Information Technology Issues in developing countries

Efforts by developing countries to come up with local Information Technology (IT) solutions to counteract the challenges they face are well documented in the newsletter entitled, “Information Technology in Developing Countries”. In its February 2012 issue, this newsletter presents four case studies in India where local information systems solutions are applied to current challenges. Tele-centres are being widely used in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where they stand as a kiosk offering under one roof the following services , mobile telephones, mobile recharge machines, computing services and internet. These most often serve as the gateway to the world by local communities. Dr  V. Sornamohan , in the 1st article compares 2 existing models; Common Services Centres (CSC) and Community Multi-Media Centres (CMS) and discovers serious flaws in these 2 models in providing an efficient service. As a result , Social Enterprise and Livelihoods Framework (SELF) Tele-centre model is proposed with a potential to deliver additional social services such as education, health, finance, governance, livelihoods and transport.

Why do most information systems designed fail? Silvia Masiero contends that the main reason for failure is that designers overlook the environment in which the systems are intended to operate – this is termed design-intentionality gaps. Therefore, systems designed lack capacity of an information system to meet a stakeholder group's expectations. To remedy this, a prototype was designed and implemented to a food security programme which distributes primary necessity goods (such as rice, wheat , sugar , etc) to poor households, using a Ration Card Management System (RCMS). A three pronged solution is provided as a way to curb expectation failure with specific attention to – ‘intentionality’, design issues and the depth of the gap.

Most IT projects in developing world fail to take of due to fund constraints, in a paper entitled “Need of the hour Pan India e-mechanism to give access to Bharat : Nirman and Flagship services at the citizen’s doorstep” proposes the concept of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) model where the private sector and governments combine resources in creating e-Government service as a vehicle to e-services. The case study of Nirman and Flagship services as a potential for collaboration is reviewed.

In order to improve service delivery in the public sector a project called SWABHIMAN – a call centre scheme aimed to mitigate city skilled labour shortage in the city of Kerala , by Dr. C. Krishnan is outlined. SWABHIMAN aims to link skilled labour and household requests for those skills through an integrated service provider (SWABHIMAN) whose task is to link requests to registered skilled labour via i) the website (www.swabhiman.gov.in) ii)SMS iii) telephone. A minimal charge is levied against each transaction to sustain the SWABHIMAN project. The project is gaining popularity as of December 2011 , 15000 calls had been handled with an average of 50 calls per day for registered users. A recent evaluation has reported a higher satisfaction of the project by skilled labour and those requesting the service.

For full articles see http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/ifip/feb2012.htm


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