Oficina CEER
 24-09-2008
NETCOM about TIC in India

For decades, India was more or less ignored by the western media. In the last few years, it has achieved some recognition due to its rising prominence in ICT; this makes quite a change from its former image as an “under-developed country.” Indeed, since the 1990s and the opening of its economy, India has succeeded in transforming its old, unreliable telecommunications network. It has modernized it and made it available to a larger number of people. The emergence of private operators in the mobile phone and Internet fields has significantly contributed to this development. The increasing density of the network in urban areas and its diffusion in the countryside has contributed to the diversification of telecommunication usage. The software sector also plays a great role in the dynamic Indian economy and each year a large number of English speaking computer analysts are trained in Indian institutes. Those successes were largely noted in the national and international press. However only the most spectacular projects were reported in depth, sometimes in exaggerated terms, and sometimes prematurely---before the true impact of these projects could be evaluated. Indeed, this enthusiasm goes along with the worldwide euphoria due to the Internet bubble that seems to have persisted in India well beyond the bursting of that bubble.

A review of the situation today could allow us to measure which transformations were really brought by the ICT in India. This is the objective of this special issue of the NETCOM journal dedicated to India where contributions of French and English speaker researchers working on the following fields are welcome:

- Recently India has founded its hopes of economic development on the software in-dustry and call centres. But has it the means to not be only a subcontractor for firms from richer countries that are looking for cheap labour? Could the rising salary of computer analysts not call into question the competitive edge it enjoys so far? And can it rely on this sector to build a sustainable economy in other sector?

- What happens to the Indian computer analysts who have migrated to rich countries (United States, Canada, Australia and Germany) in order to get better wages and career opportunities? Is their migration impeding the development of the Indian economy? What are their links with their native country? Are the social networks they build in foreign countries really useful to India?

- What are the results of the projects (reported in headlines in the western press) about the very remote villages connected to the Internet? About Kerala’s fishermen with material at the cutting edge of the technology? Where are the “computers for the poor”? Were those projects phantasies of the “science-action”, telecom operator’s communication strategy? Did some of those projects have a real impact and did they help reduce the digital gap both in a spatial and a social point of view?

- What were the rhythms and the spatial patterns of the diffusion of the different tech-nical networks (Telephone, mobile, Internet and broad band etc. ). What are, if ap-plicable, the spatial reorganisations due to the diffusion at the national scale of those networks? How do ICT networks and industries impact on the urban mor-phology?

- To what extent are the federal state, the states and the different levels of the Indian administration engaged in market regulation and in support of the diffusion of technical infrastructure. What are the public policies set up at the different levels? Are they complementary, rival or contradictory?

- Are the usages of the ICT that emerge in the different level of the Indian society classical, and similar to what can be observed in other countries in the world? Or have there been original usages of the ICT invented in India? If yes, what are those special usages?

This set of proposals is not exhaustive. Other themes can be proposed if they suit to the general scope of ICT in India. The papers proposed to the evaluation will in French or English. They will follow the instructions that can be checked on the NETCOM website: http://recherche.univ-montp3.fr/mambo/netcom_labs/

The deadline for the submission is December 15th 2008. Papers have to be send directly to NETCOM: bernard.corminboeuf@ums-riate.fr