Urban-rural inequalities in access to new information and communication technologies (ICTs) have led to the implementation of ICT programs specifically targeted to rural constituencies. However, the extent to which such programs enable rural populations to become part of new economic opportunities remains a matter of intense debate. This article seeks to contribute to this debate by focusing on the experiences of rural cybercenter operators associated with India’s Gyandoot program, a widely lauded district-level initiative that combines e-government services with income generation. The main finding is that the continued participation of cybercenter operators in the program, despite uncertain profits from it, can be attributed to its value as an employment opportunity in a less developed district of India. Cybercenter operators were also of the view that governmental support ensures the long-term viability of the program. A study of Gyandoot thus provides glimpses into the wider social and political processes that are currently shaping access to economic opportunities in contexts of rural underdevelopment.
|Keywords:||Information Technologies, Rural Development, Local Government, Rural Employment, India|
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA
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