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Media Lab Asia, Promoted by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,(MeitY), Govt. of India as a non-profit company
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Media Lab Asia has been largely funded by the Government of India. Industry has also provided seed funding for its activities. Media Lab Asia welcomes sponsorships / partnerships for furtherance of its objectives.
Media Lab Asia considers proposals from individuals / institutions having a paper design / laboratory proven design of a concept in Media Lab Asia’s areas of interest.  If accepted, Media Lab Asia provides fund for further development, ruggedisation, commercialisation, pilot testing and also takes up as a Public Private Partnership and model for large scale replication.  Each stage of the activity is monitored and advised by a committee of experts in the relevant area of activity.  Media Lab Asia is nominated by the Govt. of India to work in this manner for bringing the benefits of ICT technologies to rural India.
Media Lab Asia is accepting proposals for consideration for funding novel applications based on mobile / internet services which will (a) add value to the activity of small traders (b) cut down on middlemen and access goods / commodities at a lower marketing cost and (c) automate routine work in an Indian life. After the development and pilot testing is over, which will be monitored by a committee of eminent personalities in the related field, Media Lab Asia will work with large ISPs, mobile service operators for large scale deployment. This change in platform of rendering the service will help in organizing the activity better.
NGOs / SHGs are expected to participate in the large scale replication of service models developed.  At this point of time, Agro-advisory services, data collection for healthcare, education of disabled children using e-content, deployment of CAD in the design work of village artisans and craftsmen are some of the areas of work where involvement of NGOs are planned.  NGOs/SHGs will have to be members of those programmes by paying a monthly/annual fee.
Media Lab Asia is performing its task through a national network of R&D laboratories. More and more reputed Engineering Institutions are setting up Media Lab Asia Centres.  Media Lab Asia considers proposals from Educational Institutions and examines the skill set and infrastructure available there in the institution to undertake design and development work in the areas of hardware, software and multimedia (audio /video /graphics /animation).  The setting up a Centre is dealt on a case to case basis.  The list of collaborators / partners at present, are available in the website.  Several other proposals are under consideration.
Normally, a national network is planned with a Base centre supported by 5/6 Regional Centres which in turn would support the activities of District Centres.  The number of District Centres can go up to in excess of one lakh as well.  The networking is through internet and / or VSAT Terminals. Users will be members of schemes by way of becoming member of the District Centre.  District Centre normally will be created / operated by franchisees who will be, in general, or a small group of youth having educational qualification relevant to that area of activity.  These franchisees will also become a member of the scheme by paying a monthly fee.  The Base Centre and Regional Centres will be operated by Media Lab Asia.  These will be linked with specialist institutions in the country working in that particular area of the activity.  These centres will be manned by specialist manpower to be able to provide advisory service themselves as well as are capable of data mining from the net or interact with specialist institutions.  The specialist institutions also will become members of the scheme by paying a monthly fee. The vendors such as those offering seeds, fertilizers and implements etc. in case of Agro Advisory service will become major members of the scheme by paying a lump sum fee at the time of entry and a monthly fee thereafter.  Through the network, they will receive queries about different products which they will service as well as quote for their own products and receive orders.  For each order received, the vendors will pay a commission to the scheme. Out of this income, Media Lab Asia, franchisees, the cell interacting at the vendors’ premises will be able to meet their expenditure and make a small profit wherever the beneficiary will be paying affordable fee to access all the information / suggestion / advice quickly to improve upon their activity. The date base generated will help in policy making in the medium / long term.
Sponsoring with / without / limited commercial exploitation rights State sponsorship–Research Partner: State who contributes will benefit from research and allowed to exploit the research commercially Affiliate sponsorship: State, who does not contribute, will sponsor research work commercially along with Media Lab Asia. Local Bodies sponsorship: Municipality or Nagar Palika / Village Panchayat / Rural Organisation / Agricultural Organisation Corporate Sponsorship: Project Research, Partnership, Work area wise and Royalty Basis Donations, Grants & Aids:
  • From individuals, corporate bodies
  • Grants from Central / State Govt., or Municipality or Panchayat
  • Deposits from Public through advertisement
  • External Commercial Borrowing (ECB)
  • Bank Borrowing – Term Loan, Working Capital
  • State Borrowing and repayment in kind – through services
  • Bonds or debentures guaranteed by the Central Government
  • Royalty - Lumpsum for Fixed Period, Fixed or variable for exploitation for indefinite period of time, Exploitation of IPR in any other manner.
