Friday, March 03, 2006

Baramati chalo...

This note is from the organisers of the event...

Sixth Annual Baramati Initiative on ICT and Development. Baramati, Maharashtra, India – March 9 - 11, 2006. Co-Organized by: Vidya Pratishthan's Institute of Information & Technology YES BANK.

The Potential of E-Agriculture: This is the sixth in a series of conferences organized by Vidya Pratishthan’s Institute of Technology (VIIT) in Baramati, Maharashtra, India. This year, the conference will focus on the use of Information and Communication Technology in Agriculture (e-Agriculture), exploring avenues through which governments, NGO’s, development agencies and corporates can work to successfully promote e-agriculture to benefit the rural economy.

Though over 65 percent of India’s population resides in rural areas, with majority working in agriculture and allied areas, it contributes to a mere 23 percent of total GDP. Meanwhile, the services sector has raced ahead on the back of the phenomenal growth in the IT and ITES sectors. The agents that funneled their growth – technology, information, and efficient processes – now need to be chanelised into the agriculture sector and assist India’s remaining six fifty million to augment their earning power.

Rural areas are predominately under-developed with poor infrastructure, electricity and roads and Indian farmers – like many of their counterparts across the world – are sustaining themselves on archaic methods and processes. To achieve a sustainable level of food production it is necessary that they have seamless access to: * Information on weather, production and cultivation * techniques, seeds and fertilizers, plant nutrients and water usage * Funds and liability coverage through agri-finance and * agri-insurance

Assistance from universities on new techniques (such as biotechnology) used to increase production yield Market infrastructure like warehouses and Cold-chain management

Thus, creative delivery of information and other resources to farmers becomes vital. E-agriculture aims to harness the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance the dissemination of vital information on agriculture to the rural population. Various agencies – including government, corporates and NGO’s – have utilized ICT to implement innovative solutions and facilitate the access to knowledge.

The Baramati Initiative seeks to synergize these learnings through presentations and panel discussions involving not only experts and practitioners from NGOs, corporations and government agencies, but also the grassroots partners, the ultimate beneficiaries.

Panels include:

Innovative Practices showcasing the benefits of ICT for the Agriculture Sector

Role of ICT in facilitating Agri-Finance and Agri-Insurance

Research on use of ICT in Agriculture

Government and E-Agriculture: Government’s Support for


Corporate experiences – Trade facilitation through ICT

The Power of Collaboration: Success stories

The Future of E-Agriculture and Critical success factors

Further, the annual conference will continue to act as a platform for information exchange, exploring ways in which information and communication technology is being used as a tool to empower the poor. The event is a learning opportunity for participants allowing them to:

Interact directly with grassroots partners i.e. people who are using this technology, and to learn from them the difference that ICT has made a difference in their lives

Meet and interact with individuals and organizations that are financing these efforts

Learn about new trends via exhibits and demonstration booths

The Baramati Concept: The basic concept behind this event is to highlight the enormous potential of digital technologies and digital economy to help poor communities.

Poverty-alleviation organizations, social entrepreneurs, government institutions, corporate enterprises and even uneducated, village entrepreneurs are continuously developing technological solutions to serve the often-overlooked customers at the bottom of the pyramid.

These solutions are bringing the benefits of the digital age

—increased access to markets, education, environmental information, and government services

– to communities around the world. In doing so, they are helping to build the business, economic and social cases for investing in systems and infrastructure needed to serve the poorest of the poor. Together, they are helping to empower hundreds and millions of the world’s underprivileged to become agents of their own development.

The purpose of Baramati initiative is to showcase how ICT is being employed to provide sustainable solutions to the needs of poor communities. The conference takes place in Baramati, a village located in rural Maharashtra where an ecosystem using ICT to aid the rural economy has been successfully created.

This conference attracts over 150 participants each year with over 30-40 foreign participants. Over the last 5 years, the Baramati Initiative has become one of the key forums for people to exchange information on innovative efforts in the field of ICT and Development.

About VIIT

Vidya Pratishthan’s Institute of Information Technology was established in February 2000 at Baramati with an aim to provide quality education in the field of Information Technology and Computer Science. VIIT is a progressive institution equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and committed to human resource development.

Conference Website:


YES BANK, India’s new age private sector Bank, is the outcome of the professional commitment of its Indian promoters, Rana Kapoor and Ashok Kapur, to establish a high quality, customer centric, service driven, private Indian Bank catering to “Emerging India”.

YES BANK has adopted international best practices, the highest standards of service quality and operational excellence, and offers comprehensive banking and financial solutions to all its valued customers. A key strength and differentiating feature of YES BANK is its knowledge driven approach to banking. The Bank has formed a specialized ‘Development and Knowledge Banking Division’ focusing on key sunrise growth sectors with predominant focus on Food and Agriculture.

The Bank’s constant endeavor is to provide a delightful banking experience expressed with simplicity, empathy and totality.

