Microland Foundation DigiPreneurs Serve the Last Citizen unlock benefits affordably
BANGALORE: Microland Foundation, a dedicated social development arm of Microland Limited, in partnership with Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) is supporting a cohort of 20 fellows (Microland DigiPreneurs) own and run Digital Kiosks, helping a section of Tumkur’s BPL (Below Poverty Line) population find and access suitable government schemes. The nation is moving towards rapid digital transformation, leading to the expansion of opportunities for digital inclusion. The DigiPreneur program fits in with such aspirations and recognizes that the accelerated pace of digital transformation might increase the social exclusion of already vulnerable groups. The DigiPreneur initiative is a comprehensive and holistic way to leave no one behind by leaving no one offline.
The program has taken a "whole-of-government" and a "whole-of-society" approach to lessen the digital divide and is at a moment of growth post a review for consolidation. The program has been running for 1 year as a proof of concept in Tumkur. A multi-stakeholder meet was organized on 14th December 2022, to deliberate on successes achieved and embed those in the program design. The commitment is to strengthen DigiPrenuers’ capacity to enable them to address priorities for and of the community and inspire local support to secure sustenance in the long run.
20 Digipreneurs & project partners meet to deliberate on the challenges & opportunities of digital inclusion for rural India
Santosh, one of the digiprenuers says “Today, the central and state governments run hundreds of schemes to benefit the needy. However, community access to these schemes is extremely limited. The rural beneficiaries of these schemes must travel to the nearest taluk, block or Gram One center, giving up crucial daily wages and sometimes even paying middlemen. By the time the benefits arrive, if they do at all, the spirit of the beneficiary is almost broken.”
Another DigiPrenuer Salma adds, ”We have been trained in digital services and to assist the community in fetching key information that helps them access government entitlements. Most of the community members live in information darkness, with a per capita annual income of Rs 25,535. Our Digital Kiosks help community members claim benefits in the critical areas of health, education, social and financial inclusion, livelihood, and employment. Now we are also earning a stable monthly income of Rs. 6,000 - Rs.8,000.”
Mr Ravichandran, Interim Executive Director of TIDE says, ”The project identified 20 enterprising youths from the community. It then trained them in computer software and hardware. Additionally, they were also trained to be the links in the missing chain by networking between government officials and the community. At the same time, the project also curated a list of 69 most relevant services in rural Karnataka. It felt like magic unfolded on the ground with the opening of a Digital Kiosk, with a laptop, fingerprint scanner, and printer cum scanner. These Kiosks were strategically placed to cater to 10 villages or more and not eat into each other’s business.”
Kalpana Kar, Trustee Microland Foundation stated, “The State facilities are really useful, but they need to be provided at the least cost to the last citizen. Otherwise, at the bottom layer, the last person in the chain might find the system too complicated to be useful. Today, these entrepreneurs are handheld with a feedback loop mechanism, which collects regular performance data, covering services, incomes, challenges, and new opportunities. The support framework helps the entrepreneurs with a business plan, maintains sales and expense data, provides marketing support, and introduces them to new schemes along with giving hardware service support and mid-way refresher courses. At many Kiosks, the spirit of entrepreneurship has helped the entrepreneurs multiply auxiliary income opportunities catering to certain exclusive local needs of food and non-food products.”
“I have seen my father, a farmer, and many like him who make multiple trips to different offices to avail schemes and services. I know first-hand the pain of travelling miles to access the simplest of information. The citizen feels defeated. This Kiosk helps me in my mission of sewa. The MLF DigiPreneur program made it possible for me” says Santosh, a strong pillar of the Tumkur cohort. Santosh has set up his Digital Kiosk at his house and stays available 24x7 to his community members, even for services outside his usual scope, such as printing out examination hall passes at three in the morning for students. When he goes door-to-door on his motorcycle, spreading awareness about the welfare schemes, his family holds the fort. His father, who has availed many schemes over time, fills in for his son as a resource person, educating beneficiaries.
The MLF DigiPreneurs are changing the script of development in the rural sector and creating new possibilities for themselves. In the last four months, the MLF 20 DigiPreneurs of Tumkur region have unlocked around 50 schemes each and have impacted 20,000 lives in their specific communities.
Microland's delivery of digital and "Making Digital Happen" allows technology to do more and intrude less. We make it easier for enterprises to adopt NextGen Digital infrastructure. We enable this using our expertise in Cloud and Data Centres, Networks, Digital Workplace, Cybersecurity and Industrial IoT— ensuring the embrace of brilliance is predictable, reliable and stable.
In the COVID-19 impacted world, Microland is making digital happen for enterprises with a laser focus on services that are more relevant to our clients and prospects than ever before. Incorporated in 1989 and headquartered in Bengaluru, India, Microland has more than 5,000 digital specialists across offices and delivery centres in Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East and North America.
Read more here: https://www.microland.com/
About Microland Foundation
Microland Foundation has been established as a dedicated social development arm, forging meaningful partnerships to conceptualize and implement projects that solve society's most pressing problems. A CSR Board of distinguished professionals bring deep developmental sector expertise and digital inventiveness along with dedicated employees championing our initiatives to form an advantageous and conducive ecosystem for the Foundation's operations. We are dedicated to uplifting and empowering lives with a bottom up and collaborative approach while promising long-term commitment to issues and sectors. All social activities of the Microland Foundation are effectuated keeping the community at the heart of Microland's CSR endeavours.
Media Contact: Dipa.Sahu@microland.com