Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Digital India: How the Internet Changes the Subcontinent

The Indian government has launched several projects to promote the use of the Internet in rural areas since 1 July 2015, for example, the Digital India initiative aims to extend Internet coverage in rural areas. It plans to provide the Internet to 60 million households in 250,000 villages with access through applications developed specifically for rural areas in the hope that the benefits will benefit the entire population, regardless of gender, caste, socio-economic status or religion.

The success of the program depends in part on government policies in developing infrastructure and content, but also on how citizens perceive the impact of these applications in their lives. The Indian government has made the Internet a vehicle for the modernization of the country, especially in rural areas. If the connection of tens of millions of homes is good news, what is the real impact? One way to measure it is to question the uses, and to ask the new Internet users what they think.

The Internet has greatly influenced the mechanisms of socialization, exploitation of economic opportunities as well as access to sources of knowledge. However, it is more difficult to determine what aspects of socialization, economic benefits and knowledge contribute to the perceived impact of the Internet on users.

For the citizens of developing countries, the impact will be lesser in contrast to developed countries. Lower Internet penetration rates and levels of institutional infrastructure development such as schools, libraries (sources of knowledge), hospitals, emergency services, are all factors contributing to this state fact. In developing countries, a similar logic explains the perceived impact differential between urban and rural areas.

Given the rural context in developing countries, we wanted to understand how individuals perceive the impact of the Internet on their socialization, economic opportunities and access to sources of knowledge. Let's be a little more specific: by socialization we mean the ability to create social connections, information and other resources from people who are part of the network, to improve working conditions and living Social status, happiness or self-esteem.

The economic opportunities include anything that stimulates productivity and innovation, the recomposition of the value chain, access to services and public information, time savings transport, timely access to health and education services, Increased sales and access to new methods to increase revenue (increase scope and scale of business, expand customer/supplier base, expand product portfolios, create Employment opportunities). For sources of knowledge, we mean the ability to seek knowledge and to combine it with other knowledge available.

In particular, rural areas lack educational, communication and transport infrastructure. Employment opportunities are limited and information about job opportunities in other locations is difficult to access. During epidemics or floods, it is difficult to contact other organizations to seek help. Even trade operates at a fairly primary level. As a result, some aspects of the Internet that are valued by city dwellers are not useful to rural populations, and vice versa.

The effect of the emancipation of the perceived impact is important and positive. For a rural Internet user, the greatest impact of the Internet is emancipation. This shows that the ability of the Internet to compensate for the lack of physical and institutional infrastructure in rural areas is very important for rural residents. Elements related to emancipation relate to transport and information infrastructure, emergency services and the ability to maintain social ties. For these users, the perceived impact was significant because of the Internet's ability to overcome the vulnerabilities of these dimensions.

The effect of the increased scope of activities on the perceived impact is large and negative. Therefore, with equal values for the other independent variables, if the value of the increase in the scope of activities is increased then the value of the perceived impact is likely to decrease. This result is counterintuitive. However, it could be explained by an understanding of the theory behind the formation of satisfaction.

For this, we use the theory of invalidation that the perceived satisfaction of using the Internet is determined mainly by the gap between norms, desires or expectations, as well as perceived performance. Negative negations occur when perceived performance, especially for Internet-based services, is considered insufficient in relation to expectations or wishes.

Digital India images

In the context of our study, the above values ​indicate that Internet users had high levels of expectation or desire in relation to the scaling-up dimension in Internet usage. The results of this dimension were below their desires and expectations, which led to a negative perception. This discrepancy may be due to the novelty factor and the changing nature of the scope of services available on the Internet, leading to dynamic satisfaction factors. Such changes could lead to users with lower self-efficacy and higher negative denials.

An alternative explanation of the gap would be that respondents do not receive sufficient support to increase the scope of their profession because there is not sufficient or relevant content for rural residents. In addition, the lack of local language content, low presence of local Internet sites, poor connection quality and poor Internet penetration have resulted in relatively low levels of perceived performance.

Therefore, expectations and wishes could lead to negative denial, which would explain the negative sign on this dimension. On the other hand, the increase in the scope of activities is significant in terms of perceived impact.

Adoption studies of the Internet indicate that users first use the Internet as part of a social use. When they feel comfortable with several of the Internet users and see the benefits of online transactions, they begin to adopt them. Online transactions in e-commerce are a relatively new phenomenon in India and many people in rural areas do not have access to e-commerce either because they do not have online banking services or because That these services do not cover all rural areas, or because they do not trust online transactions.

The overall Internet impact on a community is a complex phenomenon. Often the effect of a certain type of service on the overall impact of the Internet runs counter to common sense. Developers of an Internet service portfolio would do well to assess in advance which applications are likely to contribute the most to the targeted user community. What works for one user group may not work for another. The introduction of an Internet infrastructure without a good selection of services would only waste resources.
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