Recently I got the honour of attending a guest lecture by Mr. Pankaj Kedia (Father of Intel Atom Processor) while participating in Cognizance’10 at IIT-R. He put forward a very interesting insight about technology boom in India.
His observation went like this:-
“Although mobile phone usage in India is pretty impressive but the number of broadband users in India is still very low. Every four man,woman or child of India has access to mobile phones while only 7% of 1.8 billion strong population has access to broadband internet.”
No doubt Mr. Pankaj Kedia was disappointed by this statistic.
You must be wondering what is the point of these statistic. Well these statistic may seem to be a mere figure to you but they contain the key to India’s future success.
Now you must be thinking how fast speed Internet and mobile phone can contribute to India’s economy. For that let me make you understand by an example.
In Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus had his idea of providing villages with mobile phone connectivity. He formed a Grameen Bank which later formed an alliance with Telenor to provide GSM mobile facility in Bangladesh. They also provided loans to poor villagers to purchase smart phone and taught them how to use it and earn by turning them into payphone.This way a large rural population was connected.
Also along with connectivity rural population was able to access Internet as they had smartphones at their disposal. So they were enabled to access information about new scientific methods of farming and other information like latest crop pattern etc. This way farmers were able to increase their agricultural yield and were connected to te markets in cities and town by their mobile phones.
During this phase,Bangladesh witnessed a huge leap in their Gross domestic product. That too without any industrial development and infrastructure development.
Such is the power of Internet which according to me the greatest invention of last century. It is a vast repository of knowledge. Just think when Internet can contribute so much to the growth of Bangladesh,what will it do to the 1.18 billion strong Indian population?
No doubt we can use Internet as a tool for the development of India but the big Question is how to spread Internet in such a vast and poor country like India. Laptops and P.C. are not affordable for everyone specially when 20% of population is still below poverty line.
The answer to this problem lies in Mobile phone. We can implement the Grameen Phone system in INDIA to equip our rural population with Smartphone to provide high speed connectivity. Soon 3G services will be launched in India, so we have the infrastructure in our country. With knowledge at their disposal,rural people will be able to understand market better and will be able to increase their agricultural throughput.
But here too there is an issue. Most of the content on I nternet is in English in which our rural population is not very comfortable. So we need to create good content in local language on Internet so that more people can understand it and benefit.
Well this requires a lot of labour and Youngsters need to come forward to develop good quality local content on internet such as a networking site for farmers in Hindi on lines of facebook and Orkut where they can share their knowledge on a common plateform. This should not be a problem as we have a huge I.T. infrastructure, we have benefit of that.
The challenge to provide high quality content in local language on Internet via mobile phones to rural and small town population is not easy but then it is not impossible too. What we need is a contribution from our youth and some grit and determination so that India does not lag behind.
“This is the best time for progress and we need not only to walk on path of development but run fast and for running fast we need a vehicle which is Smartphone running on the fuel of Internet.”