Obama connects to rural India via video conferencing

Monday, November 8 2010

On his recent visit to India, President Barack Obama interacted with farmers in Rajasthan thanks to video conferencing. The president got a first-hand look at how technological advancements are bridging the divide between rural farmers and major cities like Mumbai, the country's financial center, and New Delhi, its political hub.

Less than five percent of India has access to the internet, reports the Washington Post. However, government programs aimed at building teleconferencing and computer centers in rural parts of the country have made that percentage slowly increase. Increased accessibility to cell phones has also helped, as many Indian IT firms are producing inexpensive phones with low-cost online access.

The Post reports that the Indian farmers told Obama how they often use technology to help with weather predictions, education and telemedicine.

The village of Kanpura, with an approximate population of 5,000, according to the Times of India, was on the other end of the video conference with Obama, who was in Mumbai.

"As Barack Obama will talk to people in our village, we feel our village will become well known all over the world. It's a big honour for us," Jagdish Bairwa, Kanpura's Sarpanch, or democratically elected village head, told India's NDTV before the conference.