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Multipurpose nature of telecentres: the case of e-governance service delivery in Akshaya telecentres project

Kiran, Gopakumar Rajakshmi (2014) Multipurpose nature of telecentres: the case of e-governance service delivery in Akshaya telecentres project. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Multipurpose telecentres are considered as a phenomenon in international development efforts and have been an integral part of e-governance strategies of most developing countries. Their significance arises from the ascribed multipurpose nature and their potential to act as outreach posts for a range of services to rural households. The notion of multipurpose nature is taken for granted and there is very little evidence of the realisation of the expectations. The research commences by reviewing the underlying governance reforms and e-governance agendas. Further discussions highlight how the vast complexities associated with different services are trivialised in the light of the powerful arguments of New Public Management, good governance, managerial notion of integrated services delivery and technologically determinitic position on telecentres. The theoretical lens of the study is built by drawing on key concepts from intitutionalism, bureaucracy, and functional simplification and closure. The analytical capabilities and methodological apparatus of actor-network theory are also employed for the study. The research conceptualises services as heterogeneous actor-networks that include institutional actors. The role of institutions is considered, particularly that of bureaucracy by reflecting on its social foundations, organisational configurations and diversity taks. Using the concept of functional simplification and closure, the research highlights the need for human intermediation in providing services and thereby questions the simplistic notion of the multipurpose nature of telecentres. The research also highlights the institutional implications such as trust on intermediation. The arguments are made using an interpretive case study of e-governance services delivered through Akshaya telecentres in Malappuram district, Kerala, India. Case studies on two other specialised e-governance projects (offering specific sets of services) from Kerala were also undertaken to get insights on the phenomenon. The findings recommend the adoption of a multimode approach to service delivery. The research indicates that ICT interventions are more directly helpful to domain intermediaries than to rural households. The study also critically discusses the governance implications associated with outsourcing of goverment services through telecentres.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Kiran Gopakumar Rajalekshmi
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Madon, Shirin

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