Amrita VRC/VREC Kerala - Tamil Nadu

>> Sunday, August 30, 2009

President of India launches Amrita ISRO satellite network of village resource centers

In a packed colourful function attended by over 4000 people plus hundreds of people at 9 centers,the President of India, His Excellency, Bharat Ratna, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam launched the Amrita ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) joint initiative in 'Village Resource Centers' on 6 July, 2005 at the Ettimadai campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri Surjit Singh Barnala, Tamil Nadu Education Minister, Shri Shanmugham, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO, Brahmachari Abhayamrita Chaitanya, Chief Operating Officer of AMRITA Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita University were also present on the dais. More than 25 CEOs and senior executives from leading IT and Financial Services Companies also attended the launch.

kalam inaugurating the amrit aisro project

"Science needs direction from spirituality. While we accomplish immense growth in computer education and Internet experimentation, we should not forget the truth that that it is spirituality that teaches us how to use knowledge with discrimination", said Amma.

In his speech for students, Dr. Kalam said, "Amrita University has a major role to play in transforming our society into a knowledge society through it’s unique value-added education system". He also added that he was happy that the Amrita ISRO VRC's had a mission of taking space technology and knowledge products from the University directly for communities at the grass root level like fisheries and agriculture. He also emphasized on the need to establish Village Panchayat Knowledge Centers to empower villagers. He also asked the students to repeat with him, learning gives creativity & creativity leads to thinking, thinking provides knowledge and knowledge makes you great.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor Dr. P. Venkat Rangan welcomed the gathering. Shri Barnala released the brochure of the new venture. Dr. Madhavan Nair gave a brief overview on the latest initiatives of ISRO. He also commended the support provided by Amrita in implanting tele-medicine and tele-education services across India. Incidentally, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences hosts one of the largest tele-medicine networks in India connecting to over 36 remote rural hospitals as far flung as Leh-Ladakh. In two years it has already done over 800 tele consultations and 250 CME programmes seminars and conferences including a heart surgery and kidney conference.

Tele-education partners, Balu Doraiasamy, (Hewlett Packard), N. Lakshmi Narayanan (Cognizant), Sudev Muthyah (Microsoft) and Ranajoy Punja (CISCO) announced their support and participation in this Amrita ISRO rural development project. Likewise Tele-Medicine project partners Krishna Dhawan (Oracle) and Ketan Sampath (Intel); Tele-agriculture partner, Tele-fisheries partner Harishankar (IL & FS) announced their intent to participate. Shri K. Dinesh, Co-founder and Director –Infosys and MD of Ashraya Hasta announced support for the Disaster Management service of the VRC. 10 Amrita VRCs spread across 2 states were live and their interactions created quite a flutter. The Tele-education demo by Kozhikode Amrita Vidyalayam principal, Shobha Gopala Krishnan was superb.


VRC Services offered include:

  • Tele-medicine
    • X-rays sent to experts through the centre
    • Ophthalmic and orthopedic patients benefited
    • Expert doctors in Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS)
    • Conducted with the help of Amrita Kripa Charitable Hospital at Amritapuri
  • Tele-education*
    • Programs conducted from Ettimadai Expert Centre
    • Programs are mainly on agriculture and floriculture
    • Main programs include:
      • Training on maintenance of boats
      • Training program on preparation of nets
      • Ginger cultivation
      • Mushroom cultivation
      • Use of pesticides/pest control
      • Productivity enhancement
      • Storage of crops, irrigation and many more
  • Tele-fisheries
    • Fresh and brackish water aquaculture
    • Deep sea fishing
    • Processing of fish
    • Potential fishing zones through satellite images
    • Availability of fish shoals for deep sea fishing
  • Rural Development Programs
    • Women empowerment
    • Agriculture
    • Natural resource management
    • Disaster management support
    • Spatial information services
    • Weather report
  • Programs on Banking (loan information etc.)*
  • Lectures on Tax planning
  • Distribution of some government forms
  • Other programs include
    • Agricultural market information
    • Processing of fish
    • Career Counseling
    • Seminar on new avenues of employment
    • Homestead vegetable farming

* Programs broadcasted from Ettimadai Expert Centre

Use for the Beneficiaries:
  • Knowing the potential fishing zones
  • Getting consultation from expert doctors free of cost
  • Gaining knowledge by attending training programs
  • Gaining skills through skill development programs
  • Getting career counseling for higher education
  • Getting employment related guidance
  • Out of every 10 visitors to VRC, at least 5 come back for more information
  • People spend their money mainly on fishing (buying fishing equipments and other products like boats and nets) and education.
  • People usually come for tele-medicine. It remains engaged daily for 2-3 hours at most. Weekly frequency of visitors is around 80 people per week (including the people coming to listen to lectures).
  • Most of the programs are lecture based only.

