U.S. President Barack Obama today got a first hand account of how information technology (IT) has revolutionised life in rural India, and said this technology would help India directly leapfrog into the 21st century.

“India may be in a position to leapfrog, avoiding 20th century straightaway into the 21st century. I look forward to the day you will be a model for countries around the world,” he told villagers of Kanpura near Ajmer while interacting with them from Mumbai through video conference.

After a short introduction by National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda, Mr Obama spoke to the villagers who shared the benefits of broadband penetration — from online medical consultation, education and local e—governance.

The President expressed happiness about the progress being made with the aid of IT. “Here is a good news. In the US, we are trying to do the same thing. Trying to make the government accountable and efficient,” Mr Obama said.

The villagers interaction was coordinated by Union Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot, who said IT was not just about exporting services, but was also about changing lifestyle of rural India.

India expects to achieve broadband penetration in all panchayats by 2012. Broadband spectrum was auctioned earlier this year and the network roll—out is currently underway.

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