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Author(s): Ishu Tiwari , Maharaja Agrasen College University of Delhi; Gaurav Pathak, Maharaja Agrasen College University of Delhi
Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies, Rural Development, ICT
Abstract: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) are changing every sphere of our lives. It holds tremendous potential for rural development in India in the areas of agriculture, health, and education. One of the main reasons for the inequitable distribution of economic gains between urban and the rural population is the gap in access to information. ICTs can contribute in automation of Rural Banks, networking, information sharing and the provision of ICT enhanced distance learning in countryside areas. Issues such as unavailability of electricity, lack of ICTs equipment, high level of illiteracy, user acceptance and local content have to be addressed before the potential of ICTs can be achieved. The paper covers one such solution, Internet.org. By partnering with mobile operators and governments in different countries, Internet.org offers free access in local languages to basic internet services in areas like jobs, health, education and messaging. Internet.org lowers the cost of accessing the internet and raises the awareness of the internet's value. In India, Reliance network has already rolled out free services to millions of people in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, and Telangana. Apart from analyzing the effective implementation of Internet.org in rural areas the paper also draws attention to the efforts made by past and present governments of India to solve the major problems facing ICT development. Some recommendations are made as to what the government and other development agencies can do to address these challenges.