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Problems And Solutions For Information Poverty India Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2529 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Today’s world has become a small place due to the expansion and understanding of technology; globalisation is another major contributing factor that must receive credit for this expansion throughout the globe.

This report will attempt to discuss and analyse some of the issues that surround information poverty with regards, to India. As a developing country, India is forecasted to become one of the world’s major player interns of economic power, globally. Before this can happen, India needs to make a transition from a developing country towards a developed country. It is the objective of this report to critically analyse, issues as well as suggesting solutions for them.

This paper will attempt to introduce some of the theories and concepts that can be applied and analysing as well, some of the problems and then finally, discussing the issues in order to give recommendations with regards to India.


Currently over 1 billion people call India home, it is a wide and diverse culture that can trace its history back to the Indus Valley civilisation, which is a civilisation that can trace its history back over 4000 years (Stearns, 2006). It has seen numerous other civilisations that have invaded its borders and it has most recently been ruled by the British Empire. Although Britain profited from India’s resources it did leave an infrastructure which is still beneficial for India, in the form of its railways. India sought and received independence from its colonial masters in 1947.

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India is also one of only a select few countries throughout the globe that can claim nuclear capabilities as one of their achievements. It is also seen as one of the major developing markets throughout the globe but it has significant overpopulation mixed in with a large number of its citizens living in poverty and as with a lot of other countries throughout the globe it suffers from widespread corruption. In addition to this it still operates a caste system throughout its culture they can segregate its citizens to the point that the people at the bottom in some cases, must physically not even touch any superior caste (outcastes) (Stearns, 2006).

It is estimated that in 2008 29% of its total population lived in urbanised areas and it is also estimated that its literacy rate currently stands at 61% (CIA, 2010).

Information Society

In order to understand what information poverty is, it is critical to understand what information Society is. In this section of the report the author will be looking at what information society is, by looking at the different theories that exist. authors such as Wiener (1948) highlighted in the early stages how information and communication would be significant in the future and later on other authors such as Bell (1973) continued to support this argument; it is fair to assume that Wiener (1948) and Bell (1973) did not realise how significant their papers would be with regards to today’s world and new academics such as Freeman and Louc (2001) have had to highlight the changes that have occurred in ideologies with regards to the “revolution ” That has occurred in today’s world.

Throughout the literature that is available, information Society has also been labelled differently by academics, examples of this include, information economy, post-modern society, surveillance society and as well as knowledge society. This also links to globalisation as it is a general consensus that globalisation has been significantly boosted by information and technology.

Numerous authors such as Berman (2008); Floridi (2009); Hilbert, et al (2010); Poel, et al (2010) and Webster (1995) are in agreement that information Society theories have been drawn up in order to understand how information can flow throughout society as well as how it can be used and controlled. This is important as information and knowledge can be critical to an organisation as well as societies throughout the globe, it is also valuable as it affects everyone, from the top down. Berman, (2008) goes on to highlight how the theory of data pyramid can significantly add to a society’s value by firstly (starting at the bottom) by increasing individual value this will lead on to the progression of community value which ultimately results in increased value throughout society as a whole. He goes on to highlight that with the increase through digital data collection society can benefit greatly through increasing infrastructure as well as stability, although responsibility is also increased it has an overall side-effect that decreases the risk of any loss or damage to a nation.

When it comes to information poverty authors such as Hilbert, et al (2010); Cullen, (2001); and significantly with Norris’s (2001) paper that highlights the inequality and digital divide that can exist through a wide range of factors that include ethnicity, geography and more significantly factors such as income and education. It is crucial to understand that change can only exist by the impact of new technologies and strategies and these results in a complex level of change that will also alter social factors (Van Dijk and Hacker, 2003 and Warschauer 2003). When it comes to information poverty there are numerous papers that relate to “the digital divide” but it has created significant differences throughout the authors opinions as some authors such as Howard, et al (2009) highlight how in today’s world, with the opening up of Borders there tends to be an increased level of parity with regards to bridging the gulf between the divide that currently exist, but another school of thought concludes that this divide is in fact deepening (James, 2008 and Van Dijk and Hacker, 2003); Hilbert, et al (2010) draw attention to how that this issue has been attempted to be resolved in order to give a definitive answer, he states “various compound measures have been created, so-called e-readiness indices, such as the ICT Development Index” . Even though numerous authors have attempted to answer definitively the contentious issue that relates to the digital divide and even with implementations of indexes, there still lies a great level of confusion as there is no real consensus; this issue is compounded by the fact that any attempt to analyse the different mediums such as the Internet, given the increased level of complexity by communication and technology.

Issues and examples

The divide

Some issues that relate to India with regards to information poverty surround the significant divide between the rich and poor, which can easily be seen throughout India. Although India is a developing country and it is expected to become one of the World’s powerhouses, it can be assumed that in the future there would still be a divide with regards to wealth be it monetary value as well as access to information. This will lead to an underclass that would have restricted access throughout its citizens. As discussed previously by James, (2008); Van Dijk and Hacker, (2003); Hilbert, et al (2010); and Howard, et al (2009), there is a digital divide that relates to nations as well as globally.


