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Information and communication technologies and the digital divide in the Third World countries

Balakrishnan, N (2001) Information and communication technologies and the digital divide in the Third World countries. In: Current Science, 81 (8). pp. 966-976.


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The technophiles view is that the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) herald the arrival of the new information era and are key factors for social change. The technophobes view the advances in ICT as new and sophisticated tools that would further the industrial imperialism. In spite of these opposing views, it is a fact that ICT have been contributing to a significant part of the economy of many developing nations. This is substantiated by the actions of almost every Third World country in treating ICT as a high priority item in their economic planning. ICT is seen to play an important role in political, socioeconomical, and cultural globalization process. Many international organizations including the World Bank, United Nations (UN) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), have fostered multitude of initiatives in the Third World countries that not only help in bringing the benefits of ICT to the Third World, but also create a framework for influencing policy formulations, open up markets, introduce competition and deregulate the ICT market. The changes brought about by ICT are rapid and ubiquitous. The uneven diffusion of this fast- changing technology has also caused the digital divide within the countries and between the countries. It is almost certain that the countries which do not adopt and adapt to these changes will be marginalized, widening the digital divide. Third World countries are precariously poised at this juncture and a careful planning on their part would decide if the ICT would bring economic growth for them or push them deeper into technological isolation. In this paper, we discuss the emerging trend in ICT, the state of their assimilation world over and the emerging digital divide.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences
Department/Centre: Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Supercomputer Education & Research Centre
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2004
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:16
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/1849

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