Key Words and Phrases
Mass communication, Information and Communication Technology, TV network, Simputer, Internet, STD, Telecentre, Cyber
kiosk, Call centre, telemedicine services, Digital Economy, ‘e’ Boy, ‘e’ Bala or ‘e’ Bai
as “information Intermediaries”, AISECT, Suchana Mitra, ‘e’ governance. Information Village Project
(IVP), M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), IndiaShop.com, SEWA, TARAhaat.com, e-greenstar.com
This paper presents an overview of use of ICT technology
in tribal areas with special emphasis upon youth employment in tribal society of India. The paper aims:
· To discuss hurdles in wiring up a knowledge
revolution and realizing benefits of Information Revolution in Tribal India
· To discuss major benefits of use of Information
and Communication Technologies in tribal areas.
· To discuss and suggest in what way information
and communication technologies (ICT) can promote youth employment in Tribal Society.
· To expose the myth that ICT business
can be run only by high income individuals or groups.
· To describe some leading projects like
Information Village Project (IVP) run by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), IndiaShop.com, SEWA, TARAhaat.com and
e-greenstar.com devoted to Rural/Tribal education and employment via use of ICT.
· To make recommendations so that so that
millions tribal people can be lifted out of poverty and contribute to national economy and be part of global economy.
"Information is critical to the social and economic activities that comprise the development process. Telecommunications,
as a means of sharing information, is not simply a connection between people, but a link in the chain of the development process
itself." [Hudson 1995]
With the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the world has changed into a "Global Village". In present times, when we talk about mass communication revolution in India
, we generally mean that TV, mobile, internet, and other means of information communication have exerted a considerable
impact on social, cultural, political and economic aspects of the society and
soon, as a modern society, we are going to cope up with advanced countries. But
the real picture is quite different. India has important high-technology
industries and technology hubs, but diffusion of technology is slow and incomplete as compared to five ILO member countries.
We live in a diversified culture in which few sections celebrate huge benefits of ICT technology, on the other hand, other
sections, very much underprivileged like tribal society are struggling hard even
for basic survival. A large portion of our tribal population is still illiterate, struggling for electricity, drinking water,
and daily bread and butter. The disparity in rural-urban infrastructure, in terms of roads, power, transport and telecommunications
is a severe bottleneck. It hinders private investment in rural/tribal areas and fails to provide rural/ tribal population
with key ingredients required to modernise agriculture, and more importantly establish other economic enterprises (including
non-farm based enterprises). Poverty, illiteracy, inertia, traditional beliefs,
poor infrastructure, technological constraints, defective administrative planning and strategy are few major causes that prevent
and put tribal society far from witnessing a true revolution based on modern technology like ICT.
However, it cannot be denied that mass communication technology is gradually reaching tribal homes and little population
has even realized its benefits as it is evident from few projects, described in this paper, that are already working on the
present theme. Today, the tribal community in few areas is also on the way of advanced civil society. The focus of this paper
is on the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) that can be employed in tribal areas to generate youth
employment. The initiatives are presented against a background that acknowledges
that tribes are largely illiterate and belong to a very low income group. The
paper discusses, in more general terms, some common misconceptions about the use of ICT in tribal regions, the potential gains
ICT offers in relation to youth employment and society more widely, and the obstacles tribal community in particular faces
in trying to realize these benefits.
The initiatives also show the potential that the widespread use of mobile phones offer for young people both
as an income generator in its own right and as an alternative to fixed line telephones to gain easier access to the Internet. Some best practice examples show that other infrastructure constraints such as high
cost of computers, and electricity supply can also be addressed. Evidence is
also presented to show that the use of the Internet is not limited to the literate or to English users.
The best projects like AISECT (All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology), Information Village
Project (IVP) run by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), IndiaShop.com, SEWA, TARAhaat.com and e-greenstar.com devoted to Rural/Tribal education and employment Via use of ICT show that ICT has vast
potential to address education and employment problem in tribal areas in a effective manner.
The final part of the paper offers few recommendations aimed at promoting ICT-related opportunities for young people.
Tribal residents deserve an equal opportunity to participate in the national economy and determine their own destiny. Particular
emphasis, as outlined in paper, should be given on ICT to provide employment to tribal youths so that they can integrate effectively
in the Indian economy and the new Global Economy. The final solution to providing
service to tribal areas in India will require a delicate blend of appropriate technological choices in combination with management
and financing mechanisms, initiated at the governmental level, to support the development of tribal areas. An integrated approach
including participation of public sector, the entrepreneurs, the private sector, and the NGOs who consider themselves to be
in the business of "doing good”, is required to catalyze information revolution in Tribal India so that millions can
be lifted out of poverty and be engaged in productive employment not restricted to agricultural sector. Hence no time should
be wasted in going ahead with the proposed plans.