- National and ICT Development
- Rural Development in the Present Context
- Changes and Challenges for Rural Development and Government Policy
- ICT Policy of the Ministry
- MID as an ICT Catalyst for Rural Development
New dimension of the rural development must take into account the changes that occur to the rural scene as it involves changes to the variables and to the rural environment. In many cases, variables and rural environmental shows low level of achievement than the urban area. The ever widening gap between urban and rural areas in terms of income, skills, educational attainment, literacy, computer literacy, and so forth are something to be worried about. If it is not handled effectively, this widening gap may give implications to the political, social and economic stability.
To address this issue, the government has set several objectives to be achieved in the context of rural development, especially to produce a prosperous, poverty free, IT literate, competitive, knowledgeable and multi-skilled society.
Several strategies to achieve these objectives have been translated into several programmes / projects pillars: First Pillar: Basic Infrastructure Development, Second Pillar: Eradicating Hardcore Poverty, Third Pillar: Human Capital Development, the fourth pillar: Area Development and Fifth Pillar: linked with the today’s event which is: The Development of Information Technology and the Sixth Pillar: Rural Industrial Development.
To ensure that rural communities could gain benefits from the development of the information technology, a few strategies have been outlined, including ICT related training skills development programme, improve and enrich the content and integrate all ICT programmes carried out by ministries and departments / agencies.
The digital divide between urban and rural areas is still too wide, although attempts have been made by the government to develop information technology since the 1990s. This digital divide can be seen on a large number of computer ownership is owned by the urban community, which is 88.8 percent compared to rural areas, which is 11.2 percent. Similarly, in terms of the Internet use, only a little was penetrated by the rural residents which are 6.7 percent compared with 93.3 percent of the urban community.
In this context, the government realised that although the expenses for providing ICT services in rural areas is not profitable, but in terms of social responsibility, it is prudent that ICT services in rural areas are given appropriate attention so that the rural community digital divide is not far behind the people in the city.