Right technology + right time = successful implementation
It has been proven through a report by the World Bank that the use of ICT has taken 10 percent of the people away from poverty in the past 10-15 years. In the Indian scenario, the success has been in silos; for example in MNREGS or the mother and child tracking system (MCTS). The use of ICT in these programmes has not been successful everywhere. The requirement today is to use ICT in the correct way.
ICT is just a facilitation tool in the implementation of programmes of social welfare. ICT cannot help until we use the right technology at the right time.
We should know what people want before designing our services. Why can’t we have a paradigm shift here? I will give an example. In a hospital in Chennai, doctors treat diabetic patients through a mix of telemedicine and conventional practices. Junior doctors go to the city and collect the medical data of the people and submit the data to the doctors in the hospital with the aid of telemedicine. This way the people did not have to go to the hospital to avail medical services. Instead they got it at their doorstep.
Till that kind of paradigm shift happens, ICT will not realise its full potential. We need to put in mechanisms to adopt the changing technology (in ICT) without any lag. ICT can only be an enabler; it is not just about the technical architecture but also about process architecture.
India is poised to take great leaps in the domain of social welfare. The technology is present; all we need is the will to connect it with the people.