CGnet Swara provides an innovative solution to information gaps in India, where Dalits (untouchables), tribal people, and residents of rural areas lack sufficient access to technology and information. Created by Shubhranshu Choudhary, the social business has developed an important resource for marginalized individuals in the greater Bhopal area.
Choudhary moved the social business from Dehli to Bhopal, where operating costs are lower and the depth of poverty and disconnectedness are higher. The operating center was converted from an old mushroom farm to a tech hub. This compound provides free, high-speed Internet to members of the community, many of whom lacked access to Internet before Swara moved to Bhopal. This technology center is the operating headquarters for CGnet Swara, a voice-based mobile news network. The network, which currently averages about 500 calls per day, is accessed via mobile phone. The service is accessible on simple-function cell phones, and allows users to listen to local and national news stories, as well as report their own news. A tool like this not only connects individuals with the world around them, but also gives them a voice with which to share concerns, stories, and announcements.
Mohan Yadav, a moderator for information entering the network, underscored the importance of the program in saying, “This way, the voices of Dalits, Adivasi (tribal people) and women are taken far – to the whole world,” he says. “We knew for the first time that we were not alone and that there were many concerned people in whole world.”