The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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Information portal boost for Assam

Jorhat, July 23: The Centre for Rural Development has launched the Assamese version of Vikaspedia, an online information portal, which provides tips on health, energy, education, social welfare, e-governance and agriculture to people.

The two-day programme, which concluded in Guwahati last week, apprised stakeholders on how relevant local content can be uploaded.

Vikaspedia is an online portal set up by the department of electronics and information technology, Union ministry of information and telecommunication, on February 18. The portal was initially created in five languages — English, Assamese, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi.

J. Satyanarayana, secretary, department of electronics and information technology, said Vikaspedia was part of the process of democratisation of information where people can view important information online for free.

The website, which has been executed by Centre for Development in Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad, has been designed by the nodal agency Centre for Rural Development in Assam through an agreement signed in August last year.

Pankaj Neog, coordinator of the Assam centre, said though the portal would be open for all like Wikipedia, users cannot edit or upload new information.

“For each subject there would be a people to review all uploaded information and then permitted to be uploaded on the portal after verification and editing,” he said.

The portal framework provides an opportunity for collaborative content creation.

One can register as a content contributor or content member in their own field of expertise and after registration, one can upload or edit content in the relevant field.

As the multilingual knowledge portal is participatory, one can give feedback, vote in opinion polls, subscribe and participate in discussions.

“The objective is to reach out to people who can read and write only in Assamese. The portal has about 4,000 pages, including, a descriptive dictionary link, so that readers can look up the meaning of words easily without leaving a page,” Neog said.

The web portal in Assamese has 352 contributors for the six topics.

Mahan Bora of Meleng here, who is one of the content providers in the agriculture section, said he would be providing content relating to preservation and growing of indigenous rice varieties so the germplasm remains intact, as many of these rice varieties have genes to withstand extreme drought or floods.

Samudra Gupta Kashyap, writer, spoke on the importance of the keywords so the contents could be easily searched, while Dinesh Baishya, former principal of B. Barooah College, called for incorporation of tradition-based knowledge which had a scientific basis.