Friday, July 02, 2004

India's Digital Village

In a previous post, I'd said about the Businessweek article about how India's digital revolution is affecting the rural masses. Interestingly, today Slashdot has run the same story as its first post. Obviously it has received very interesting comments.

Some of them:

One person referred to an Economist Article about how encouraging adoption of IT in the developing world would have consequences beyond those philanthropic. Some interesting notes from this...

These technologies are part of HP's ambitious plans to sell to the 4 billion poorest people at the bottom of the global economic pyramid. In addition to work being done at the HP Labs, the company has also invested resources in its “e-inclusion” initiative, a project designed to set up “Digital Villages” and “i-communities” around the world—the former are philanthropic projects, the latter strategic market investments. Several centres—in India, South Africa, Ghana and Brazil—have already been established.

All of this activity could easily be mistaken for yet another philanthropic effort to bridge the “digital divide” between rich and poor. But that is only part of the story. Anand Tawker, the head of HP's e-inclusion efforts in Asia, speaks of a “blended strategy” that creates social benefits at the same time as boosting HP's brand and sales. “In the process of creating social value, there is also a profitable return to HP,” he says. “Doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive.”

Whether philanthropy is the reason for the compaies like HP investing in developing countries or not - the result is its helping us a lot :D.

However, there are some very interesting (and adverse) posts as well - particularly motivated, I believe, from the outsourcing issue... People have made comments saying "India is not the way to go-reconsider" - that India's caste system! and our politics are pathetic.

There also seems to be posts pointing to particular instances of where Indians could not do an IT job properly or did not possess proper communcation skills - and using these as excuses to say that India is - i quote - "just a shabby country as every other country".

Ofcourse, quite a few Indians seem to have fought back these cynical comments with pointed answers :D.
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