South Asian Voice at Davos
     on Globalisation
     on Technology

Honoured at Davos 2001
     Anant Singh
     Iqbal Quadir

Technology   Feature     

Reinventing India

Role of Internet In South Asian Development
Successful case studies
    What the Gurus say
    - Vinod Khosla
    - Gururaj Deshpande

Technology - a weapon to fight poverty.
South Asian success     stories
   - Bangladesh  
     Village Phone
     Village E-Mail
     Village Internet
   - Madhya Pradesh State
   - TARAhaat.com
   - Several more

Cultural feature
Sadhus - Holy Men of India
- Their Beliefs
- Their Sects



Sundown Madness at Wagah Border


Heritage & Travel

Rajasthan's Forest Forts


Three Brothers & A Violin 


Editor's Note



Silk Road on Wheels

South Asian Shop

Old Prints




the-south-asian.com                            February 2001

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 Page  3  of  3


The Role of Internet in South Asian Development


Salman Saeed


What  the Gurus say


Networks, Information Data Bases, E-Commerce; B2B, B2C, etc


Vinod Khosla – Partner, Kleiner Perkins & Caufield Byers, U.S.A.

Khosla, who studied at IIT, Delhi and Stanford University and made his mark in the Silicon valley as a co-founder of Sun MicroSystems in the 1980’s, has the following recommendations for Jump Starting countries like India, which have a lot of Human Capital into the new Networked Global Economy.

§ Create New Telecoms Infrastructure based on pragmatic cost-effective, radical approach.

§ 5 % of the right ["elite"] people empowered with the right tools will pull along the rest 95 % - just as it was done in the USA via the Silicon valley model.

§ This 5 % will NOT be the most Privileged, best Connected but the BEST USERS of this new technology.

§ Instead of connecting 50,000 Indian villages – make 5000 circles each a radius of 40 km.-this means each circle is 100 villages and has about 25,000 families or 100,000 people.

§ Using the railroad infrastructure, build 5000 communication centers and not 500,000 village centers.

§ Link these 5000 centers – this is economically viable.

§ This model allows decentralized working circles; on average people would travel a bicycle commute away [10 km- to – 20km. – to 40 km maximum]. No congestion pressure on cities.

§ This model results in 500 small greater suburban areas rather than 5 /10 cities of 15 to 30 million citizens.

§ Cost of each center is $ 1 million and the total is $ 1 billion.

§ Raising this $ 1 billion financing means raising a 12 % tax for an annual communications market of $ 8 billion a year.

§ Total time taken to transform India is 10 years.

§ Let Railways, Gas, Power, Irrigation Industries SHARE GENERIC COMMUNICATION NETWORKS/ CONDUITS. SHARE Communication towers – this is the static part.

§ The Dynamic part is the technology that will go into the infrastructure

§ Build no more PSTN networks [ordinary telephone infrastructure].

§ Instead build Voice – over IP networks.

§ Study the Model of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its Telecom project.

§ Replicate Grameen Bank Model in India.


Gururaj Deshpande – CEO Sycamore Networks, U.S.A.


Deshpande is the founder of Cascade systems, which was sold to Ascend, which was bought by Lucent for about $ 40 billion. Deshpande has recently started Sycamore Networks in the area of Optical Intelligent switching.

Deshpande has the following suggestions.

Hyper Capitalism or the new variety variously referred to as the Networked Economy, Knowledge Economy, Information Economy is transforming the United States economy. The basic core of this economy is the ability to connect customers faster.

Because of the advances in Network technology namely – Optical Switching, the speed of Transactions will further increase. The net result of all this will be the increasing trend towards economic Survival of the Fittest. Whichever country and Company can produce and offer goods at the best price will survive – the rest will be condemned to a digital divide and fall - much as the cities of the old Silk routes went into obscurity and never recovered their prosperity built on taxing the trade goods on the old routes. 

Large Banks have known the value of Data Networks and the benefits from this increase in the velocity of money/capital by building networks thereby tapping into various high growth areas such as the Middle East Oil countries.

The rule will soon become ‘Network your Information/Data using Optical Technologies or die economically’. This will be the new battle cry.

The implications of the new rules of this economic game are:

§ There will be little use of all the military hardware that is currently being stockpiled by the south Asian countries. Military strategies based on superior battle information will become decisive.

§ Countries will undergo sharp economic declines once they become non-competitive. Witness the bets that countries like Japan and Korea are placing by installing huge amounts of fiber –optic cable on land and sea to connect to other economic trade zones in Europe and USA.

§ In the information economy ideas that lead to the production of new technologies are the key to economic survival.


§ Education of the citizens suddenly becomes top priority for the south Asian countries.

§ Build Information Data Bases for each country resources and have them available in a networked economy.

§ Build Electronic Trade Exchanges for greater / convenient export transactions.




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