The Social Informatics Research Group of Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta is contributing towards a great initiative by taking up the project to create the next generation of collaborative and active rural community through digitally empowering them. The main objective of the project is to analyse and measure the influence and strength of smart-phone enabled social information systems basing on the socio-economic performance of Self Help Groups (SHGs), the micro-communities in rural India.
The long-term motive of the project is to empower the rural community and encourage their participation in not only improving their livelihood but also helping the government with local situational information during any human-made or natural disaster.
For this purpose, Panasonic India is partnering with Social Informatics Research Group in the project. The primary objective of Panasonic is to train 50 SHG members of Khandi SHG Federation, Murshidabad regarding the use of smartphones which will consequently harness the potential of digital connectivity that enables community participation in governance.
Panasonic India has already donated 50 smartphones for this project to study the usage of a smartphone-enabled social information system by the members of SHG and its effectiveness in improving their livelihood. Bharati Airtel has given low-cost corporate mobile connections to these phones.
Heritage Institute of Technology is also one of the project implementation partners. Information Technology Research Academy is funding the project.
Somprakash Bandyopadhyay, Professor of MIS Group and Research Director of Social Informatics Research Group mentioned that the project would focus on addressing the current problem of the information gap between urban market and rural SHGs.