Nokia has announced the expansion of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts in the state of Jammu & Kashmir whereby 24 new ‘Smartpur’ centres have been opened in various panchayat jurisdictions in Samba (18 centres) and Anantnag (six centres) districts.

Smartpur is a digital village ecosystem project aimed at integrating technology into the daily lives of people living in remote villages. Using digital connectivity technology, the project intends to empower licensed local entrepreneurs and provide them with facilities to make services accessible at the village level through panchayat-level Smartpur centres. The initiative connects people with the five essential pillars of development like education, health, livelihood, governance and financial inclusion, enabling villages to be more sustainable and self-reliant.

Nokia India’s Smartpur, was designed with sustainability, scalability, replicability and largescale impact in mind. Within the last year, the company had expanded the project to 90 more villages increasing the number of Smartpur centres to 350 villages across India in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, around 30 Smartpur centres in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have become self-sustaining in the same period.

In April 2022, Nokia and Save the Children India (Bal Raksha Bharat) established a Smartpur centre in the Palli region to provide services across all of its five pillars. The centre was also visited by the Prime Minister who was impressed by the work undertaken and provided his valuable suggestions for further strengthening the program and establishing linkages with government initiatives.

The Smartpur program is implemented by two of Nokia’s nonprofit partners – Save the Children and Digital Empowerment Foundation. Last year, Nokia received Bharti Foundation’s Silver Award for Social Initiative (India).

Commenting on the expansion, Amit Marwah, head, marketing and corporate affairs, Nokia India said, “As part of our larger commitment to local communities, we are facilitating connectivity and digitization to further positive socio-economic, educational and health impacts in India by leveraging core strengths to address the urgent needs of the underprivileged populations. We derive great pride from the fact that we have been able to keep our promise and scale up from one to twenty-five Smartpur centres in Jammu and Kashmir in a year. We are thankful to the local administration for all their assistance and encouragement.”

Acknowledging the potential of the Smartpur program, the Lt Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha expressed hope that Nokia would be able to establish at least two such centres in the remaining districts of the state.