Livemint: July, 2015
Mumbai: Google India launched a special programme called Internet Saathi to bring more women online, along with Tata Trust, in Mumbai on Friday.
While inaugurating the event, Tata Sons Ltd chairman emeritus Ratan Tata said: “When I was in school, there was no access to even a telephone, and today every rickshaw puller and paan wala has access to a cellphone. Some of them have also graduated to smartphones. In addition to access, Internet has brought dignity and self respect to these people. Google as a company has digitized the world and it’s a privilege to work with them towards bringing women online.”
The objective of the programme is to empower rural women and their communities by enabling them to use Internet in their daily lives. The programme aims to provide basic training on the usage of Internet and its benefits by use of specially designed Internet cycle carts. These cycle carts will visit villages to provide access.
“India has 300 million users and 6-7 million users are being added each month. While 50% women in urban India use the Internet, this number is very low for rural women,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director, south-east Asia and India, Google.
The programme will be launched in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand where Internet carts will be available in villages for a minimum of two days every week for 4-6 months. The aim is to reach out to 4,500 villages and 500,000 women by the end of 2016. Information will be provided on farming techniques, payment of school fees, bills, etc.
By October, Google India is looking to bring 50 million women online.