Local Perspectives on New Information Technologies in Rural India: Linking Business and Government

By Pratyusha Basu.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.125-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 721.178KB).

Dr. Pratyusha Basu

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

Pratyusha Basu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of South Florida, Tampa, U.S.A. She has an M.A. in Geography from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, an M.Phil. in Planning and Development from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Her broad research area is rural geography, and she focuses on the intersections of rural development, agricultural economies, and gendered identities. Her book, Villages, Women, and the Success of Cooperative Dairying in India: Making Place for Rural Development, was published by Cambria Press in 2009 and is based on ethnographic fieldwork in two villages in western India. She has also published a number of journal articles, including in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers and The Professional Geographer.

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