68th IFLA Council and General Conference August 18-24, 2002
Often funding agencies and donor governments face the question should they support ICT activities in their development projects. Should the money be invested in computers and communication devices or will it be better spent on food, shelter, health, and education? The choice need not be ‘either or’. If used intelligently and innovatively, ICTs can form an integral component of development projects, as is shown by the award-winning Information Village project of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. The important point to remember is that one does not have to use technology because it is there, but one uses it if there is a genuine advantage. In any development programme, people and their contexts should decide how one goes about implementing development interventions. The needs of the people and the best means to satisfy them should determine the whole programme. Often ICT-based development projects do not bring in the expected results because of undue emphasis placed on technology. Against this background, the factors that led to the success of the Pondicherry experience are analysed.