India's tryst with the digital is an extensive project and while much media attention is given to flagship projects, the story is also of marginalized peoples, in cities, appropriating digital leaks, using the digital and thereby contributing to the digital economy. It is this battle between enclosing the digital and extending access to it that makes the story of the digital in India an exciting one.
Digital India is a case study-based, critical introduction to the theory and practice of the digital in social change. The volume—with its chapters on telecommunications, software, mobile telephony, e-governance, ICT4D, software patenting, public sector software and cultural piracy—offers an entry point into an understanding of the contested nature of the digital in India via an analysis of theory and practice.
Chapter 2: The Software Industry in India
The two chapters in this section—on telecommunications and universal service obligations and the ICT for development—deal with state investments in public ICT services, explore issues around access and offer a critical perspective on the ‘dominant’ ICT for development projects that, for the most part, have not factored the role played by the ‘context’ in extending, although more often than not, limiting access. Government 1.0 is patriarchal and top-down in its style, as is clearly the case with its investments in ICT4D. And yet, these are extensive projects, supported by the only entity in India that has the capacity to include and service India's many forgotten people.[Page 64]