Kerala’s networked multipurpose community technology centres, known as Akshaya e-Kendras, will launch a training programme on medical transcription in Malappuram district, by the end of this month. This training is being conducted in collaboration with Keltron (Kerala State Electronics Development Corp) and will be monitored by the state’s IT Mission. 24 Akshaya entrepreneurs (owners of IT kiosks) have already been trained toin turn train candidates in medical transcription with the help of Keltron. The training programme will be extended to other Akshaya centres after uating the first phase of the initiative. The medical transcription programme elicited good response from entrepreneurs, with 50 of them coming forward to join the project. The best performing Akshaya centres were selected to run the project. The transcription training will be for six months and will cost Rs.15,000. Each centre will have two trainers with either postgraduate diploma in computer applications or diploma in computer applications. BPOs in the state are facing a severe shortage of skilled manpower. Keltron is conducting a transcription course at Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram and it has 20 seats. The students there are being absorbed by companies even before they complete the course,’ said Salim. ‘For those who undergo training in the Akshaya centres, Keltron will ensure placement in BPOs or in other firms,’ he added. The Akshaya authorities are selecting candidates for the programme. ‘We have conducted written and aptitude tests to select trainees. Once the list is ready, we will launch the training programme,’ said Salim. The Akshaya project, part of the Kerala State IT Mission, plans to open 3,000 community technology centres across the state with public-private partnership. The project aims to make at least one person each from the 6.5-million families in the state ‘e-literate’ and provide rural connectivity, e-transaction and e-governance, besides generating employment. The project, launched in 2002, was piloted in Malappuram district. Now the district has close to 400 Akshaya kiosks connected to the internet.