-School & Community Initiative [GeSCI]

Ashish Garg – an educationist by profession, she has more than ten years of experience in the Education Sector in India and her area of expertise is ICT in Education. Currently, she heads the India program for Global e Schools and Communities Initiative. GeSCI is founded by the UN ICT Task Force and supported by the Governments of Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada.
As the program head for GeSCI, Ashish works with the Ministry of Education, Govt of India to develop strategies for effective and sustained implementation of ICTs in Schools. Prior to GeSCI, she worked with World Links.
11. Mr. Shashank Ojha, World Bank [International Agency]

Mr. Ojha is with World Bank, India. His critical ideas and inputs on World Bank policy and governance matters is widely known. He was worked in various e-Governance projects at the policy level.
12. Mr. P. Raghuveer, IFS; Forest Development Agency, Hyderabad

Mr. Raghuveer is current CF(Forest Development Agency), Govt. of Andhra Pradesh. He has rich experiences in working in community projects involving forest mattes.


13. Mr. Pravin Chandekar, Additional Director, Department of Information Technology, MIT, GoI

Mr. Pravin Chandekar has a Bachelor of Electronics Engineering from Amaravati University. He started his professional career as an Engineer in Semiconductor Ltd in 1988 and thereafter joined India Institute of Tropical Metrology as Scientist. Subsequently, joined Department of IT (the then Department of Electronics) in 1991 and worked in various capacities in the areas of IT in Transport sector, IT for Masses, Networks. During 2001-2005, he worked as Director (IT) for Govt of Goa, in various areas of e-Governance, infrastructure development and promotion of IT in the State. His current responsibilities in the Department of Information Technology are in the areas of implementation of e-Governance Projects related to various social and economic sectors in various States of India.
14. Ms. Mridula Chandra, Manthan Awardee; Director – Health & Social Development Research Centre, Jaipur

Ms Mridula Chandra is the Secretary, Health & Social Development Research Centre, Jaipur. She has a vast knowledge experiences in the social sector for over 20 years. A Masters in Social Work from Delhi School of Social Work, Ms Chandra has worked at the community level in the areas of health, HIV/AIDS, family planning and other grassroots areas. She is also a winner of Manthan Award 2005 in the e-Health category.

15. Mr. Naimur Rahman, Director, OneWorld South Asia

Naimur Rahman is Director of OneWorld South Asia – the South Asian regional centre of OneWorld network. OneWorld South Asia works on building communication opportunities & knowledge connectivity at the grassroots; and as part of their work has developed sizable expertise and experience on rural connectivity & e-service demand in South Asia.
Naimur has been associated with social sector initiatives for more than 15 years and has served in various capacities with government, bi-lateral funding agencies, corporate sector, and civil society organizations. He brings in managerial, advisory and consulting experience in technology, knowledge management and international development domains. Naimur possesses a first class honors degree in Engineering and has subsequently completed post graduate management education in International Business.
16. Mr. Anurag Batra, Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief,

Mr. Batra is the Managing Diector of, a pioneering publication in India on media matters. He is well known for his rich knowledge in media and development issues.


17. Mr. SN Goswami, Managing Director & CEO, Media Lab Asia

Mr. Goswami is the current CEO & Managing Director of Media Lab Asia. Prior to this, he was associated with WEBEL, West Bengal. He brings with him rich experience in ICT applications and disseminations in remote locations and underdeveloped states in India like Jharkhand.


18. Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Fellow, India Development Foundation

Amir Ullah Khan studied Electronics Engineering at Osmania University and Rural management at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). His PhD was on Intellectual Property Issues in International Trade. He joined the Indian Civil service, quit after a brief stint and worked for four years with Project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy) of the UNDP and Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He headed the Academic unit at the Indian School of Finance and Management, where he taught Economics and Management. Subsequently he worked as Executive Director and Editor, Encyclopaedia Britannica India and as Deputy Secretary General at the PHDCCI, the apex North Indian Chamber of Commerce in India. He is a Fellow at the India Development Foundation. He has written on legal and economic issues and his forthcoming book for SAGE is titled “States of the Indian Economy”.

19. Mr Piyush Gupta, National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), Hyderabad

Piyush Gupta has around 24 years of experience in information technology and management with the government, public sector, private and as an entrepreneur. Presently he is holding the office of General Manager (Capacity Building & Knowledge Management) with the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG), India. NISG works closely with the Ministry of Communication & IT, Government of India and various State Governments of India for the implementation of the National e-Governance Plan. Piyush has been a member of the Advisory Committee of The Commonwealth Center for e-Governance – India Chapter and on the panel of ISO Auditor for IT companies with DNV (Norway) Certifying agency. He has also been on the United Nations ICT Task Force ‘ICT Policy and Governance’ and “Human Resource Development” working groups.

Mr Vinod Malhotra, Vice President, TCS

– Osama Manzar
– Shubhendu Parth
– Shahid Ahmad
– Syed S Kazi
– Neeraj Singh
– Soumika Majumdar
– Ranjit Kumar
– Sunny Pahuja
– Puneet Sharma

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