Assessing the Impact of Education, Health and Road Network Infrastructure on Information and Communication Technology Penetration in Rural West Bengal

Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Assessing the
Impact of Education,
Health and Road
Network Infrastructure
on Information and
Technology Penetration in
Rural West Bengal
Sandip Satpati1 and Kaushal Kumar Sharma1
This study examines the impact of infrastructure, more specifically education,
health, and road network infrastructure, on information and communication
technology (ICT) penetration in the districts of West Bengal. Besides, the study
also investigates the spatial distribution of infrastructure and ICT in the dis-
tricts of West Bengal. The whole research is based on primary and secondary
data. Data have been collected from the District Census and District Statistical
Handbooks. The principal component analysis and correlation coefficient tech-
niques are used to assess the impact. The study reveals that the degree of
correlation between infrastructure and ICT variables is medium to high, except
in some cases. As the Infrastructure Index increases, the ICT index also tends to
increase. It is found that a moderate positive relationship (r = 0.503) was found
between the infrastructure index and the ICT index. Significant policy regarding
basic infrastructure services is of utmost necessity for ICT diffusion within the
study region.
Education, health, road network, information and communication technology,
basic infrastructure
Indian Journal of Public
68(4) 640–656, 2022
© 2022 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561221097942
1 Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), School of Social Sciences (SSS), Jawaharlal
Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Sandip Satpati, Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), School of Social Sciences
(SSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi 110067, India.
Satpati and Sharma 641
It is a continuing challenge to reach essential infrastructure services like educa-
tion, health, and road network in every village of any region in India. Transport
infrastructure and connectivity to rural areas can offer a crucial impetus to the
country’s economic development. Rural infrastructure guarantees access to the
necessary resources and opportunities and facilitates sustainable poverty reduc-
tion initiatives and job creation through industrialisation in rural areas (Samanta,
2015). Availability of basic rural infrastructure has a positive and significant cor-
relation with rural economic development and a strong negative relationship with
the incidence of poverty. Investment in rural infrastructure must be increased to
generate new jobs, create new work opportunities, and enhance the consumption
of capital. Both of these ultimately cause an increase in the quality of living and a
decrease in the poverty of the rural poor. In the present time, without information
and communication technology (ICT), we cannot imagine economic growth and
government service delivery provision to the rural poor. At the household level,
rural infrastructure development contributes to higher productivity and demand
for labour. It is estimated that 15% of crop production is wasted between the farm
level and the consumer due to bad roads and insufficient storage facilities,
adversely affecting farmers’ incomes (World Bank, 1997).
West Bengal has many bottlenecks in rural infrastructure and ICT that need to
be resolved instantly, such as the disparity in access to technology and infrastruc-
ture in rural and urban areas. Very few people living in rural areas have access to
the Internet, but it has grown over the last few years. ICT infrastructures are very
limited, expensive, and not even extensive. On the other end, thankfully, many
schools, particularly private ones in urban areas, are equipped with computers.
Economic growth in urban areas is very rapid, but it is rising very slowly in rural
areas. Various opportunities for access to knowledge through ICT in urban and
rural regions cause a broader digital divide. While many people in urban areas
are now using ICT for many activities, people in rural areas are less familiar with
computers. Connection to ICT services must provide attention to the most impov-
erished area left behind by a digital divide. Most areas of West Bengal, such as the
North and the South-Western part, are covered by a low degree of infrastructural
development. In this parts of the country, it is a challenge for the government
to provide infrastructure and other ICT facilities. The construction of education,
health, and road networks in villages leading to an increase in ICT penetration
by more and more people in rural areas, can be served at minimal costs and time.
That is why this research was conducted to understand the impact of the present
infrastructure on ICT penetration in rural West Bengal.
Review of Literature
Various researchers have identified good relationships between rural infrastruc-
ture and economic development (Ajakaiye & Ncube, 2010); rural roads provide
valuable links that promote adequate access to and use of a variety of critical

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