Friday, November 12, 2010

ICT for Indian Social Change

The book ICTs and Indian Social Change: Diffusion, Poverty, Governance
has 16 thought provoking articles on the politics, economics, business and technology of providing computers and the Internet in India.

Of most interest for me was chapter 3 "Sustainable Internet Connectivity in Rural India" (by Ashok Jhunjhunwala and AnuradhaRamachandran). This details the difficulties in providing a conventional telecommunications network in a rural area and some of the innovative alternatives developed for India. and In 2005 I spent three weeks living in an Indian village and saw first hand the difficulties in getting Internet access. It could take dozens of attempts to get a slow, unreliable dial-up connection via a phone line (assuming the householder could get a phone line). As a result wireless systems were being used, the most interesting of which used CDMA desktop telephone handsets, with data ports.

The Australian Government is planning to spend $43B on a National Broadband Network with poorly defined economic and social goals. The policy makers could benefit from reading "ICTs and Indian Social Change: Diffusion, Poverty, Governance":

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: ICTs and Indian Social Change—An Agenda of Concerns ASHWANI SAITH and M VIJAYABASKAR
  2. Culture of Technology and ICTs SUNDAR SARUKKAI
  3. Sustainable Internet Connectivity in Rural India ASHOK JHUNJHUNWALA and ANURADHA RAMACHANDRAN
  4. Two Mutually Reinforcing Applications of ICT for Socio-economic Development of India RAJESH JAIN, ATANU DEY, REUBEN ABRAHAM and VIVEK PADMANABHAN
  5. ICTs and Poverty Alleviation: Hope or Hype? ASHWANI SAITH
  6. Decrypting E-governance: Narratives, Power Play and Participation in the Gyandoot Intranet T T SREEKUMAR
  7. Crossing a Chasm: Technologies, Institutions and Policies for Developing a Regional IT Industry NIRVIKAR SINGH
  8. The Electronic Grassrooting of Democracy: A Case for Community Radio VINOD PAVARALA
  9. Wired Watchdogs: How ICTs are Aiding Civil Society to Enhance Public Accountability GOPAKUMAR KRISHNAN THAMPI
  10. Influence of Software Trade on Development of Web-enabled Governance Initiatives: Comparative Perspectives of Indian and UK Experiences AMIT MITRA and ALWYN DIDAR SINGH
  11. Evaluating the Developmental Impact of E-governance Initiatives: An Exploratory Framework SHIRIN MADON
  12. Ricocheting Gender Equations: Women Workers in the Call Centre Industry PIYUSH ANTONY and V GAYATHRI
  13. Constructing Work and Identity in the Indian Outsourced ITES Sector M VIJAYABASKAR
  14. Ethnic Transnational Middle Classes in Formation: A Case Study of Indian Information Technology Professionals XIANG BIAO
  15. Virtual India: Indian IT Labour and the Nation-State PETER VAN DER VEER
  16. Uncanny Networks: Pirate, Urban and the New
  17. Globalization in India RAVI SUNDARAM
  • Index

Edited by: ASHWANI SAITH Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands and London School of Economics and Political Science
M VIJAYABASKAR Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai
V GAYATHRI Institute for Human Development, New Delhi

Pages : 424

About the Book

ICTs and Indian Social Change: Diffusion, Poverty, Governance is the first book of its kind that puts together the optimistic voices of techno-idealists, critical social science perspectives on technology and a range of empirical material on the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on the lives of people. The book traces these processes across urban and rural spaces of work, consumption, e-governance, and highlights the new kinds of social identities they are fostering in India. It opens up an arena for dialogue between activists, technologists, policy makers and academia on using ICTs for development.

The book is a logical sequel to ICTs and Indian Economic Change: Economy, Work, Regulation that addressed the implications of the growth of ICT-based sectors in India for macro-economic development and industrial efficiency. This volume views the diffusion of ICTs in India primarily in the socio cultural realm. In responding to the pioneering voices of innovators in ICTs, it provides empirical and theoretical assessments and critiques of some of the important though often latent, premises that underlie these powerful initiatives.

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