T. H. Chowdary
There has been a spectacular rise of Information Technology (IT) and software professionals and businesses in India in the decade 1994-2004. What came to be known as Y2K problem, primarily in the developed countries gave the opportunity to tens of thousands of Indian software business and professionals to enter international markets. The state Governments of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh emerged as home for hundreds of fastest growing ICT and software companies providing tens of thousands of well-paid jobs. In 1998, the new Government that took office in Delhi saw the potential of IT and software for India to emerge as a leading exporter of services. The Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh evangelised ICTs and education as the engine for economic development and good governance. A Vision document was prepared which among others envisaged e-governance of the State and building up of the hard and soft infrastructures for exploitation of ICTs across the economy (industry, business, education, health, Government, welfare,……). While the educated and the enterprising were enthused and getting benefitted, the voting masses used to promises of poverty-eradication, and subsidies for food, housing, electricity, education, etc., saw ICTs as beneficial only to the rich and as neglective of the poor. The benefits of the e-governance have not become ubiquitous to affect the common man’s life, especially rent-seeking by Government servants. The opposition political parties were able to make the voting masses believe that the promotion of ICTs and e-governance etc., were the reason for the neglect of agriculture and hence the rural people, especially the poor. This paper describes and discusses envisionment, implementation, experience and people’s perception and lessons from all these.