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The Role of ICT in Empowering Rural Indians

The Role of ICT in Empowering Rural Indians
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Author(s): Ashok Jhunjhunwala (IIT Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), India), Janani Rangarajan (IIT Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), India) and N. Neeraja (IIT Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), India)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 19
Source title: Social and Economic Effects of Community Wireless Networks and Infrastructures
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Abdelnasser Abdelaal (Ibri College of Applied Sciences, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2997-4.ch005


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This chapter discusses some attempts over the last decade in using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to empower rural communities and those who are socially and economically left behind in India. It begins with discussing the drivers of telecommunication growth in India since the mid-nineties. Then, it addresses the role of the village Internet kiosks in bringing the Internet to remote villages and articulates on the challenges facing the kiosk model. It then touches upon the rapid growth of mobile telephony in rural India. Following this, it discusses a number of attempts that use mobile telephony to empower rural communities. The authors also use multiple case studies to explore the role of ICT in supporting agriculture, delivering healthcare, achieving financial inclusion and improving the overall livelihood of rural communities in India. The key lessons learned include that the “one-size fits all” model does not work for all communities. In addition, involving both local and federal governments is crucial for the success of community-focused initiatives. Moreover, engaging communities and educating them about the benefits of delivered services would help in sustaining such community-focused initiatives.

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