Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MAIT Launches a "Digital Inclusion" Program in Partnership with Microsoft

MAIT, the apex body representing India's IT hardware, training and R&D services sectors, today launched a unique corporate social responsibility campaign titled "Digital Inclusion - IT Adoption for Growth & Employability" by tying up with its member companies to facilitate access to computers and software to the digitally deprived with an aim to enable them to develop skills in IT and become employable. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, MAIT has partnered with Microsoft to donate computers and software to NGOs, who are engaged in taking IT education to the rural/poor masses. Microsoft is well known for its leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investment programmes in India which are run with a goal of empowering and enabling the marginalized sections of society through usage of technology. It recently won the prestigious Pegasus Award for Social Responsibility, based on their work for its "Unlimited Potential" programme initiative: "The Community Technology Skills Program". MAIT intends to encourage all its members to generously contribute hardware to the cause of bridging the digital divide in India.

Commenting on this unique initiate, MAIT Executive Director, Mr Vinnie Mehta said: "While IT has become an integral part of our life, its penetration remains confined to the urban areas alone, even the poor in such areas are yet to take advantage of the digital revolution. One of the reasons cited for digital divide is the non-availability of IT hardware at desired price-points. We hope that through this initiative we will be able to make available the hardware at no or marginal cost to the deserving. We have been in dialogue with our members and their response towards this initiative has been very encouraging. Further, extending the life of hardware through such means will go a long way in minimising the environmental concerns due to e-waste. "

Expressing his solidarity to this campaign, Microsoft's Associate General Counsel, Redmond, USA, Mr. David Finn, said: "Digital inclusion has been identified as one of the millennium development goals by the UN and it is Microsoft's firm commitment to work towards empowering people in India by bridging the digital divide. Microsoft in India had donated over 1,000 computers since the last one year and it will continue to strive to provide IT training, skills and tools to create social and economic opportunities in India that can transform communities and help people realize their potential. Being a leader in the software space, we are also sensitive to the fact that while serving the deprived through such laudable programs, security and ethics should not be sacrificed and therefore, Microsoft ensures that all the donated computers run on genuine software."

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