Role of Mobile Based Applications in India’s Social and Economic Transformation

Role of Mobile Based Applications in India’s Social and Economic Transformation

Sunil Jose Gregory (Infosys Technologies Ltd., India), Gnanapriya Chidambaranathan (Infosys Technologies Ltd., India) and Padma Kumar (Infosys Technologies Ltd., India)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jebr.2011070104
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This article discusses the socio-economic impact of mobile telephony in a developing country like India. Emerging markets are experiencing technology leapfrogging in terms of telecom evolution and adaptation. While the rich and affluent use mobile technology to enhance their lifestyle, for the poor, mobile based applications can augment their daily livelihood. Due to economic compulsions, the focus of the market has been on mobile services and applications that belong to the primary category. This paper identifies the potential of livelihood enabling applications and describes successful global projects in livelihood enabling mobile applications in areas like mHealth, mEducation, mAgriculture, and mFinance. The paper concludes by identifying a set of challenges for developing livelihood enabling mobile apps in India and makes policy suggestions that can increase the viability of such mobile applications in India.
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Introduction And Background

In September 2000, during the UN Millennium Summit, World nations adopted eight development goals called “Millennium Development Goals” or MDG to guide the global development in the 21st century. The summit also identified clear and quantifiable targets to be achieved in all countries against each of these goals by 2015. Since 2000, MDG has become the global standard for measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of international developmental efforts.

Till the last century, the currency to eradicating hunger, poverty and path to affluence was access to natural resources such as land. In the 21st century timely information and knowledge has replaced the same to an extent. Today “Information & Communication Technologies” or ICT play a significant role in the socio-economic development. Though ICT cannot directly achieve the development goal targets, in many ways, it offers a unique path to achieving the same. The access, penetration and growth of information and communication technologies in the society have a major impact on how a person live, work, think and spend his or her leisure time. It has the potential to change the structure of society and economy. However there exists a significant information asymmetry between the developed, developing and least developed nations in terms of ICT infrastructure and access, ICT use and the intensity of use and ICT skills (or capacity necessary to use ICTs effectively). Table 1 gives a comparison between developed and developing nations.

Table 1.
Comparison between developed and developing nations
CountryHDI Rank (2009)GDP (PPP)ICT Development IndexIDI Sub-Index Rank
RankIntl. $Rank (2007)IDI (2007)AccessUseSkills
Very high human development (Developed Countries)Norway135326967.091258
Medium human development (Developing Countries)Bhutan13210457931151.63113120124
Republic of the Congo1361803341321.37154151137

Source: United Nations (2009)

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