India is seeing a proliferation of expanded infrastructure, access to the Internet and the push towards e-governance / e-commerce even in the remotest areas of the country. Prior research has largely focused on the role played by physical infrastructure in enhancing the information capacity of citizens and thereby bridging the digital divide. However, the role of investments in social infrastructure / human capital development in bridging the digital divide is less investigated.
While there are numerous pockets of small-scale initiatives that invest in ICT-enabled education, there is limited evidence in the effectiveness of such interventions or significant policy imperative, given the magnitude of the digital divide in India.
In partnership with Government of India, CSC e-Governance Services and their skill-development arm CSC Academy, SRITNE aims to leverage the large-scale 2,50,000 plus Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) network across India for imparting two key training programmes focusing on: Digital Literacy & Entrepreneurial Literacy.
As part of the study, the researchers will rigorously assess the effects of these two large-scale and distinct training interventions on citizen demographics (age, gender, education, location, occupation, income, etc.) and evaluate the tangible and intangible costs and benefits.
The study used performance data, surveys, and qualitative interviews to assess the impact as manifest in the financial viability and social impact of CSCs. Our results emphasise three significant findings:
We find that entrepreneurial traits, notably, achievement motivation, social orientation and belief in self significantly impact the performance of the VLE. Furthermore, we show that the intrinsic traits also determine these strategies chosen by the VLEs to drive the CSC operations and consequently the impact on the local communities.
The entrepreneur’s perception of her environment influences her achievement motivation and social orientation. These perceptions also systematically vary across states.