Sunday, May 30, 2010

The sarpanch has an idea

This week, I enjoyed reading this short article from Economist - "The sarpanch has an idea".  Liked the article and left a comment on the site - though in hindsight I feel I should have modified it a bit ().  

The IDEA ads are good - I will say that I like some of their ads.  In a sense, we can also call them innovative.  But I am not sure if everyone would like the IDEA ads. The only difference is that it is using social issues to sell its offerings.
The large scale growth in use of mobile phones have helped the lower strata of the society. There are studies which explain the economic benefits that have arisen out of the use of mobile phones. There is an interesting research article titled "Mobile Phones and Economic Development: Evidence From the Fishing Industry in India" (By Reuben Abraham, Director, ISB School of Business).

Whether it is 545 million cell phones or somewhat lesser number of people having more than 1 SIM card etc the fact is that it has grown to a large number and by removing information asymmetry it has improved the economic situation for the fishing community. To that extent, it has contributed positively. 

More importantly, in a country like India with a significant illiterate population which cannot read and write, mobile phones help in breaking barriers - as everyone can "speak". Thus, it aids in the communication process and helps the lower strata in their livelihood issues.