Connecting India – The Mobile Series

We have been asked often, what we missed the most during our stint with poverty. Besides a healthy diet, the answer is clear: “you can maybe survive, but not live a life of aspirations”. What do aspirations mean? To us, they mean having access to knowledge and information, healthcare access and awareness, and communication and mobility. Basically tools that can help us remain healthy, enhance our awareness and skills and give us the freedom to follow our dreams and preserve our rights. Tools that remain out of bounds at Rs. 32 a day.

Until now, the government has tried to assist in these avenues for the poor who cannot hope to pay for these services by creating large-scale infrastructural interventions. However, in the last few years, if not months, a silent revolution has taken place in India – one that of universal mobile access. With 900 million subscribers, feature-phones under Rs. 1000, call costs at 1 paise/second and 95%+ cellular coverage, people have access to a unique portal that can act as a gateway for many of these “aspirational services” and can help create a more accountable, efficient governance and a more inclusive democracy. However, this not happen on its own, as we have clearly witnessed the inability to pay for anything but the most essential calls at Rs. 32 a day. “Connecting India – The Mobile Series” posts are about what intervention can be made to get the country connected efficiently and meaningfully and utilize the incredible potential of mobiles towards enhancing our country’s Human Development Index.

This 3 part series is being co-authored by Tushar Vashisht and his friend Kunal Bajaj. Kunal is currently Partner and Director India of Analysys Mason, a leading global Telecom consulting firm. Amongst his various roles before, he worked as a consultant at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), where he lead TRAI’s effort in driving internet usage and broadband penetration, authoring TRAI’s recommendations in the paper “Broadband India”. More details on him can be found here.

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3 Comments to “Connecting India – The Mobile Series”

  1. So if the aspirational living aspect is that of having access to knowledge, information, healthcare, communication and mobility rather than subsidizing x or y or providing access to x or y is it just better to provide a floor income.

    Say the government provides rp 500 every month to every indian subtract all government and top 50% of income tax payers. So lets call it 500 to 1,200,000,000 per month 6,000 cr per month. Which would be pretty manageable since last year rev was 1,100,000 cr. All deposited directly in to your Aadhaar account.

    Then scrap a lot of the other program subsidies…

  2. Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book-marked it for later!

  3. Very good article. I definitely love this site. Thanks!

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