AGENDA: Thursday, March 9, 2006

5:00 pm Participants assemble in Pune at Blue Diamond Hotel and leave for Baramati (Buses will be arranged to transport all participants)

7:30 pm Hotel Check-In

8:00 pm Reception and Dinner (Welcome)

Mr. Sharad Kulkarni – Chairman, Governing Council, VIIT

Mr. Sadanand Sule – Member Governing Council, VIIT ommissioner - Agriculture GOM - Potential of E-Agriculture

Friday, March 10, 2006

10:00 am Inauguration & Inaugural Address Mr. Rana Patil, Minister of State for Agriculture, GOM

Guests of Honor & Key Note Address:

Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, GOI

12:15 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Innovative Practices showcasing the benefits of ICT for the Agriculture Sector

Dr. Kirthi Ramamrutham - IIT , Powai

Dr. Goje – Principal, VIIT

Dr. Peter Smetes – Wageningen, Netherlands

Mr.Helmut Drewes, Agrista, Zambia

Mr. Michael F.Carter* – World Bank

Mr. Johannes Keizer* - FAO

2.30 pm Tea Break

2.45 pm Role of ICT in facilitating Agri-Finance and



Mr. G. Chandrashekar – Deputy Editor of Business Line


Mr.Edwin Moyo, CEO, Trans Zambezi Industries Ltd, Mr. Prashanth , Insurance Expert, BASIX Group Mr. Kalyan Chakravarthy - YES BANK Ms. Paul Asel* – IFC Mr. Sonu Agrawal– MD, Weather Risk Management Services Pvt.Ltd. Mr. Vineet Rai – CEO, Aavishkar

4.15 p.m. Tea break

4.30 pm Research on use of ICT in Agriculture: Dr. Jayanth Chatterjee, Prof IIT Kanpur Mr. Sudhir Ahluwalia, Tata Consultancy Services Mr.T.V.Prabhakar, Prof IIT Kanpur Dr.V P Sharma, Director, MANAGE Dr. S.S. Magar , Vice Chancellor , Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli

6:00 pm Summarizing the day 1 – Dr. Amol Goje

6:30 pm Cultural Program & Dinner

9:00 pm End of Day 1

Saturday, March 11, 2006

9:00 am Field-trip to KVK and Sugar Cooperative

11:15 am Break

11:30 am Government and E-Agriculture: Government’s Support for E-Agriculture : Moderator Ms. Radha Singh*, Secretary - Ministry of Agriculture, GOI Speakers: Ms. Suryakanta Patil, Minster of State for Rural Development, GOI Dr.M.Moni, Deputy Director General, NIC Dr. P.D. Kaushik, Director- Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Dr. A.K. Chakravarthy, Advisor, GOI, Dept of IT Mr. Sanjiv Chopra, Principal Secretary - IT, GOUt Mr. G.D. Gautama – Secretary IT, GOWB Mr. J.S. Saharia* – Principal Secretary – Agriculture & Horticulture, GOM Mr.Graham Walker, Managing Director Gov3, UK Mr. Askar Abubakirov, Department of Strategic Development and International Cooperation, Kazakhstan

1:30 pm Lunch

2:15 pm Corporate experiences – Trade facilitation through ICT Moderator Dr. Frida.Youssef - UNCTAD Speakers Mr. Siva Kumar –CEO, ITC -IBD Mr. Raul Montemayor, National Business Manager, Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives, Inc , Philippines Mr. Narayanan Head Agri business, SPIC Mr. Kapil Mehan – COO, TATA Chemicals

3:45 pm The Power of Collaboration: Success stories

Mr. Rashid Kidwai – SEWA Swaminathan Foundation Mr. Sunil Kairnar - CEO, Agriwatch Mr. Swetank Gupta – CEO, Gramdoot Seva Kendra Mr. Apurva Mehta – Trade Advisor, Canadian Delegation, Canada Mr. Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya - ekGaon

5:15 pm Break

5:30 pm The Future of E-Agriculture: Special Plenary Moderated by Mr. G. Chandrashekar – Deputy Editor of Business Line Mr. P. Chidambaram Minister for Finance, GOI Mr.Sharad Pawar, Minister for Agriculture, Food & Civil Supplies, Consumer affairs and Public distribution, GOI Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman & Managing Director, BASF Mr. Rana Kapoor, Managing Director & CEO, YES BANK Mr.Vijay Mahajan, CEO, BASIX Mr. Yogi C. Deveshwar* – Chairman, ITC Mr. Sunil Mittal* – Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Group Mr. A.C. Muthiah*, Chairman & Managing Director, SPIC Mr. S. Ramadorai*, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services Mr. A.K.Purwar*, Chairman, State Bank of India Dr. Y.S.P. Thorat*, Managing Director, NABARD

7:00 pm Valedictory Address – Dr. Kamal Taori, Chairman, National Productivity Council

7.30 pm Dinner

Sunday, March 12, 2006

9:00 am Breakfast & Departure

* Confirmation Awaited