ISRO-AMRITA VRCs in Kerala and Tamilnadu

Unlike ISRO-MSSRF VRCs, ISRO-AMRITA VRCs are centric more to the causes of education, health and community capacity building.

ISRO-AMRITA VRCs have connected themselves with the relevant programmes/ schemes of the State Governments. They are focused on student learning, and through students/ children, expanding the user base to parents/adults towards community development. Some of the specific activities have been:

  • Curative and preventive healthcare, education, and community development - agriculture, women empowerment, capacity building, etc,
  • Over 50% of the activities carried out pertained to education - computer learning, career guidance, interactions with dignitaries, coaching classes, online tests and learning of English and Hindi languages.
  • Creation of Womens’ SHGs in tsunami affected areas; over 130 SHGs with minimum members of 15 women in each group have been formed - catering to social mobilization under difficult situation.
  • ISRO-AMRITA VRCs are located primarily in Schools, Tsunami Relief Camps and Orphanage. These VRCs, so far, have provided over 300 programmes/advisories to local people. The areas addressed include: agriculture, adult and computer literacy, healthcare, etc. Around 10,000 people have availed the services of VRCs so far (Fig 3.1).
Some Case Studies from ISRO-AMRITA VRCs
  • ISRO-Amrita VRC, in April 2006, conducted 101 progarmmes, although quite a few were direct programme (Table 2). There were 1563 persons, who actively participated in the programs. This is despite cancellation of several scheduled programes, due to the problems of satellite connectivity. The value of some of the programme could be judged from the fact that the tele-medicine through AIMS Kochi and Amrita Kripa Charitable Hospital, Kalpetta helped two of the patients to have cardiology consultations from the specialist cardiologist of AIMS. Eight patients got benefit in the other areas. Further, there were preventive and promotive health care programmes on personal hygiene for the students. There were another programmes on De-addiction in the community medicine. Similarly, there were 19 educational programs in April with 504 participants.

Fig 3.1 Portfolios of services form ISRO-AMRITA VRCs (Jan to June 2006 data)

Table 1. ISRO-AMRITA VRC Programme Summary in April 2006

Curative health8_____________________ 7:10 69
Preventive& Promo-tive health 5 _____________________ 4:30 138
Education 19 6:00 24:15 504
Community Development 25 42:00 5:00335
Agriculture 5 _____________________ 13:30 107

Others(Summer vacation program 13 days) 36 88:00 12:00350
CD Presentation 3 4:30 ________ 60
Total 101140:3066:25 1563


VRC Services offered include:

  • Tele-education*
  • Tele-fisheries
  • Tele-medicine
  • Programs on Banking (loan information etc.)*
  • Lectures on rain water harvesting*
  • Computer training
  • Status of passport
  • Job opportunities
  • Application forms
  • Examination details / Results
  • Weather information
  • Contact to Ministries and other officials through email – emergency timings
  • Market information on fish and prawn market on daily basis
  • Telephone (STD-ISD-PCO) and Fax
  • Computer (DTP) work
  • Computer training
  • Distribution of government forms
  • Advice on birth and death certificates
  • Weather information
  • Employment related information
  • Assistance in getting driver’s license/passport
  • Prices of fish
  • Skill development program (fish pickle, shell ornaments, book binding etc.)
  • Assistance in getting gas connection
  • Value added in fish by-products
  • Training on lobster and crab fattening
  • Offshore training on modern fishing equipments
  • Fish and prawn pickle making and preservation
  • Fish meal preparation
  • Marketing information on ornamental shell crafts
  • Seaweed cultivation
  • Methodology of Value added Seaweed byproducts
  • Information Bulletin/Community Newspaper
  • Micro enterprises training (Turkey rearing)
  • Self help group accounting software training
  • Women rights and health problems
  • Government schemes related to women
  • Information on Childcare and pregnancy care etc.
  • HIV-AIDS awareness program
  • Malaria awareness program
  • Eye camp
  • Leprosy awareness program
  • Demonstration –cum-training program on usage of Turtle Excluder Device (TED)
  • Computer Aided Learning Program (CALP)
  • Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program (MUPP)
  • MPEDA Training program/GPS training
  • Adult Literacy Program (ALP)

