What can ICTs do for this mother and her son?


Posted by on December 20, 2007  /  1 Comments

Banana rope lady

It was not long ago that Laloo Prasad Yadav Minister of Railways and former Bihar Chief Minister sarcastically asked what computers can do for his constituency, comprised mostly of agriculture communities. Had he been to Madurai with the CPRSouth participants on last Monday (Dec 17) perhaps he might have learnt.

This lady, with so many others, plays an integral role in ROPE (Rural Outsourced Production Enterprise) which sets up dedicated village-based contract production centers for its clients. Its mission is to integrate domestic and international markets with informal sectors of rural India and generate value for the skills and resources available in these sectors.

This lady and others like her, we were told, make INR 50 (USD 1.26) per day on this part time job of making banana ropes for products like window blinds, bags, mats etc. That per se does not put her above the USD 2 mark, but in rural India, it is a worthy extra income.

The project is one of Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) initiatives. A registered society established under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, RTBI functions under the Chairmanship of Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras. RTBI’s mission is to design, pilot and incubate business ventures with a specifically rural focus. Its vision is to facilitate /rural-inclusive/ technology and business development in the rural space.

Find more about RTBI here.

Find a full range of products manufactured under this project here.

1 Comment


  1. I don’t think high-tech ICT should directly used in such stories. Someone visited this place, took the photo and uploaded to this blog. This is how ICT helps the poor. Someone who is ready to take this small venture to the next level can chip in. (This picture/story is worth than the popular picture with the farmer and the laptop.) At this stage reporting will do a big difference. It is high time our (citizen) journalists exploited this. In traditional printed journalism such stories would have a small place but in the age of the Web 2.0, sky is the limit.

    The best example is Mr. Kumara Ekanayake’s (Bibile) video clip in YouTube about a family which lived in a hut. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_thOTNVapwA

    The video clip resulted in Diaspora coming together to build a house to the family. http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2007/8/18768_image_headline.html

    These instances can be isolated incidents. But at a time big-time ventures fail miserably in rural areas these small success stories can give hopes to the people.