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A feasibility study on voice SMS campaigns

on government schemes such as PDS,


MNREGA, MDM, ICDS and Pensions.

MEGHA PARYANI

Under the guidance of
PROF. ANAND VENKATESH

August, 2013
Host Organisation
Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD)
An Initiative of S. M. Sehgal Foundation
Gurgaon

Institute of Affiliation
INSTITUTE OF RURAL MANAGEMENT ANAND
IRMA
ANAND 388001
GUJARAT


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Our internship at IRRAD was a part of the DIS segment in the IRMA curriculum where
students work with organizations on grass root projects. We are very grateful to IRMA for
providing us with this excellent opportunity to work with development sector organisations
and gain in depth understanding of the field realities.
We would also take this opportunity to express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude towards the
Policy, Governance and Advocacy (PGA) team at Institute of Rural Research and
Development (IRRAD). We started this project with a vague idea of what we had to do. With
the help of Vikas, Group leader PGA and Navneet, Program Leader PGA we worked on that
vague idea and it took the shape of this report. With their experience and in depth
understanding of the subject matter, not only did our knowledge base increase but it gave us a
whole new perspective to look at the project.
Devika Batra, Coordinator, External relations and process documentation, has been an
immense support system during our stint with the organization. She has been a friend, a
mentor and a motivator who ensured that we make the most out of our internship. We are
extremely grateful to her for accommodating us and making us feel a part of the IRRAD
family.
Had it not been for the extremely hardworking field staff, we would not have been in a
position to do justice with this report. They helped us with the data collection and toiled with
us in the sun to make sure our study does not go awry. Dedication and passion are the two
most important things that give people the impetus to work in a development sector
organisation, and the field staff with PGA centre had that in abundance.
Prof Anand Venkatesh, IRMA who is our faculty guide for the project provided us with
valuable insights and kept our spirits high with his contagious enthusiasm. His constant
guidance and excitement about the project motivated us to push ourselves and make most out
of our internship.
Also lastly we would like to thank Jane, CEO IRRAD and everyone at IRRAD who have
been very warm and accepting. They have helped us at different points in the study and their
support was indispensable.
Megha Paryani
Anant Tiwari


Contents
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 1
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY ........................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
LITERATURE REVIEW .............................................................................................................................. 6
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .................................................................................................................... 8
QUESTIONNAIRES ............................................................................................................................... 8
UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS ............................................................................................................ 8
FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS .............................................................................................................. 9
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY ............................................................................................................... 9
CHAPTER 1 ............................................................................................................................................ 11
ICT for governance ................................................................................................................................ 11
Voice sms campaign for GGN by PGA at IRRAD ................................................................................ 11
CHAPTER 2 ............................................................................................................................................ 12
ICT FOR MEWAT .................................................................................................................................... 12
CHAPTER 3 ............................................................................................................................................ 17
IMPLEMENTATION ................................................................................................................................ 18
Technical specifications and Features of the IVRS based information dissemination tool .............. 18
Identifying the target population and data fields ......................................................................... 18
Creating the audio file to be used for voice messages ................................................................. 19
Scheduling and sending voice messages ...................................................................................... 20
CHAPTER 4 ............................................................................................................................................ 22
LEGAL FEASIBILITY AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCES ......................................................................... 22
CHAPTER 5 ............................................................................................................................................ 24
FINANCIAL FEASABILITY AND COST ANALYSIS ...................................................................................... 24
CHAPTER 6 ............................................................................................................................................ 26
FINDINGS FROM THE FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS AND SCALABILITY ................................................ 26
CHAPTER 7 ............................................................................................................................................ 28
ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES .......................................................................................................... 28
CHAPTER 8 ............................................................................................................................................ 29
RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................................... 29
APPENDICES .......................................................................................................................................... 31
Appendix 1. Geographical map of Nuh block and block profile. ...................................................... 31
Appendix 2. Profile of the villages studied ....................................................................................... 32
Appendix 3. SPSS Variable template for recoding responses from the questionnaire. ................... 32


Appendix 4. Questionnaire Used for the Study ............................................................................... 33
Appendix 5. Invoice for the IVRS Pilot Project .................................................................................. 37
References ........................................................................................................................................ 39





















LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Spss frequency analysis for educational qualification
Table 2. Baseline survey statistics
Table 3. Spss frequency analysis of mobile owners
Table 4. Spss frequency analysis of female mobile owners
Table 5. Cost structure for a 2 month IVRS pilot program
Table 6. Cost structure for a two month training program
Table 7. Yearly cost of the IVRS program
Table 8. Yearly cost of the training program
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Pie chart representation of the frequency analysis of educational
qualification
Figure 2. Bar graph with percentage awareness about schemes.
Figure 3. Bar graph with percentage wise distribution of PDS efficacy indicators
Figure 4. Bar graph showing percentage of responses using a particular
information dissemination media
Figure 5. Snapshot of the database created on the IVRS tool
Figure 6. Snapshot of uploading audio file and sending multicast window
Figure 7. Pie chart showing the preference for call frequency
Figure 8. Pie chart showing preference for call time
Figure 9. Bar graph showing the call turnover
Figure 10. IVRS call infrastructure







LIST OF ACRONYMS

AAY Antyoday Anna Yojana
APL Above Poverty Line
BPL Below Poverty Line
CLT Community level Trainings
CTI Computer Telephone Intergration
DoT Department of Telecommunications
DND Do Not Disturb
FGD Focus group Discussions
GSM Global System for Mobile communications
GGN Good Governance Now
ICDS Integrated Child Development Services
ICT Information and Communications Technology
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
IP Internet Protocol
IRRAD Institute of Rural Research and Development
ISP Internet Service Provider
ITU International Telecommunication Union
IVRS Interactive Voice Response System
MDM Mid Day Meal
MGNREGA Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarentee Act
NGO Non Government Organisation
PC Personal Computer
PDS Public Distribution System
PGA Policy Governance and Advocacy
PLMN Public Land Mobile Network
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network
RTE Right to Education
RTI Right To Information
VAS Value Added Services
VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocol


1

INTRODUCTION
Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) is an initiative of S.M. Sehgal
foundation and is based Gurgaon, Haryana. The area of operation is Mewat district of
Haryana and now they are expanding to Alwar district in Rajasthan. The basic thrust of
IRRADs operation is in the area of natural resource management, Income enhancement,
education, health and sanitation, capacity building and rural governance. For this it has four
centres which have experts in the respective field to implement programs in each of these
domains. These four centres are-
1. Policy, Governance and Advocacy Centre (PGA)
2. Capacity Building Centre (CBC)
3. Natural Resource Management Centre (NRM)
4. Rural Research Centre (RRC)
Apart from these four Centres, the organisation also has a Communications wing and a
Resource Mobilisation wing. IRRAD also conducts rural research as a premier knowledge
institute for rural development and poverty reduction in India.
The picture below shows the geographical map of the district of Mewat. It is flanked by
Gurgaon on its north, Faridabad and Palwal districts in the east and Rewari district in the
west. Mewat was carved out of Gurgaon and Faridabad districts and was declared as the 20
th

district of Haryana on 4
th
April, 2005. It is populated predominantly by Meo Muslims, a
community which has its own distinct and peculiar identity, different from Muslims around
the world. The principle occupation if the people is agriculture. The population is 1089406
with a sex ratio of 930. The literacy figures are quite disturbing. While the state literacy level
is 76.64%, the literacy level in Mewat is a meagre 56.10%
1

The Policy, Governance and Advocacy centre (PGA) identified through its research in the
district of Mewat that there are serious issues of lack of governance which crop up in the
form of corruption, lack of transparency and almost no accountability. The PGA centre
through its research has established that the benefits of the schemes like PDS, MDM, ICDS
etc have failed to reach the people in the district. To deal with these challenges and to
empower the people through information, PGA started a program called Good Governance
Now (GGN). The major objectives of this program are-

