Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaSustainability at the Speed of Light
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
Sustainability at the Speed of Light Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Nischal, Nepal Mar 27, 2005
Technology   Opinions


The goal of sustainable development is to create the healthy communities that can sustain our generation and future generations.

In the case of developing countries like Nepal, where most development is yet to be achieved, the concept of sustainable development must be at the top of the priority list.
In rural areas, a variety of goods and services are traded. Poor small landholders are often at the mercy of unscrupulous traders who are able to exploit their limited capabilities for price discovery. There is a constant need for access to specialized forms of expertise and knowledge in education, medicine and agriculture because they are not available in the immediate vicinity. This means that the marginal benefits of a communications infrastructure in remote areas may often be many times greater than in urban areas. The concept of e-governance, which is gaining the attention of the government, will sound sensible if everybody, irrespective of where they live gets access to these amenities.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has emerged as the powerful tool to facilitate affordable solutions to economic development and empower individuals and business, if not the cure to all the world’s problems. ICTs cannot improve the quality of life but can facilitate access to improving the quality of life. ICTs cannot feed the poor but can enable wealth creation and expense reduction. ICTs cannot cure the sick but can provide a link to doctors and treatment. ICTs cannot save the environment but can help to monitor it.

The majority of ICT activities are taking place in cities, particularly in the capital Kathmandu. City-centric development may widen the differences of living standards of rural and urban populations. In the past, many assumed that rural telephony provision could only be assured if there was a constant stream of subsidies to support the extension of service provision. This would allow basic services to be made available. The requirement of ICTs in remote areas was considered too limited to justify widespread universal service provisions. The assumption that investment in ICT infrastructure in more remote areas is not justified is being increasingly challenged. If ICTs enable new forms of knowledge creation, then the needs of rural areas are likely to be equally important as urban areas.

ICTs can be seen as developing at the speed of light. The widening rate between rural and urban areas, in terms of socio-economics is also keeping up with ICTs. This asymmetrical development of ICTs can bring developing countries like Nepal into serious jeopardy of socio-imbalance, whose final product would be terrorism. This might not be the world we would want to leave for our successors.

ICTs should be accessible and affordable to each community or village for sustainable development. The installation of broadband (wireless) internet in each village can provide residents internet facilities within walking distance. The price should be subsidized to cost no more than two cups of tea. Scholars and university students should be encouraged to do their research and projects on the areas like speech recognition and synthesis of the Nepali language, which can make ICTs accessible even to illiterates. All of these efforts can certainly bring rural areas in the information highway. Moreover, it can be accomplished for less than two percent of the cost of constructing a black-topped highway.

It appears that the extreme lack of services in remote and rural areas is less a result of technical and economic factors than of other political and institutional factors. All we need is a vision and the mechanisms to implement this vision. The threat of socio-imbalance can be avoided at least from an ICT point of view, and we would be able to hand over a prosperous and sustained Nepal to our descendants.



You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile

Name: Nischal Dahal
Profession: Computer Professional.

I have a strong desire to use the ICT in the development of countries. These countries have tremendous potentials but are in hand of those people who are not aware of the power of technology to accelerate their country like a rocket in the path of development. I believe if technology is used in right way the poverty can be easily be eliminated.

I am a strongly against reservation of seats of backward communities in higher education because i believe the schooling must be free to those people and the government should make sure that everybody gets basic education. Then everybody should have right to compete for higher education. If the higher education is taken as granted then the a handful of people will enjoy the benefit and grass root level remains in same level
You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.