Communications of the IIMA


Information and Communications technologies (ICTs) have played a major role in the development of societies. For the past several years, India has experimented with extending the reach of ICTs to rural areas with a view to bringing development to these areas. Several projects are currently underway. This paper examines the implementation of Village knowledge Centers in rural Southern India. We first describe the developmental disparity that exists between urban and rural areas in India, and justify the implementation of rural projects that extend ICTs to rural areas. We examine prior work, and then describe in detail the Village knowledge Center Project, conceived, developed and implemented by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) located in Chennai, India. We describe our field visits and observations, and conclude with an analysis of the role and benefits of such projects, unresolved questions and issues, and possible directions for future work in this area.