Getting the work done

ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) for Development has been the happening buzzword for over a year now. A slew of reports on ICT4D ‘success stories’ in the ASEAN region and some specific to India have appeared. Surprisingly a good number of them refer to the success of the efforts without actually quantifying actually what has been done in terms of costs incurred and costs recovered. The other thing that does not get talked about or written about is the absolute lack of interest in infrastructure. ICT4D will be very much tied into infrastructure. Assume a place (and there are so many like these that you can just put a random name) where the power supply is erratic, the telephony network is in shambles and there is no semblence of a village school. How does one manage to create an ICT success there ? And this is precisely the point. In nearly all the cases of Indian ICT success stories, the chosen ones seem to have all the infrastruture details neatly sewn up and in place. The entire concept of requirement of a basic (or bare minimum) infrastructure is not talked about in the much hyped ‘funded projects’ which attract a lot of press and attention.

Lack of infrastructure also means that effective utilisation of the context of the deployment would not happen and thus the impact of the project would be much less that what is expected/projected.