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Social Change and Development in India

Bangalore and New York – not only can talk, but also send documents and images to one another with the help of satellite technology. You have already seen how outsourcing operates in your earlier chapters.


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Is there an internet café in your neighbourhood? Who are its users? What kind of use do they make of the internet? Is it on work purpose? Is it a new form of entertainment? Is there a STD/ISD telephone booth? Is there any FAX facility in your neighbourhood?

Globally use of the Internet increased phenomenally in the 1990s. In 1998 there were 70 million Internet users world-wide. Of these USA and Canada accounted for 62% while Asia had 12%. By

BOX 6.3

2000 the number of Internet users had risen to 325 million. India had 3 million Internet subscribers and 15 million users by 2000, thanks to the proliferation of cyber cafes all over the country. (Singhal and Rogers 2001: 235)

According to a CNN-IBN poll broadcast on August 15, 2006, about 7% of the country’s youth had access to the Internet while only 3% had computers to home. The figures themselves indicate the digital divide that continues to prevail in the country inspite of the rapid spread of computers. Cyber connectivity had largely remained an urban phenomenon but widely accessible through the cybercafes. But the rural areas with their erratic power supply widespread illiteracy and lack of infrastructure like telephone connections still remain largely unconnected.

India’s Telecommunications Expansion When India gained independence in 1947, the new nation had 84,000 telephone lines for its population of 350 million. Thirty three years later, by 1980, India’s telephone service was still bad with only 2.5 million telephones and 12,000 public phones for a population of 700 million; only 3 percent of India’s 600,000 villages had telephones. However, in the late 1990s, a sea change occurred in the telecommunication scenario: by 1999, India had installed network of over 25 million telephone lines, spread across 300 cities, 4,869 towns, and BOX 6.4


310, 897 villages, making India’s telecommunication network the ninth largest in the world.

  • Between 1988 and 1998, the number of villages with some kind of telephone facility increased from

27,316 to 300,000 villages (half of all villages in India). By 2000, some 650,000 public call offices (PCOs) provided reliable telephone service, where people can simply walk in, make a call, and pay the

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