1
http://mda.nic.in/Mewat-Profile.htm


2

1. To Increase awareness about the government schemes and citizens entitlements
2. To Improve the condition of government schemes by encouraging citizen
participation
3. To make policy recommendations for effective governance through more transparent
and accountable schemes.
Under this program, the main thrust is making the people aware through information
dissemination. For this purpose, the PGA centre identified 5-6 volunteers from each village
and extensively trained them for an year. These volunteers then become PGAs field staff.
This Field Staff is supposed to identify 35-40 people from each village with whom they
would conduct training sessions on a regular basis to give them information about each
training scheme.
It is under this back drop that the need for an IT based information dissemination tool was
faced. Some of the villages under GGN program by PGA have population greater than 5000.
For villages like these, it becomes a taxing effort for the field staff to identify 35-40 people
and conduct trainings. Subsequently IRRADs expenditure on training and maintaining the
field staff increases. Hence they needed a tool which would augment the information
delivered by the field staff and would ease pressure on them. This would also enable the PGA
centre to reach out to a larger audience and penetrate deeper into the village. Hence the study
regarding the assessment of the feasibility of voice sms campaigns was taken up.
The report is presented in the form of chapters. It starts with defining the objective of study
and then it goes on to talk about similar kind of studies that have been done in the past in the
section on Literature review which is followed by the Research methodology. Chapter 1
talks about how ICT is relevant for governance. This chapter is basically focussed on using
ICT based tools for empowering the masses to ensure higher civic engagement and vigilance.
Chapter 2 talks about implementing ICT in mewat. It answers the questions about why ICT is
needed in mewat and discusses findings obtained from the field through primary data
collection. Chapter 3 then moves on to talk about the implementation of ICT based tool at
IRRAD. It explains how database was created and how calls were sent through the web based
tool. Chapter 4 then deals with issues of regulatory compliances and legal feasibility. It talks
about various laws that have been laid down by the Department of Telecommunication in
India. Chapter 5 discusses the cost structure of the pilot project to use IVRS based
information dissemination tool and compares with the cost involved in disseminating
information through field staff. It further discusses issues of financial feasibility of small and


3

large organisations who decide to use this tool. Chapter 7 discusses the advantages of this
ICT based tool and the challenges that were faced during execution of the study and the pilot
project which is followed by Chapter 8 which lists out certain recommendations based on the
study.




















4

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
Information is indispensable. Its dissemination is what would determine the degree to which
people can be empowered. Without tools for information dissemination organisations
struggle with finding ways to cost effectively send out critical information at the right time.
Right kind of Information sent at the right time is a very powerful tool to ensure social
mobilization and rights based advocacy. It is well established that there exist numerous
accountability and transparency gaps in the deliverables of various schemes like MGNREGA,
PDS , MDM , pensions etc. These gaps can be bridged by the ICT interventions which aim at
using tools that send out voice calls to the intended population and make them aware of their
rights, their entitlements and also disseminate certain time sensitive critical information.
What is also a need of the hour is civic engagement in decision making. For a long time the
policies have been aiming to be participatory in nature and ensuring a need based approach to
planning. ICT provides a platform to buttress this endeavour by providing voice to citizens
through the feedback that they can send.
Through this project, the aim to see the feasibility of such an intervention that aims at using a
web tool to send out voice calls in a particular regions vernacular. This voice call application
would have a list of the beneficiaries of various government schemes. On various occasions
and under various circumstances, the operator of this tool can send pre recorded voice calls
from a dedicated number to the selected beneficiaries. For an instance, if the data reveals that
there are a number of individuals above 18 years of age who do not have a job card under
MGNREGA, the tool can be used to send out voice messages whose purpose would be to
make that section of people aware about MGNREGA and also to urge them to get themselves
enrolled for a job card. This facility ensures that the drawbacks of sending a text messages
are eliminated. The level of literacy will not be a constraining factor because by the design of
it, this tool sends out voice messages which can be customised to suit the tongue of the region
and would be compatible with any phone.
This project involves studying all the dimensions of doing the aforesaid tasks. To begin with
it would entail studying the technical feasibility of the intervention. To see if it is technically
feasible, first it would involve collecting data from the field and feeding it into the database
of the tool. The data fields have to be ascertained. The second step would require training the
field workers to communicate the relevant features of the scheme to the villagers. The onus of
making this project fruitful lies on the effectiveness of communicating the aspects of this


5

project to the villagers. The third step would involve actually sending out voice calls to the
people after appropriate content has been worked out.
Next it would be pertinent to see if such an initiative is legally feasible or not. Sending out
voice calls to such a large audience should comply with the regulatory provisions.
Lastly it is of utmost importance to see if it is financially feasible and viable for IRRAD. The
costs borne by IRRAD would not be met with financial returns initially, but the social returns
would have to be measured. What would serve as a parameter for gauging the efficacy of this
intervention is the number of people that were reached through the voice calls and also the
cost saving that would accrue to the organisation if it decides to use this facility for
information dissemination.

















