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Mobile-owning households in West Bengal enjoy a 51 percent economic prosperity premium compared to those without a mobile: Report

India Blooms News Service | 28 Oct 2015, 11:46 pm
Kolkata, Oct 28 (IBNS) A study published by Tata Teleservices Limited and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences reveals a clear correlation between mobile phone ownership and both economic and wider measures of social well being.

Called The Mobile Multiplier Study, it finds that households in West Bengal that own a mobile phone enjoy 51 percent higher level of economic prosperity compared to non-mobile-owning households in the state. This premium is even more pronounced with respect to urban communities in West Bengal where mobile phone-owning households are 95 percent better off in economic terms.

Nationally, Indian households that own a mobile device enjoy a 62 percent economic prosperity premium compared to those without a mobile.

Rural households in India that own a mobile phone appear to be enjoying a 50 percent economic consumption expenditure premium when compared to those who do not own a mobile whereas the incremental premium in urban India stands at 85 percent.

The correlation between mobile phone ownership and prosperity is not limited to purely economic measures. According to the research – which aggregated India’s largest census data covering nearly 100,000 responses – states with higher rates of mobile device per household also tend to enjoy significantly higher levels of social wellbeing based on Human Development (HDI) indices[2], a composite measure of life expectancy, educational attainment, and per capita income, particularly within India’s urban communities.

According to Professor Bino Paul, Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the research provides conclusive evidence of the clear correlation between mobile telephony and wellbeing across India. “In this respect, mobile telephony displays all the characteristics of a genuine public good; its use is associated with economic prosperity (higher consumption) as well as higher life expectancy, literacy levels, educational attainment and overall living standards as captured through HDI; particularly within an urban context,” he opined.

Literacy, an important indicator of societal development, also shares a relationship with mobile ownership, the study said. While the proportion of not-literate households that own a mobile in West Bengal is 28.7 percent, the ownership shoots up to 92.9 percent and 99.7 percent among the graduate and post graduate households, respectively.

Nationally it is observed that mobile ownership touches 80 percent on an average once a household attains secondary education indicating a correlation between mobile ownership and HDI. It can also be observed that mobile ownership increases by 10 percentage points once a household becomes just literate i.e. the head of the family can read and write but as not attended any formal schooling. Furthermore, the probability of owning a mobile is more than 1.5 times in case of a post graduate household compared to a household that is not-literate. On the other hand, the proportion of rural not-literate households owning a mobile is 40 percent whereas it is 20 percent higher in urban not-literate households. The rural-urban divide in terms of mobile ownership narrows down as educational attainment improves amongst Indian households.

“Over the years, it has become evident that the power of mobiles is leapfrogging with the progression of technology and communication. It is thus even more crucial to continue with critical interventions at grassroots level – transcending poverty, race and economics to impact lives of people across the nation. The second wave of mobile revolution in India has already begun, however, it will reach its full potential only if access can be extended even further and deeper. Wider appreciation of the social impact of mobile devices in the country will also galvanize a larger set of content and service providers and fuel a true revolution. These factors once synchronized, will lead to a much greater impact on our society and country for a truly empowered and enabled citizenry,” said Elango Thambiah, President - Mobility, Tata Teleservices Limited.

Mobile-owning households in West Bengal enjoy a 51 percent economic prosperity premium compared to those without a mobile: Report

India Blooms News Service
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