Efforts made by the Union and state governments have made only marginal difference as the population explosion has outstripped the improvement and expansion of education and health care facilities. Green revolution has brought India close to self sufficiency in major food items but productivity of land is still quite low compared to that in many developed and developing countries.
The advent of information technology in such a scenario has generated high hopes among many Indians who are confident that optimum use of information technology can break the vicious circle of poverty and backwardness and before long; India can take her legitimate place among comity of advanced nations of the world. Nature and uses of information technology have been lucidly explained by William James Stover in his book “Information Technology in the Third World” in the following manner, “A combination of computers, satellite telephones, radio, television and other electronics, information technology is a means of communication and information management which provides more effective and more efficient interaction.
It has become the source of new jobs, industry and recreation in advanced countries, producing qualitative change in the way we live”. Beginning with invention of printing press by John Gutenberg of Germany in the 15th Century, the speed of dissemination of information has increased by leaps and bounds during the last four centuries. Newspaper, radio and later television have reduced the time span to almost zero between the creations of information/knowledge to its communication to the people across the globe. Computers have multiplied man’s capacity manifold to record and retrieve information.
It was on account of dissemination of latest knowledge regarding diagnosis and treatment of fatal diseases like tuber-colossi, rabies, small pox and malaria that these epidemics have now been eliminated from a large part of the globe. Tele- medicine now makes possible diagnosis and treatment of patients across continents as the pathological reports can be sent from Bangalore to Washington by internet instantaneously.
The physician sitting in Washington can prescribe medicine on the internet after reading and analysing the pathological report. Much money and time can be saved by imaginative use of telemedicine, Indian hospitals and institutes of medicine can establish mutually useful linkages with international institutions of medical sciences and health care and thereby offer a wider and more effective range of health services to people of India. Funds thus saved can be diverted to social and preventive medicine and health care in the sprawling rural areas of India.
The advanced techniques developed by Denmark and Norway in animal husbandry and dairy development can be learned through the use of computer and television and can be propagated through electronic and print media as well as through extension agencies. This can bring about a revolution in milk production and fodder development leading to vastly increased income of our rural population. Rural prosperity will generate higher demand of manufactured goods, education, health and financial services thus kick starting our moribund economy.
Information technology can provide easy access to the scholars and researchers to books and theses in the USA and Europe through internet. This will save huge expenditure on purchase and transport of these books besides waiting time will be reduced from months or weeks to hours and minutes. Scholars can keep themselves updated with the latest developments taking place in natural and social sciences. They can also participate in tale-conferencing which enables the participants to have a live interaction and feedback. Doubts and misconceptions are instantly cleared paving way for clear comprehension of significant new theories in the field of science and technology.
Information technology can enhance the access of poor and qualified people to jobs. There are many cities and countries in the world which are in need of good but cheap services in the field of typing, assembling of goods or offering franchise for sale of their products. The use of internet can give the employers and prospective employees easy and quick access to one another and they can enter into mutually beneficial contracts. Many technicians and graduates in India are now getting selected by employers through internet thus enabling the poor employee’s .to save a lot of money on travelling from their place of residence to the remote office or the factory of the employers.
]Information technology has facilitated a more meaningful and purposive interaction between the rich countries on the one hand and the poor countries on the other. Rich countries need the poor countries as much as the poor need the rich. Even today, the well off countries is dependent on the third world countries for minerals, oil and other raw materials. Moreover, expanding middle classes with their enhanced purchasing power in the developing countries provide huge markets to the multinational corporations of the rich countries.
By use of satellite pictures and remote sensing techniques, the advanced nations easily ascertain the availability of minerals in African or Asian countries even before the latter have the slightest idea about them. Thence ensues the protracted bargaining between the purchaser and supplier country. If the African or Asian countries can arrive at an agreement which gives them not only immediate benefits in the form of money but also the right to use technology of the buyer country, both the rich and the poor nations benefit by the agreements.
Many entrepreneurs and political executives in India have realised the vast potentialities of Information technology in changing the face of our backward country. The present government has offered special tax incentives to information technology sector. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babe Naidu, has shown extraordinary interest in popularising the use of information technology in education, government offices and in projects for alleviation of poverty among the rural masses. He has also been able to convince the Microsoft Chief Bill Gates to establish his branch unit in Hyderabad.
The initiative taken by Chandra Babe Naidu is likely to inspire a host of political executives and entrepreneurs in India to harness information technology for bringing about undreamt development of our country.
Farmers can now maintain constant interaction with specific commodity Producers Associations through telephone and Fax and can keep themselves updated about the prices of commodities. This information can help them in planning larger or lesser production of commodities to achieve optimum profitability. They are also in touch with prices prevailing in the domestic and international market. Taking appropriate and rational decision will help them avoid distress sale of commodities due to glut.
Skilled craftsmen, artisans and weavers can interact with distant and foreign buyers of their products and artifacts. They can plan their production schedule based on actual demand. This will avoid maintaining large inventories and blocking of capital. Buyers can send detailed specifications-even graphic designs-of items required by them. Artisans can design their products accordingly.
Such customised products will fetch them higher price in international markets and help them earn respectable income from their craft. They need not waste their money on transport to interact with the distant buyers or engage middlemen to promote their products. The optimum use of information technology can confer all the benefits on small entrepreneurs which were earlier available to well off and resourceful entrepreneurs. Opportunities for profitable commerce are phenomenally increased through the use of latest information technology.