Mobile phones, unlike any other technology, have penetrated and affected the lives of ordinary Indians in a very short time. Supported by aggressive pricing plans the number of mobile phone users in India has increased exponentially in the last few years. This development has fundamentally changed the way many of us interact with the world around us. Aiding this growth are handset manufacturers that have reduced the cost of owning a mobile phone to a level within the reach of the common man. Many parts of rural India now enjoy widespread access to mobile phone connections, often at least one connection per extended family.
This near ubiquity of access to mobile phones may be just the platform needed to enable access to essential services and reduce the information asymmetry that impedes development and progress in many parts of the country.
In this technology note we identify applications of mobile technology to address the many challenges realized by the IFMR Trust in their effort to create and service efficient rural markets.
These challenges include the need for creating last mile access to financial services; Creating sector specific information services to provide real-time information, and basic mobile order management systems to facilitate efficient business transactions.
We invite readers to share their thoughts on the needs of rural markets and the perceived challenges in servicing those needs.