The Pullumpara village panchayat in the Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala achieved the distinction of becoming the first totally digitally literate panchayat in the country. The announcement was made by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a public event. The mission to achieve total digital literacy was aimed at empowering the residents to get access to over 800 government services available through the online mode. The residents were also trained to use social media platforms and basic banking services during the training.
Digital literate panchayat: Key points
- Around 250 engineering college students and members of Kudumbashree trained the residents while the process was monitored by the Kerala Technological University (KTU).
- A total of 3,174 in the age group of 14-65 cleared the evaluation test held after the training, enabling the local body to become totally digitally literate.
- The left democratic front (LDF) government in Kerala had announced to extend digital literacy to all the residents. The government has also created Kerala – Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) to provide an internet connection to all and to ensure its promise of making access to the internet a basic right.
Mission to create digital Literacy:
- The program to provide digital literacy to the residents of the Pullumpara village panchayat, ‘Digi Pullampara’ was launched on August 15, 2021. After a year-long effort from the local body with able support from the volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) of five engineering colleges, a higher secondary school and Kudumbashree workers, the mission was accomplished.
- A survey was held in 15 wards of the panchayat to identify the prospective trainees. Around 3,917 people were identified of which 3,330 were trained by the volunteers. The remaining were unable to participate in the training due to age and health-related issues.
- The primary aim was to educate the beneficiaries to access around 800 online services provided by the government of Kerala.
- The role of volunteers including college and school students and members of the women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) Kudambashree was acknowledged by M B Rajesh, the minister for Local Self-Governance (LSG).
Digital Literacy and Access to the Internet:
- The LDF government in Kerala is the first state to announce internet connection as a basic right in 2019. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence was provided to K-FON by the department of telecommunications in July 2022.
- The K-FON aims to provide affordable internet connections to the underprivileged and government institutions in the state.