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Gaon Ki Awaaz, India’s first mobile news service for rural India, has crossed yet another milestone.

The mobile news service that began broadcasting free audio bulletins as voice calls to villagers living in the Rampur-Mathura village of Sitapur district in December 2009 went paid this week.

On the very first day of the subscription drive, 42 of the 45 villagers who were approached paid the subscription fee.

“It is a great step forward for Gaon Ki Awaaz or Village Voice, “ says an ecstatic Satyendra Pratap, Editor of the service. “It shows that the villagers want news about themselves, and in their language.”

Divyakar Pratap Singh, the village reporter who generates the audio bulletins, was similarly overwhelmed. “The villagers happily paid the three-month subscription fee of Rs 30. They did not want their news bulletins to be stopped.”

Earlier, the local merchants had given a similar confidence vote to Gaon Ki Awaaz. A local cloth merchant was the first to release an ad in March 2010. Since then the village barber, tailor, Internet café operator, coaching centre owner and even the village astrologer have advertised their services.

The bulletins that are in the local Avadhi dialect are generated by two village reporters who travel in and around the villages to gather information. These are then transmitted as voice calls twice a day – at 12 noon and at 5 pm – to villagers living in 50 villages of Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Initially the number of subscribers was limited to 20. In March 2009, this number was raised to 250, and the bulletins started reaching 50 villages.

“The villagers’ response shows that the model is working. It can well become the preferred news medium in rural India,“ says Pratap.

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The Gaon Ki Awaaz has been shortlisted in the mNews and Journalism category for the 2010 mBillionth award instituted by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF).

The award has been instituted for projects that best fulfil the category criteria, which is: “Use of Mobile and complementing applications and embedded services for (multi-lingual) news broadcasting in all possible media format like text, audio, video, SMS, MMS, etc.; Reaching masses and enabling people with mobile devices for citizen journalism for local and regional news through interactive applications like twitter, facebook, and other web 2.0 mobile enabled applications including Mobile 2.0 dynamic media technology applications.”

According to a mail received from the DEF, the mBilionth Committee chose the project from the 200 nominations that were received under the different categories. The nominations came from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives.

The awards Grand Jury met in Colombo last week to choose the final winners. Their names will be announced in New Delhi on July 23, 2010.

The Samvidha employees of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Parivahan Nigam will boycott work for 36-hours from April 5 midnight. The employees have an 11-point charter of demands, and say they are being exploited by the Nigam. This information was given by Deepak Kumar on behalf of Samvidha Karamcharis.

April5noon Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on April 5.

Divyakar Pratap Singh
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

The Vaish Halwai Samaj (sweetmeats community) has organised  dowry-free Adarsh Samuhik Vivah on May 28 and 29, 2010 at Krishnadevi Girls Inter College, Biswan.

April3eve Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 5 pm on April 3.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

The NREGA Mazdoor Union has organised a district sammelan (convention) on April 19 in Biswan. The convention will discuss problems faced by NREGA workers. The problems include non-payment, late payment , lack of work and non-payment of employment dole.

April2eve Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 5 pm on April 2.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

The Akhil Bhartiuya Bhojpuri Samaj has organised Holi Milan in the Rampur Mathura Mela Maidan on Wednesday evening . Radio and TV artistes have been invited to perform Bhojpuri programmes on the occasion. The well known magician Chirag is expected to regale the audience with his tricks. The Holi Milan is being conducted under the guidance of  Zila Adhyaksha of Bhojpuri Samaj Ram Chauhan.

march10noon Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on March 10.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

Uttar Pradesh Prayagoshala Sahayak  Gram Association will hold a demonstration at Shaheed Smarak in Lucknow on March 5, 2010 to protest against the anomalies caused by a July 7, 1984 state order regarding village appointments. The protest demonstration will be addressed by S P Tewari, Adhyaksha, Rajya Karamchari Sanyukta  Prishad

march4eve Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 5 pm on March 4.

Divyakar Pratap Singh
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

Akhil Bhartiya Pasi Samaj Mahasnagh has organised a Holi Milan at Nehru Hall, Sitapur on March 12. Ajay Bhargav, Zilla Panchayat Adhyaksha, will be the chief guest at the function.

Feb28noon Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on February 28.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

The U P School Management Association will hold its meeting on January 20 at Lalbagh, Sitapur. The meeting will be chaired by Mr RP Shukla, president of the association. The agenda includes training of teachers, child scholarship etc. All managers of schools have been informed about the meeting.

Priya Gupta
Gaon Ki Awaaz  ( Village Voice)

Jan19noon Audio of the bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on Jan 19

Seventy two Eucalyptus and 8 Gulmohar tress  will be up for auction on January 23.  Each bidder has to deposit Rs 10,000 as security to obtain a valid token for the auction that will be held at Vikas Khand Rampur Parisar(Compound) .

A quarter of the final bid has to be paid by the end of the auction itself. The remaining three quarters must be given within 7 days of the auction. It is important to note that the trees must be removed within 15 days of the auction.

Divyakar Pratap Singh
Gaon Ki Awaaz (Voice of Village)

Jan17eve Audio of the bulletin broadcast at 5 noon on Jan 17

Audio bulletins

The Gaon Ki Awaaz bulletins, which are broadcast twice a day on mobile phones, are also published on this blog. You can find the audio files, which are in Avadhi dialect, arranged date-wise under their respective months. You can also browse the English translations of selected bulletins. These are filed under their respective categories.

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