ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Beyond a Technological Understanding of Technology

Technology strategies routinely overlook the marginalised, who demonstrate complicated, non-linear, and unpredictable technological experiences in addition to intangible technological inequalities. Only if we improve our political and sociological understanding of technology can we steer it to work towards genuine modernity and well-being.

Thanks are due to Narendar Pani and the Inequality and Human Development (IHD) Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), to the participants of the ISID-CII Policy Roundtable on Harnessing Industry 4.0 for India’s Development (2021), and to Neethi.

This article brings up a few broad concerns around technology and society, and importantly, inequa­lity in the context of the future of work. Governments all over the world, for long, have avowed a “technology-centred” dev­elopment trajectory, an inclination that has been adopted for several decades now by especially developing countries in East and South Asia and Latin America. In India, technological progress has been the undercurrent of the five-year plans, and has taken spotlight especially after the industrial reforms of 1991.

Today, digital technology ecosystems can be seen at the heart of development strategies in India, through the digitalisation of governance and economy, and in a cheerful preparation for “Industry 4.0—the fourth industrial revolution.” To ope­rationalise this vision, the digital India mission was launched in 2015, which has begotten a progeny of hundreds of government apps to be accessed, preferably from portable communication devices such as mobile phones. Program­mes—National Digital Literacy Mission, the Jan Dhan–Aadhaar–mobile trinity (JAM), Prime Minister Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDisha, allegedly the world’s largest digital literacy programme),1 Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, e-Kranti, COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWin), e-Skill India, E-Shram, and so on—have been linked to strategies aro­und education, smart cities, public health, labour, welfare, and digital payment sys­tems. Indeed, experience has shown that technological advancement and penetration of digital technologies do embol­den development experiences, append skills, and open access to new resources, networks, and livelihood options.

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Updated On : 19th Nov, 2022
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