The State government on Saturday launched tablet computers designed specially for farmers. Information about agriculture will be available on the device in Kannada and English.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Information Technology and Biotechnology Minister S R Patil distributed the tablets to select farmers from Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts.
The device, named ‘Namma Raitha’ tablet, will be given to farmers’ clubs in the two districts in the days to come. Up to 50 farmers can open accounts in each tablet. Free Internet facility will be available for the first three months and later users will have to subscribe. Each tablet costs about Rs 10,000, sources in the government said.
The tablets have been developed by non-resident Indian software professionals associated with the non-profit, eKissan Foundation. Biocon Foundation, Infosys Foundation and other NGOs are also associated with the initiative, according to a press release from the government.
A dedicated call centre will answer farmers’ questions on agriculture. Besides, information on weather, soil, pesticides, crop patterns, government loan schemes for farmers, etc will be available on the tablet.
Patil said it was the first time that such a technological help had been extended to farmers anywhere in India. Every farmers’ club of 15-20 members in nearly 1,500 villages will get a tablet free of charge.
Gouri Shankar, Trustee, eKissan Foundation, said, “Being born in a farmers’ family in Bagalkot, I have seen and experienced what challenges farmers face. After spending a decade in the US and seeing global trends, I believe access to relevant and timely information will help farmers.”