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Unleashing Rural India’s Economic Potential – The Role of ICT

Dr Archana Gulati
Published Oct 20, 2009

Rural Development, Vol. 57, No. 12, October 2009

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Abstract

As on March 2009, rural teledensity in India was only about 15 against an urban teledensity of almost 89. Though comparatively rural teledensity has grown faster than urban teledensity over the past decade, the Indian digital divide is still vast and challenging. It is a well acknowledged fact that apart from mobile phones, rural broadband penetration is vital for inclusive growth. It can provide villagers with much needed access to financial inclusion, health and education services. However, for ICT to deliver its promised transformational impact on rural India, both connectivity and content must be addressed apart from power supply issues without which access to ICT services and devices would be of limited utility. In this article the author indicates the manifold avenues by which ICT may serve a s a tool of rural empowerment and also touches upon the existing and potential facilitative role of the Universal Service Obligation Fund in this regard.