Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development of Rural Areas: The Case of India

By:
Dr Jayan Jose Thomas
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The results of the study indicate that a vast majority of household members in the surveyed village in Andhra Pradesh did not know about the information centre in their village, and did not know what a computer is, let alone know how to operate a computer. In Kerala, on the other hand, at least one member in almost all the surveyed households had actually taken part in the e-literacy programme organised by the information centre in the village. In the surveyed village in Andhra Pradesh, there was very little demand for information on agricultural prices or employment opportunities. In the surveyed village in Kerala, there was extensive demand for all kinds of information related to agriculture, employment opportunities and higher studies. Differences between the surveyed villages with respect to diffusion of ICTs and demand for information are seen to be related to the variations in socio-economic development of these villages. Compared to the surveyed village in Andhra Pradesh, the surveyed village in Kerala had higher educational and awareness levels of its population, more favourable conditions for agricultural growth including irrigational facilities, and higher income levels. The evidence presented in this paper show that ICTs are highly effective tools for development, but they cannot replace the much needed policy interventions in income growth and distribution. A foundation for equitable socio-economic development is essential for the diffusion and generation of demand for ICTs among rural people.


Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Development, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, India
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development of Rural Areas


Dr Jayan Jose Thomas

Post Doctoral Fellow, Information and Communications Management Programme, National University of Singapore
Singapore

Jayan Jose Thomas has completed his Ph.D. in development studies, and has wide research interests in development economics and political economy. He has worked and published papers on the links between industrialization and human development, new technologies and development, issues of labour, Indian economy, and the economy of Kerala. He is currently involved in a project that aims to study the impact of information and communication technologies in India's rural areas. He was awarded the 'Young Labour Economist Award' of the Indian Society of Labour Economics in 2003. He will be teaching a course on 'Knowledge Economies' in the semester starting in January 2005. His future plans for research include the writing of a book on the association between industrial and social development based on the experience of the Indian State of Kerala; and carrying out a research project on the knowledge economy of India.


Ref: T05P0081