    * Programs broadcasted from Chennai Expert Centre

Use for the Beneficiaries:

  • Gaining knowledge through informal education
  • Computer Education/Computer awareness
  • Utilization of new Technology for poor villagers
  • Knowing the potential fishing zones
  • Awareness about Satellite Technology and Information Technology
  • Personality and skill development for youth
  • Improving their fishing practices
  • Getting consultation from expert doctors free of cost
  • Finding new and scientific ways of farming
  • Getting career counseling for higher education
  • Receiving information on bank loans.


  • Out of every 10 visitors to VRC, at least 4 come back for more information. The daily frequency of people coming to VRC (including VKCs) is nearly 20-25.
  • People spend their money mainly on education and health/sanitation.
  • Nearly 12-15 people come daily to VKCs and nearly 8-10 people come daily to VRC.


Postal Address of Officer Incharge of Village Resource Centers

Noolpuzha Grama Panchayat,Wayanad.
Shri.Joseph Peter Patroz ,U.D.Clerk ;
04936 - 270635 ; 9349876885

2.Sulthan Bathery
Sulthan Bathery Block Panchayat, S.B.Post,Wayanad-673593.
Shri.K.S.Shaji,U.D.Clerk ;
04936 - 220202/221377 ; 9447326917

PWD Building,North Wayanad-673122.
Vasu.P ,Assistant Engineer ;
04936 - 202640 ;9448083078

Mananthavady Block panchayat,
Wayanad District-670645.
Shri.Gopalakrishnan ,Overseer ;
04936 - 240298/242622 ;9447317565

Meppady Grama Panchayat,
Wayanad District-673577.
Shri.Ashraf ,Secretary ;04936 - 282422

Supporting Countries


For Technical Support / Complaints at VRC / VREC :-

Call us in the TOLL FREE Number:
1800 4252 888
09880 149300

Please email to us all your valuable suggestions and comments regarding Village Resource Centre at


Postal Address of Officer Incharge of Village Resource Expert Centers

1.Kerala State Planning Board (KSPB)
Opposite Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom,
Trivandrum-695004. Shri.Dr.P.Rajasekharan,
(Agricultural Division)
0471 - 2540609/2453554 ;9895009402; Fax:0471 - 2531395
Shri.N.Sundaresan, Joint Director ;
Shri.P.Pramod,Officer in Charge-VRC;
Mob - 9446705151

2.Kerala Agricultural University (KAU)
Agricultural Technology Information Centre, Mannuthy,Thrissur-680651.
Dr.Sreevalsan,Asst.Professor ;
0487 - 2371340/2307711
Dr.Sheela(DE) ;0487 - 2370086/2337785;
Fax :0487 - 2370150

3.Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)
Krishi Vigyan kendra,Ambalavayal.P.O-673593,Wayanad.
Dr.A.Radhamma Pillai,Associate Prof: & Head ;04936 - 260411/260432;
Fax: 04936 - 260411

4.District Hospital,Mananthavady (DHM)
Govt.District Hospital, Mananthavady.P.O-670645,Wayanad.
Dr.T.P.Suresh Kumar, Ortho ;
04935 - 246776 ;9447275220

5.Regional Coffee Research Station (RCRS)
Regional Coffee Research Station,Coffee Board,Chundale.P.O-673123,Wayanad;
Dr.M.Selvakumar,Deputy Director ;
04936 - 202256 ;Fax: 04936 - 202256

6.Indian Institute of Spices Research(IISR)
Indian Institute of Spices Research,Marikkunnu.P.O-673012,Calicut.
Dr.P.Rajeev,Senior Scientist ;0495 - 273294/2373162;Fax: 0495 - 2731187

7.Medical College,Calicut (MCC)
Govt. Medical College Hospital,
Dr.Varghese Thomas,Nodal Officer ;
0495 - 2351152;Fax: 0495 - 2355331

8.Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST),
Dr.Jawahar ,Administrative Medical Officer;
0471 - 2524640 ,2440790

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