The consciences of India is arguably, significantly less than those of Western countries due to the lack of exposure and access to mediums that will enable its citizens to expand their understanding with regards to accessing information as easily as those of developed countries. As numerous nations throughout the globe have realised that they need to alter their level of consciousness and awareness with regards to being informed of what is occurring around them, be it through policies or with the expansion of globalisation as an example. This can be shown by nations such as United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia understanding that planning for the future is a necessity in order to guarantee the success of its nation. Both these countries have worked tirelessly in order to improve the communication infrastructure as well as drawing upon expertise from all corners of the globe in order to consult an aide the development of their nation.


India is one of the centres of the World with regards to globalisation as it has seen a significant amount of multinational and national corporations outsourcing their operations to Indian organisations. Most British citizens are aware that they are numerous companies outsourcing their call centres to India in order to reduce costs, but a significant proportion of the population might not know that India in fact has been receiving a steady supply of corporations that are willing to move departments and operations to India due to the amount of its citizens who have specialised in software and hardware development. This is a significant step forward in the development of information within India but it is crucial to understand that the intellectual property rights of the work that is being done within India’s borders tends to revert back to the country of origin.

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India is a wide and vast country with an estimated 1,173,108,018 (July 2010) people living within its borders and as such the level of its citizens that are Internet users only accounts for 81 million (2008, 4th in the world), which causes problems with regards to the clusters of its citizens who live in poverty and there are a large amount of its population that do not even have access to indoor plumbing let alone having access to Internet and telecommunications services. This clearly shows the level of information poverty that surrounds India such as the level of the population that have Telephones main lines, which only stands at 36.76 million as of 2010. Although major cities can see the development of its infrastructure with regards to the availability of Internet access but this cannot be said for rural India.


The divide

It is a myth to think that developed countries have perfect societies and democracies when it comes to society and politics and this can also be said for a developing country. Inroads must be made in order to try and bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots. This can only be done through a change of traditions and culture as well as the assistants of the elitist powers that be, who tend control India’s policies and wealth. A new social movement is required, one that does not take into account geography and the caste system.


By allowing India’s gifted students the opportunity to study abroad in order to experience different perspectives and knowledge skills then India can hopefully boost its level of consciousness within a society. India’s education system must also attempt to benefit those at the bottom with regards to enriching their experiences and knowledge. Programs which have been previously broadcasted on the BBC relating to informational videos provided by the Open University. It is a great way of highlighting how the media can assist its citizens by attempting to educate them in order to hopefully aid with its issue of information poverty.


It is a common consensus that nation’s require four key ingredients for growth, land, labour and capital. The fourth is probably the most significant when it comes to this issue and it relates to entrepreneurship. India must attempt to tackle the brain drain that is occurring currently with regards to outsourcing. Although outsourcing is a crucial factor, India must attempt to produce its own intellectual property in order to capitalise more significantly on the ability to considerably increase its profits in order to increase its capital, to benefit India as a whole.


Information poverty can be tackled significantly with the investment in its infrastructure. This has to be done by allowing the whole of the nation to have access to other information mediums. It is understandable that India is vast but instead of attempting to have access to every home, it should start by having centres in remote regions so they can experience some of the knowledge gained and this will require a significant amount of investment.

Although the physical infrastructure is lacking it is key to note that further access can be done by mobile phone technology as there is approximately 545,000,000 Mobile telephones that exist currently. It is key to note that urban areas have a significant level of coverage compared to those of rural areas that are still lacking but crucially have seen a steady increase in its coverage.


As the examples above clearly show that there are numerous issues that relate to India with regards to information poverty. It is important to note that these are only a few of a vast array of issues that surround information society within India. Although numerous authors have different opinions as to whether there is an increase or a decrease with regards to the divide between the haves and have-nots; both points of views are valid as some assumptions can be made such as with globalisation, undeveloped and developing nations are rapidly closing the gap as a whole to those of developed nations, but on the other hand you can see with the likes of India; that although India is rapidly closing the gap to other nations, the same cannot be said if you look within India. An example of this is that urbanised areas are clearly rapidly improving whilst rural areas have not seen the same level of development.

In order to address the issues that relate to information poverty, it is vital for India to first significantly invest in programs such as developing its infrastructure to those citizens that are lacking access to information. Through the support of the government, India can attempt to address these issues and it would also be beneficial to them with regards to aiding and bolstering their current success, as can be seen with the impressive figures from recent years that have shown its noteworthy growth (monetary value and influence). It is clear that for India to proceed with this plan it draw upon its knowledge and understanding in order to be able to negotiate freely with all parties to ultimately achieve its goals.

Although throughout western countries you can see different levels of influence such as the upper-class, middle-class and working class, these distinctions have been somewhat skewed overtime as whole Bloodlines can no longer be categorised easily; this cannot be said of India as cultural differences are still a major influencing factor and as such it must be tackled through a wide range of policies such as equal opportunities laws and more significantly from some can of social movement, again this would require the support of both the people and most crucially the government in order to introduce political and legal legislations to tackle this issue.


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