Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with children at a government school in Alwar in October, 2014.(HT file photo)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with children at a government school in Alwar in October, 2014.(HT file photo)

India’s first digital village project shuts down amid chorus for Digital India

Villagers believe the centre was closed because schoolchildren were shooting off mails to the district collector and top bureaucrats about absent panchayat officials, who met at the sewa kendra.
By Devendra Bhardwaj | Alwar, Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2017 08:16 AM IST

The country’s first minority cyber village project has died a quiet death in Rajasthan’s Alwar, barely 150km from New Delhi, amid the chorus for Digital India.

With that died hopes of several schoolchildren who were dreaming big after meeting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In February 2014, the government launched a “minority cyber-gram” project in Chandoli village, where more than 70% of people are Meo Muslims. The project was aimed at training the villagers to become Internet savvy.

That year in October, the Facebook CEO visited Chandoli.

But three years on, the Congress-led UPA government’s project has been shelved. No official reason has been given.

The move was surprising as it contradicts the Narendra Modi government’s push to bridge the country’s technology divide through its Digital India initiative, with plans to provide e-governance and phone connectivity to the entire population.

Read: Zuckerberg leaves a Mark on this Alwar village

The Digital Empowerment Foundation, an NGO, ran the project at the Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra in the village. The centre was renamed Atal Sewa Kendra when the BJP-led NDA came into power in 2014.

“We were asked to vacate the government building in February 2015,” said Yousuf Khan, a regional manager of the NGO.

The NGO operated for another year out of a rented room but could not sustain the project without funds.

Villagers believe the centre was closed because schoolchildren were shooting off mails to the district collector and top bureaucrats about absent panchayat officials, who met at the sewa kendra.

That probably ticked many government officials off.

The children are obviously oblivious to the machinations, if any. All they know is the centre has been closed and the dream that was born when they met Zuckerberg was crushed.

“We thought one day we will also make software and websites and bring laurels to our village. With the centre closed, we feel our dream will never fulfill,” said Hazrat Sapwan, one of the many child dreamers in the village.

Yasmeen Siddiqui, a student of class 8, recalled how she read news from around the world on Google and updated her parents about it, when the village cyber project was operating.

It was not just the kids who were captivated by the computer and the worldwide web it gave access to.

People like 50-year-old Bhagwati Devi loved going to the centre to learn computers.

“It’s been eight months since the centre closed. The closure is a huge loss,” she said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
The web series Mirzapur was launched in 2018 by Excel Entertainment and due to its successful run, the second edition of the web series was launched in October 2020. (HT FILE PHOTO).
The web series Mirzapur was launched in 2018 by Excel Entertainment and due to its successful run, the second edition of the web series was launched in October 2020. (HT FILE PHOTO).

SC notice on plea to ban Mirzapur web series, set up pre-screening body for OTT

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:27 AM IST
  • The petition demanded an immediate ban on further screening of the web series and sought directions from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to set up a pre-screening committee for censoring content of similar web series, movies or other programmes release on OTT platforms.
Close
Covid-19 vaccines being unloaded from a flight at the Dehradun airport. (HT PHOTO).
Covid-19 vaccines being unloaded from a flight at the Dehradun airport. (HT PHOTO).

Double temperature checks, regular monitoring keep vaccines safe in Uttarakhand

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:18 AM IST
  • Uttarakhand at present has over 92,000 doses of Covishield vaccine, after a second consignment was received by the state on Wednesday afternoon. The state received the first consignment of 1.13 lakh vaccines on January 13.
Close
Issuing a notice on Shinde’s petition, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde asked the MCGM and its Mayor to respond whether the power to have a Leader of Opposition for the House could be exercised only once during the term of the House. (HT FILE PHOTO).
Issuing a notice on Shinde’s petition, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde asked the MCGM and its Mayor to respond whether the power to have a Leader of Opposition for the House could be exercised only once during the term of the House. (HT FILE PHOTO).

