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India's Knowledge Network to extend to South Asia

About 1,700 institutes, including IIMs, ISRO, DRDO, central universities and medical institutes connected through NKN

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All educational, medical and research institutes in India will soon be able to connect with their South Asian counterparts to share information and ideas across major fields.

National Knowledge Network (NKN), a high-speed broadband network that is being rolled out to connect education institutes in India, will now be extended to other countries. This is expected to benefit 50 million students and researchers.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has already connected about 1,700 institutes, including IIMs, ISRO, DRDO, central universities and medical institutes through NKN. The government will connect South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries except Pakistan under this project.

An agreement with Sri Lanka to extend NKN to connect 10 Sri Lankan universities with Indian ones has already been signed. The internet connectivity has already reached Sri Lanka, a senior ministry official told DNA Money.

The connectivity through undersea cable in rest of the Saarc members -- Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh is under process.

"NKN with its high-speed connectivity will enable knowledge and information sharing. It will also enable collaborative research, development and innovation as well as facilitate advanced distance education in specialized fields such as engineering, science, medicine," the official said.

A link to global networks will also be created to collaborate with research communities across the globe, the official said, adding a point of presence has reached few countries including Geneva, Amsterdam and Singapore.

Many government applications such as e-governance, e-hospital and other related services ride on the back of this network. One of the biggest and ambitious project of the current government is 'Digital India' and this NKN project along with BharatNet, the project to connect rural India with internet, forms the backbone on which the country will fully move towards a digitally society.

Creation of digital infrastructure is the top most priority for the government. Apart from NKN and BharatNet, Common Service Centers are also setting up WiFi Choupals across villages to provide the last mile connectivity to the people residing in rural areas.

This project was first envisaged in 2010 with an outlay of Rs 5,990 crore for 10 years to be set up by NIC for inter-connecting all knowledge and research institutions in the country through a high bandwidth network. Besides, various universities, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country will also be connected to improve access to knowledge and meet communication need of the institutions.

GLOBAL REACH

  • About 1,700 institutes, including IIMs, ISRO, DRDO, central universities and medical institutes connected through NKN
     
  • Common Service Centers are also setting up WiFi Choupals across villages to provide the last mile connectivity
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