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Issue of August 2005 

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IT for the masses

Trickling down to the masses

IT plays an important role in the lives of the common man in many ways today. This has happened in an inconspicuous manner over the years—silently, yet making its presence as an enabler felt in more ways than one.

Despite the initial furore against computerisation in the 1980s, IT managed to strengthen its foothold one step at a time. Today, IT is an enabler of the masses in areas other than governance or home/office computing.

Ushering in a better life

Technology is only as good as the benefits it provides to the common man. This is why IT’s role in improving lives has to be explored.

Today, it is common to see government employees using software with a regional language interface or teachers using multimedia teaching software to liven up learning. Registering land requires authentication mechanisms such as biometric scanners, while technologies like GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are used in dairy farming.

Hospitals powered by software management systems save lives, while kiosks in remote villages help farmers sell their produce without middlemen getting in the way. For every fisherman using GPS to navigate his way to fishing sites, technology runs behind the scenes telling him where to fish.

And so go on the examples of how IT as an enabler makes a significant difference to the way Indians live, work and eat.

Behind the scenes

Yes, there is still a long way to go, but the future can be dreamt about only when we appreciate the value of the present. This is why the power of IT, which is enabling areas that the common Indian oft sees without perceiving, has to be explored.

While examining the presence and impact of technology, it has to be understood that these are not easy deployments. Many an implementation, and more significantly, cultural issues (or rather obstacles), have been tided over by the people who have made these possible. We will also explore some of these aspects in the pages that follow.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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