Tuesday, June 22

The Digital Village : Business Week

Manjeet Kripalani in BusinessWeek writes about the "The Digital Village "; how the poor farmers of Karnataka are facing the benefits of digitization of the land records with equal access to information and proving as digital turning point for India. There is a great divide in India of haves and haves not, sometimes natural and sometimes artificial due to red-tapisim and exploitation. The equal access to information is a crucial right of any citizen and should not depend upon class, caste or status, thats what is the definition of Democracy. Technology can not only breat this divide and inquality or exploitation of system , but it also provides the power to the common man, the power of knowledge.
Stretching Resources

Many of these efforts are driven by the urge to profit: If a fraction of India's poor logged in or dialed up just once a day -- and paid a minuscule fee to a service provider for the privilege -- then the sheer mass could create a viable business. "If you can conceptualize the world's 4 billion poor as a market, rather than as a burden, they must be considered the biggest source of growth left in the world," says C.K. Prahalad, a leading management theorist who studies developing markets. Other pioneers are purely altruistic -- they want to break India's millennia-long curse of poverty.

It's an awesome curse, and at first look, it's hard to see how digital technology cooked up by some entrepreneurial do-gooders can relieve hunger or thirst or guarantee a better crop. No laptop, however cheap or durable, can compensate for India's lack of a nationwide power grid, or a comprehensive network of highways. But digital technology can deliver information -- information the rural poor desperately need -- about crop conditions, fertilizer prices, health care, and more. Reliable information can help India's poor stretch their resources -- to plant the right crops, deal with bureaucrats more effectively, operate on a level playing field with customers and merchants. The digital revolution in India is largely an information revolution..........