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Can Information and Communications Technology Applications Contribute to Poverty Reduction? Lessons from Rural India

Information Technology for Development, Vol. 10, pp. 73-84, 2003

13 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006  

Simone Cecchini

United Nations - Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Chris D. Scott

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Abstract

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can reduce poverty by improving poor people's access to education, health, government and financial services. ICT can also help small farmers and artisans by connecting them to markets. It is clear that in rural India -as well as in much of the developing world- realization of this potential is not guaranteed. This paper outlines a simple model to explain why a digital divide may exist between rich and poor. Low-cost access to information infrastructure is a necessary prerequisite for the successful use of ICT by the poor, but it is not sufficient. The implementation of ICT projects needs to be performed by organizations and individuals who have the appropriate incentives to work with marginalized groups. Furthermore, grassroots intermediaries and the involvement of the community are identified as the key factors that foster local ownership and the availability of content and services that respond to the most pressing needs of the poor.

Keywords: ICT, technology, poverty, India, rural, digital divide

JEL Classification: O18, O20, O33, R58, I30

Suggested Citation

Cecchini, Simone and Scott, Chris D., Can Information and Communications Technology Applications Contribute to Poverty Reduction? Lessons from Rural India. Information Technology for Development, Vol. 10, pp. 73-84, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=904333

Simone Cecchini (Contact Author)

United Nations - Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) ( email )

Santiago
Chile

Chris D. Scott

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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