January 18, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore
The Akshaya team, known for facilitating the e-revolution in Kerala, recently won an award in New Delhi, giving it a chance to emphasize its unprecedented work.
Akshaya prevailed in the e-Governance category of the 7th Manthan Awards South Asia 2010. The honor was received by Akshaya Director Korath V. Mathew, who graduated from the Amrita School of Business at Coimbatore.
Inaugurated by former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Akshaya was launched in November 2002 in the Malappuram District of Kerala. In eight years, this information and communications technology (ICT) mission project changed the face of Kerala.
“Akshaya is part of the Kerala State IT Mission,” stated Korath. “We focus on citizen service centres that reach the grass roots level.”
Service delivery facilities known as e-centres were set up to physically connect with citizens.
Akshaya’s first phase, known as e-literary training, Korath explained, equipped citizens of eight Kerala districts with basic computer operating skills and familiarized them with the internet. One-hundred percent e-literacy was accomplished in these regions during this phase.
The project’s second phase began in 2007. During this time, Akshaya’s e-centres provided computer instruction to people of six additional Kerala districts, introducing them to new services including: e-Payment, e-Filing and e-Ticketing.
Currently Akshaya offers these services at over 2000 branches.
When Korath’s team took on the task of improving computer literacy in Kerala, it faced many hurdles, and had to set small, reachable goals first before taking bigger strides.
“How to win the credibility of the state government? How to popularize Akshaya? These were some questions we faced when we began,” said Korath.
“Our initial goal was to make at least one person per family, e-literate.”
As a result of Akshaya’s ingenuity and strategic moves, 33 lakh people benefited. Now in its third phase, Akshaya uses e-centres to deliver ICT related education that can help citizens secure better jobs. It has built strong connections with universities like IGNOU.
So what’s next? With over 2,000 e-centres, Akshaya is beginning to make a long-lasting impact on the state’s social, economic and political scene.
“We are getting full support from government agencies and officials. Our focus now will be on training young entrepreneurs. Our aim is to transform the world around us,” stated Korath.