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India’s first WIFI programme for women launched at Sri Padmavathi Mahila Visvavidyalayam
The country’s first ever Women ICT Frontier Initiative (WIFI) programme and Training of Trainers (TOT) centre were launched at Sri Padmavathi Mahila Visvavidyalayam (SPMVV) in Tirupati on Monday in cooperation with the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for ICT for Development (APCICT).
Tirupati: The country’s first ever Women ICT Frontier Initiative (WIFI) programme and Training of Trainers (TOT) centre were launched at Sri Padmavathi Mahila Visvavidyalayam (SPMVV) in Tirupati on Monday in cooperation with the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for ICT for Development (APCICT).
The WIFI in India was named as WIFI Saviskara–Transcending of Talent. Speaking on the occasion, the acting Head of Office, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and pacific (ESCAP), Sub Regional Officer for South and South West Asia, New Delhi Michael Williamson said, “WIFI was linked to the economic participation and entrepreneurship was vital means of achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and this agenda promises to leave nobody behind”.
According to World Bank, India has one of the lowest female participation rate in the workforce, ranking 120 out of 131 countries. In the last decade, female labour force participation in India has declined from 37 per cent to 27 per cent and women own only 20 per cent of total businesses and usually operate at a relatively smaller scale.
He observed that like elsewhere in the world, socio-cultural norms and gender specific constraints were limiting the women entrepreneurial opportunities. Using ICT, women can strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, develop business and participate in the market economy. “While the use of ICT helps women entrepreneurs in their business, their success would also depend on the policy environment in which they operate.
Governments must be able to formulate standard and responsible policies tailored to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs,” he maintained. APCICT 3rd flagship programme, since 2016 launched created conditions to empower women entrepreneurs with ICT. He said, India was the seventh country to launch the WIFI programme which promotes gender equality.
The Minister for Human Resources Development (HRD) Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who had to launch the WIFI and TOT centre, could not participate and Tirupati MLA M Suguna read out his message. The Minister expressed hope that WIFI will strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to utilise Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in support of their businesses and to strengthen the capacity of government leaders and policy makers to create an enabling environment for ICT-empowered women entrepreneurs.
He said, the government of AP is continuously striving to uplift the social and economic standards of women, especially rural communities. The Vice-Chancellor Prof V Durga Bhavani, who formally launched the Rural Women Technology Park (RWTP), sanctioned to the varsity to the tune of Rs 89 lakh by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
She told that WIFI will improve the livelihood and quality of life of rural women by giving them entrepreneurial skills and innovative technologies developed. The organising secretary Prof P Vijaya Lakshmi also spoke on the occasion which was graced by various other dignitaries. While, Williamson handed over a set of English modules for the TOT centre, the V-C gave away the core modules of the training programme translated into Telugu to him.