Context

Context

Globalization and Technology

In the current information age, Information Communication Technology (ICT), with its enabling, facilitating and wealth creating potential, is described as a panacea for many ills of the society and it has indeed revolutionized many facets of life at multiple levels in a globalized, interconnected world. With its ability to transcend geo-political borders, time zones, censorships and its characteristic of community based horizontal spread, anonymity, egalitarian nature, democratic functioning, relative affordability, speed and 24/7 availability, it has become a powerful enabler to enhance the quality of life.  But none of these enabling qualities of the ICT can be useful if people do not have access to this technology and do not have the knowledge as to how to use the technology to their benefit. Digital divide, digital access and digital illiteracy thus has become one of the key debates in the bigger questions in developmental policies that need deeper attention and community based solutions.

Digital Technology in Resurgent India:

The new government that took over in 2014 in its first policy announced details of the Digital India Program centered on three key areas

  • Digital Infrastructure as an Essential Utility to Every Citizen
  • Governance & Services on Demand
  • Digital Empowerment of Citizens Leading to Financial Inclusion and Poverty Alleviation

Empowerment of citizens is sought to be achieved through universal digital literacy, universally accessible digital resources, availability of all documents and certificates on cloud, availability of digital resources / services in Indian languages, creation of and access to collaborative digital platforms for participative governance, and portability of all entitlements through cloud.

Among the enumerated nine pillars of Digital India, the sixth pillar is Information for All.

“Information for All” is a crucial pillar if citizens have to take advantage of various e-governance schemes and other facilities that are now made available to them on the Internet, and if the complete potential of Digital India has to be realized.  This would mandate engaging with the community to build their capacity for participating in E-Governance . Technology by itself can not alter the lives of people.

This needs two clear strategies.

  • Make people aware of what is internet, what is E-Governance and why it is necessary for the betterment of their daily lives.
  • Democratize knowledge dissemination and knowledge creation; build the capacity of rural population, especially the tribal population to use the Internet so that they could access various schemes meant for them by through Internet.