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Use of Convergent Mobile Technologies for Sustainable Economic Transformation in the lives of Small ... - page 4 / 8

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2,200/- per month (apply 50USD). The earlier limit was Rs. 1,500 (35-40 USD apply). If the Government of India could go in for the Nuclear Deal which is hanging fire due to the hurdles posed by the Leftist groups of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) the realization of above target is not impossible. However, even if the nuclear deal does not get through the possibility of country achieving this cannot be ruled out at the current economic growth with 8.5 to 9 GDP each

quarter,

averaging

to

7.5

to

8

GDP

annually.

(http://www.thehindu.com/2008/02/13/stories/2008021355021500.htm).

Widening internet and telecommunications

According to a latest report published in Times of India (Oct 22, 2007), ‘the Internet usage in India has grown more than 11 times over the last seven years. The boom is being driven not by metros, but by smaller and non-metro towns, where the number of users has risen by a whopping 69 times and 33 times respectively since 2000’. The report further says that the number of users has grown in all socio-economic categories, as well as in all metros and non-metro towns.

The report further added that the number of users as grown in all social categories in all metros and non-metros. Though the 8 metros still stand out highest in figures, the growth has been the fastest in the smaller and non-metro towns. According to the report the small towns have the second largest number of total users. The findings published in the Times of India are the results of the survey conducted by e-technology group of IMRB International. The I –cube 2007 survey conducted across 30 cities and towns covering 35,000 people. The IMRB survey noted that the highest number of people use net for e-mail and information search. More than 7.5 million people in India use the e-mail as their basic mode of communication (Rangaswami, N; 2007).

The above study has taken into consideration of internet users through cybercafés only. However, the boom in telecommunications coupled with mobile phones based on satellite communication net work today has made it possible to access internet, e-mail and chat or conferencing right one one’s mobile or personal computer cum television.

In fact, as one can read into the analysis of suicidal cases being recorded by the Government, there are many suicides which fall into the category other than debt traps. Crop related failures, remunerative prices and financial inputs (such as loans—both long term and short term) are the ones which the information technologies could efficiently address. In this context mobile technologies could be very handy at the rural level.

According to a study of Keval J Kumar and Amos O Thomas (2006), mobile telephone services have become so cheap now that mobile subscriptions have outpaced fixed line connections; in 2005 and 2006. On an average 4.5 million new mobile subscribers were added every month. The rapid spurt in tele-density has been exceeded only by China. Cellular communication technology is the fastest growing one in the continent of Africa.

Unique features of Mobile Phones

Its light weight, portability, user-friendly and fairly inexpensive features would make it accessible to every category of society, rich and poor alike. It combines the characteristics of the traditional and the new media. It can comprise traditional media such as recorded music, photography, cinema, radio, television and the press and uses the new media to extend its storage, processing and distribution capacities (as quoted by Van Dyke, 2005 in Kumar and Thomas, 2006). According to Kumar and Thomas, ‘the boundary between the cellular phone as a medium of interpersonal communication and as a mass medium for the distribution of Short Message Service (SMS), web pages, videos and games is dissolving”. Mobile telephony is gradually merging with mobile computing. In fact mobile telephony has the power of empowering individuals and groups; it is interpersonal, immediate and extremely convenient. It has the potential to contribute to the new public sphere.(Kumar and Thomas 2006) .

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