SC issues notice on BJP leader's plea, wants Mumbai mayor's response in 15 days

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:57 AM IST
  • The plea before the court was made by BJP councillor Prabhakar Tukaram Shinde, who is currently the Group Leader of the BJP in MCGM.
Close
BJP president JP Nadda will visit Chinhat in Uttar Pradesh on Friday to hold a meeting with the workers of the rural areas. (ANI PHOTO).
BJP president JP Nadda will visit Chinhat in Uttar Pradesh on Friday to hold a meeting with the workers of the rural areas. (ANI PHOTO).

Nadda meets UP ministers, asks them to prep for 2022 assembly polls

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:34 AM IST
  • BJP state unit general secretary Ashwani Tyagi said the party’s national chief reviewed the working of the ministers. He applauded the state government and CM Yogi Adityanath for providing momentum to development work amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Close
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Chairman Anit Thapa during a rally at Sukna in Siliguri in December 2020.(PTI)
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Chairman Anit Thapa during a rally at Sukna in Siliguri in December 2020.(PTI)

Citizenship row hits GTA chairman Anit Thapa after Nepalese portal’s claim

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:14 AM IST
  • Anit Thapa refuted the portal's claim and claimed it was a conspiracy.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Dissent escalates in K’taka BJP against BSY after cabinet reshuffle

By Sharan Poovanna
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:11 AM IST
Bengaluru: Hours after he shuffled his cabinet to allocate portfolios to newly inducted ministers, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa faced a backlash on Thursday from both the old guard and the new entrants, leaving the 77-year-old seemingly isolated
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Sasikala tests positive for Covid days before release from prison

By Sharan Poovanna and Divya Chandrababu
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:11 AM IST
Chennai and Bengaluru: VK Sasikala, the jailed associate of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Will decide in 4 weeks on mercy plea of Rajiv case convict: TN Guv to SC

By Abraham Thomas, New delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:10 AM IST
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Thursday told the Supreme Court that a decision on the mercy petition of one of the convicts serving a life sentence for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, AG Perarivalan will be taken within four weeks
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Internal elections, upcoming assembly polls in focus as Cong Working Committee meets today

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:09 AM IST
New Delhi:The Congress Working Committee meeting on Friday might consider the upcoming assembly elections in four states and the time required for the party’s election authority (CEA) to prepare the ground for internal elections, before drawing up a schedule for the latter, which could see the election of a new president
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Ahead of elections, TMC says BSF being misused

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:08 AM IST
Kolkata The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India alleging that the Border Security Force was threatening people living in areas in the state bordering Bangladesh, asking them to vote for a particular political party
Close
HT Image
HT Image

5 dead as fire breaks out at Serum facility

By Shalaka Shinde, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:59 PM IST
Five people were killed in a blaze that ripped through the top floor and partially damaged another floor of a five-storey building at a facility of the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune on Thursday, but the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer said the incident will not hit the production of coronavirus shot Covishield
Close
HT Image
HT Image

IT panel quizzes Facebook, Twitter over data protection

By Deeksha Bhardwaj
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:57 PM IST
New Delhi: The parliamentary panel on information technology on Thursday quizzed Facebook and Twitter over their data-sharing and protection protocols in the wake of recent changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy that have since been deferred , people familiar with the proceedings said
Close
HT Image
HT Image

‘Construction in our own territory’: China on Arunachal village report

By Sutirtho Patranobis
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:56 PM IST
Beijing China on Thursday dismissed a report that said it had built a village in Arunachal Pradesh, saying the construction activities were within its own territory and its sovereign right
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Army plans to deploy 10,000 troops as LAC reinforcements

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:52 PM IST
NEW DELHI: With a planned and gradual drawdown of soldiers underway in the Northeast ,where the security situation has significantly improved, the Indian Army plans to redeploy up to 10,000 extra troops by the year-end to carry out the force’s primary task --- dealing with the Chinese threat in the eastern sector, people familiar with the development said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity
Close
The RJD chief has been at the RIMS since December 2018 for kidney-related ailments.(PTI)
The RJD chief has been at the RIMS since December 2018 for kidney-related ailments.(PTI)

Lalu Prasad under observation at RIMS after contracting pneumonia

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:41 AM IST
  • RIMS Director Dr Kameshwar Prasad said it seems to be a case of acute pneumonia and he has been put under round-the-clock observation.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP