The Managing Director of the National Federation of Tourism & Transport Cooperatives of India (NFTC) Mr Ram Naresh Thakur, has launched the Pan India implementation of PM-WANI and the Kisan Suvidha schemes of the Indian Government through the medium of this apex cooperatives’ body.

The launch event took place at a Press Conference at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Thakur emphasized that with the inspiration from the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modiji, the PM-WANI scheme, which provides inexpensive and secure Wi-Fi connectivity to villages and other unserved areas across India, is ushering in a revolution by enabling and empowering the hitherto deprived populace. PM-WANI (Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Network Interface) is enhancing the proliferation of public Wi-F- hotspots to create a robust digital communications infrastructure in the country, especially in rural areas.

The PM WANI scheme is spearheaded by C-DoT. Under this scheme, Public Data Office (PDO) is opened in, say, a shop in a village, from where pre-paid and post-paid Wi-Fi connectivity is provided to the villagers. Once the Wi-Fi connectivity is available on phones or on other devices, train ticket booking, banking operations, studies of students, latest information about government schemes and a world of knowledge becomes available, greatly filling the present rural urban divide. The PDOs work on solar energy and are thus providing Wi-Fi in even those mountainous areas that may not have electricity. As the number of PDOs is steadily going up and serving crores of people, the knowledge revolution is assuming the proportions of an avalanche.

Speaking at the launch the General Manager of NFTC Mr Abhijit Giri said that this digital empowerment of rural India is a step towards Digital India and is also providing a lot of employment opportunities by opening hitherto closed doors.

One PDO can give WI-Fi to as many as 120 devices. Both 4-G and 5-G are available. Soon, the data will be provided through satellites enabling the service in even those areas that do not have Optical Fibre or mobile tower network, said Mr Giri.

The Director of the Chamber of Business and Entrepreneur (India) Council (CBEIC), Mr Saurabh Mitra, who is spearheading the Kisan Suvidha pre-paid card, told the press that the effort is to empower the farmers across India through the medium of this card. He shared that the proposal of co-branding the card with the State Bank of India is at an advanced stage and may fructify soon. The work is on a mission mode to make Kisan Mitras across the country who educate the farmers about the Kisan Suvidha card. Through this card, the farmers will be able to get access to the beneficial schemes created for them by the government and will be able to avail the subsidies. They will not only be able to get seeds and fertilizer but also farming equipment and technology through the medium of these cards.

Through these cards, the farmers will also be able to access instant credit of, say Rs 5000 to Rs 25000/-, from Non-Banking Financial Institutions, shared Mr Mitra. This will save them from money-lenders’ clutches. In time to come, the entrepreneurs in rural areas will also be able to sell their products nationwide for which this secure Kisan Suvidha card will be a boon, he said.

In conclusion, Mr Ram Naresh Thakur sought the cooperation of everyone, including the media, to make these schemes a success for the benefit of the poor and the deprived. He said that NFTC, as an apex body of cooperatives in the country, is making all efforts to reach the benefits to deprived areas of the country. He shared that for this mission he travels deep into the dehat and sees at first hand the difficulty that students have in their studies and fully realizes what a difference an inexpensive Wi-Fi connection provided by the government can make. He lauded the vision of Prime Minister Modi in giving to the nation the PM-WANI scheme and called it a patriotic exercise in nation building.