Mobile phone service made India more democratic: Robert Jeffrey

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 1 2014, 03:47am hrs
Mobile phoneMobile phones have further strengthened the democracy in India, says Robert Jeffrey. Reuters
Mobile phones have further strengthened the democracy in India, says Robert Jeffrey, the co-author of 'Cell Phone Nation', a book on social impact of mobile telephony in India.

"Until about 10 years ago, phones in India were meant for important people with important work to do. Not for the 'aam aadmi' or 'aam aurat'. Affordable mobile phones have ... conditions faster, more efficient and I think for India more democratic," Jeffrey, who is Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies visiting professor, told reporters here.

He is in India for his lecture on importance of mobile phones for a country, supported by industry body Cellular Operators Association of India.

He considers 2007 assembly elections as the first poll where mobile technology played a key role.

"Mayawati's party connected with their cadres through mobile phones who in turn easily contacted voters. So, mobile telephony played important role in that election which saw very low turnout of voters," Jeffrey said.

India at present has over 903 million mobile subscribers out of which about 780 million were active in February.

Jeffrey said mobile phone service has bought fisher folk, boatmen, capitalist in metros, power yielding politicians and bureaucrats on same platform which has further strengthened democracy.