    Sale of publications such as Magazines, Journals and Books
  • Partnership with educational institutes & Chambers of Commerce etc. for seminar / workshops for training of manpower, technical awareness, mass awareness etc.
  • Scheme Membership with Annual fee of Life membership fee?
  • Patrons – High caliber person who are members of research work
    Life membership – to derive the benefit of research work of Media Lab Asia
    Ordinary membership – to drive the benefit of research work of Media Lab Asia.
    Associate Membership – with limited access to research work
    Membership of special national scheme as franchisee, beneficiary of partner (Scheme is being finalized at present.)
  • Income from investment
  • Interest on fixed deposits, Dividend, Valuation of Assets
Media Lab Asia may wholly or partially sponsor programme which fulfill the object of Media Lab Asia. Please refer clause 16 of ‘objects ’.
Please refer to clause 19 of ‘objects ’. Experienced individuals / agencies may contact Media Lab Asia with specific proposals?
Media Lab Asia is a company promoted by Govt. of India working not for profit through a national network of laboratories. In case the research minded professionals are united to innovate ICT technologies for Rural India, Media Lab Asia can provide support from government for the endeavour making large scale deployment and sustenance of the system easier. Moreover, these individuals can initiate and monitor many meaningful student projects in our Engineering Colleges and Universities making thereby involvement a larger number of researchers available for handling ICT technologies for rural India.
A number of possibilities are there. Please read the ‘object’ of Media Lab Asia carefully and approach with specific proposals. However, decision of Media Lab Asia on those proposals will be final without assigning any reason whatsoever.
Media Lab Asia's charter is to pursue high-impact technology research that can improve the lives of common people in developing economies. The organization believes that new technologies, specially, ICT's (Information and Communication Technologies) offer tremendous possibilities for socio-economic development. To cite just a few examples, speech interfaces will make information access available even to illiterates; affordable wireless technologies and hardware devices will make the Internet and computers available to a greater section of the world. We work proactively to harness these advances for the benefit of the masses, especially rural masses that have been untouched by ICT's.
This collaboration is for Asia. While we have begun operations in India, we plan to scale across Asia. The technologies that we develop will be adopted by other countries in Asia and later, in other parts of the developing world as well.
Media Lab Asia (MLAsia) is a not-for-profit research organization chartered in India. MLAsia's administrative headquarters are in Mumbai, India. The organization is the result of a collaboration with the Government of India, (Ministry of Communications and Information Technology). The goal of this collaboration is to bring the benefits of innovation and technology to the masses. A network of research labs have been established on the campuses of the IIT's at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kanpur & Kharagpur, India. MLAsia also collaborates with not-for-profit organizations to develop and deploy technology that helps the masses. Over 30 research projects are underway with promising results. There are four key focus areas for research:
  • Bits For All: Establishing leadership in low-cost rural communication
  • World Computer: Building low cost computing devices, accessible and affordable to the common man
  • Tomorrow's Tools: Creating language interfaces and low cost sensors
  • Digital Village: Where the consolidation of the three research topics are embodied in field research across the country, and in delivering value to the masses.
MLAsia was incorporated as a not-for-profit Section 25 Company on September 21, 2001, with a Board of Directors chaired by the Indian Government's Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Mr Pramod Mahajan as Chairman. MLAsia officially began operations on January 1, 2002 and within six months; laboratories were opened on the campuses of IIT Kanpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi. Pre-eminent industrialists F.C. Kohli and Narayana Murthy joined the Board. Prof. Nicholas Negroponte (Vice-Chairman) and Prof. Alex (Sandy) Pentland of Massachusetts Institute of Technology also became members. Rajeeva Ratna Shah, Secretary, Information Technology, Government of India also joined the BOD. Bimal Sareen was named as Managing Director and CEO in June 2002.



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