ICT in a Developing Country Context: An Indian Case Study

2001 Occasional Paper
By Chandrasekhar, C.P.

India’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector is seen as epitomising the opportunity that globalisation offers a low-income developing country. The success of Indian techno-entrepreneurs in the US and the rapid growth of the Indian software and IT-enabled services industries, especially its export segment, have buoyed expectations of the potential for growth and human development that ICT holds out. If India-trained hardware and software technologists can dominate the industry in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the US and if entrepreneurs of Indian origin can play a leading role in the new wealth being created in the new economy there, the argument goes, it should be possible for India to harness these skills to earn foreign revenues, spur domestic growth and ensure substantial welfare gains. Implicit in such reasoning are judgements about the potential that ICT holds out, about the ability of a developing country like India to exploit that potential and about the possibilities of overcoming any constraints to the realisation of that potential. One of the objectives of this study is to examine the basis for each of these sets of judgements.