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India launches its very own VIKASPEDIA

New Delhi open data launches in five languages

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The Indian government has launched Vikaspedia, a multi-lingual online portal designed to push important information out to the masses.

Despite its name suggesting this is an Indian version of Wikipedia, the project is at present more of an e-government/open data push intended to share knowledge in five key areas: agriculture, health, education, social welfare and energy. It's also offered in five languages and scripts: English, Hindi, Assamese, Marathi and Telugu.

The site offers are discussion forums, best practice tips, case studies and links to other useful resources as well as a separate section on New Delhi’s e-government efforts.

“Vikaspedia is part of democratisation of information,” secretary for electronics and IT, J Satyanarayana, told reporters at the launch (via PTI). “Earlier, for some information people had to pay but now most of it will be made available for which they don’t have to pay.”

Currently the site is available in five languages including English but the aim is apparently to have it support 22 Indian languages.

It features the ability to register with the project as a content contributor, although this seems weighted towards official institutions and organisations rather than individuals.

The site also includes links to several mobile app downloads including SHELTOR, a student hostel locator, and MOTHER, an application dealing with maternal health.

The portal was developed by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and can be seen in context of the government’s gradual efforts to use the power of the internet to improve the health and well-being of its 1.3 billion-strong population.

Another flagship project, which involved putting a low-cost Aakash tablet into the hands of every school kid in the country, has failed to launch so far after numerous delays. ®

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