Information Technology in Social Development: The Reality Bites

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Development in society is a continuous phenomenon, triggered by technological innovations, human values and a synergistic association of the duo. Such an association inevitably creates ripples of enhancement in productivity, solidarity and security of a society leading to developments in many a dimension of the social entity. The Paper attempts to locate the association of information technology in social enhancement. The paper then explores in phases the Indian development scenario in the backdrop of information technology. It highlights the elements of technology and human values work in the socio-economic periphery.

Development is the process of continuously enhancing the capacity of society to respond to opportunities and challenges by increasing its level of organization. The process of social development occurs by increasing the scope and complexity of the organization and the interactions between and amongst the societal values, beliefs and institutions. The movement involves a simultaneous development of the social fabric in quantitative terms of size and carrying capacity of social activities; in qualitative terms of enhancing the productivity; in geographical terms covering a wide segment of the population. The physical application of mind for scientific discovery and technological invention and the social application of mind for organizational innovation have been powerful forces for social development over the past few centuries. The 20th century has been heralded as the century of the common man. Never before has the society been accorded with such value and consideration for the poorest and lowliest of its citizens. The granting of universal suffrage and acceptance of the goal of universal education are unprecedented steps.

Science and technology are expected to play a vitally important role in ensuring national security and social stability. The past demonstrated a different picture while technological progress made only a minor contribution to the growth of national income now its time that this should be changed; the technological gap with developed countries should be reduced. The entire realm of human activity depends on the power of information. It cannot therefore be denied that the changes we are living through can be attributed to Information Technology or IT. Today, the entire planet is encircled by computer networks at the heart of information systems and communication processes. Technology in areas of public health such as disease control, medicine and medical electronics drives lives. Technology has been a custodian of the environment for better dwelling conditions on the one hand, and for increased productivity of the land on the other. Development of information technology as is directly related to daily living will increase social benefits and this in turn will help reduce urbanization. The preference for urban living will disappear with the development of an information system on a nationwide scale. Technology, however, does not solve social problems. Nor can it be termed as a factor for development. It is the organizational development that can be a factor for social development. One interesting observation of technology as a stimulus for development is that owing to information and communication technologies countries are able to modernize their production systems and increase their competitiveness faster than in the past. There are also instances of countries being unable to adapt to the new technological system thereby inviting a cumulative retardation. The discrepancy is because of the fact that to reap the ultimate benefits of information technology it is imperative that the society at large should be able to assimilate and process complex information. This depends primarily on the degree of acceptance of information by the population....
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