Mahesh Venkateswaran, Principal, Innovation & Engagement NSDC
Access to information and mobility continue to play a very critical role in both our professional and personal lives. Traditionally and even today, we continue to place tremendous emphasis on education and certificates. Apart from the societal status, education also provides upward mobility. Educated people continue to have access to a wider network of other educated persons, they have upward mobility because they can access opportunities anywhere, they continue to access information through different channels to be more relevant for tomorrow, have access to the internet thus connecting to the rest of the world and its markets instantly.
In short, they have the ability to participate and contribute effectively in the new knowledge and information age and they continue to enrich it with their participation.
More people are participating in all of it today due to cheaper mobile devices, affordable rates, and access to targeted information and relevant services. Mobile phones have disrupted the education barrier by democratizing information in ways that were never imagined. Mobile phones have combined multiple products into one. They are used as music players, as calculators, as information exchange devices, learning and entertainment devices, etc. They also provide access to the markets, social networks and many such areas that were only accessible to the traditional literates. Mobile phones are simply more Mobile phones have disrupted the education barrier by democratizing information in ways that were never imagined. affordable. While it would cost 500 rupees to get a calculator, 2000 rupees to get a music player, 10000 to get a television, all it takes today is to get a mobile phone and have access to all of it in your pocket. Expensive monthly EMIs have been replaced by pre-paid charge cards. A slightly expensive smart phone could offer you occupation or business related services that could make you more informed and competitive in the market. Mobile phones are empowering devices. A mobile phone is truly democratic as it does not distinguish the user by occupation, religion, region, caste or gender. Mobile phone usage has taken various forms. It may be quite simply dialing into an IVR every day to listen to free radio, receiving messages on health information, registering yourself for a job by giving a missed call, or selling your products with a few clicks.
Personally for me, the real power of the mobile is breaking systems and barriers faster than we would have with traditional approaches. It continues to create a level playing field, first step towards a fair and equitable society.