6

LITERATURE REVIEW
With the mobile penetration increasing by the day, it is of utmost importance to government
planners, private organisations, NGOs etc to tap into the potential which has been unleashed
by the mobile technology- fast access. Mobile technologies can boost the efforts of many
organisations who are trying to reach to the people directly. Hence organisations in the
development sector, whose major thrust area is to work with people and promote practices
like good governance, transparency, accountability, civic engagement in decision making,
right based advocacy etc can harness the benefits of the multitude of value added service
provided by mobile service providers. Not only are such mobile services promising more
efficiency , faster and less erroneous processing of data but an improvement of the service as
a whole through direct contact with the citizens (Roggenkamp,2011).
Klass Roggenkamp in his paper on Development modules to unleash the potential of mobile
government talks about how m-governance is different from e-governance and explains the
concept of mobility. He contends that unlike e-governance, m-governance has the aspect of
mobility involved in it. This effectively means that out of the two people communicating, one
can be movable. This gives a whole new dimension to the field of m-governance as the
barriers of distance and time and cost can now be surpassed. Roggenkamp goes ahead to
explain three different types of mobility- spatial, temporal and and contextual mobility which
subsequently defines three types of ICT solutions- Device mobility, user mobility and service
mobility. Hence with a combination of any of the above three any organisation could ensure
spatial, temporal and contextual mobility for the population it serves hence empowering them
and promoting Rights based advocacy.
For m-governance Roggenkamp also puts stress on ensuring that the ICT initiatives are
motivated by user needs. In order to avoid creation of services not accepted by target group
and thus wasting money on technology whilst already working on a tight budget, a more user
centric view is proposed here (Roggenkamp,2011).
In India a lot of initiatives have been taken up to promote awareness and to empower people
by disseminating information through mobile based initiatives.
Handygo Technologies Pvt. Ltd who is a leading provider of Value Added service (VAS),
launched Behtar Zindagi, an IVRS based solution which is focussed on strengthening
strengthening the rural population with authentic and quality information regarding Market
prices, Agricultural & cropping advisory, livestock advisory, Weather information, Finance,


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education, women and child health care advisory which directly or indirectly impacts the
lifestyle and livelihood of the rural users
2
.
Uninor launched a campaign with GSM associations mWomen Advocacy campaign and
started Mera mobile, Mera Sathi campaign on January,2011 in the states of Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar. The campaign is an awareness initiative that highlights the benefits from mobile
phones, including income generation opportunities, stronger familial and social ties, and new
information on health, education and government schemes, as well as personal safety and
entertainment.
The information is broadcasted through Uninors own network via SMS campaign messages.
Outbound dialing to existing customers also ensures that voice messages in local languages
reach rural communities
3
. The main aim was to bridge this gender gap in the usage of mobile
phones.

Amnesty India which is a part of Amnesty International that has won the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1977 launched a campaign in Sri Lanka which was partnered by Exotel to create a mobile
campaign that gave voice to citizens of Sri Lanka. The campaign named Justice in Sri
Lanka offered services like SMS, missed call, IVR and voice mail to its registered users.
Through this campaign they were able to mobilise 1.3 million people. All this was done to
ensure that the citizens could record their experiences, take pledges etc and motivate people
to bring back peace in the troubled region.
4









2
http://www.telecomindiaonline.com/handygo-behtar-zindagi-empowers-rural-andhra-pradesh.html
3
http://www.telenor.com/corporate-responsibility/initiatives-worldwide/uninor-works-with-gsma-to-bridge-
mobile-gender-gap-in-india/
4
http://exotel.in/case-studies/ngo-non-profits-use-technology/amnesty-india-mobilizes-1-3-million-people-
with-exotel-for-justice-for-srilanka/


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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
To undertake this study, we decided to use these three tools for data collection
1. Questionnaires
2. Unstructured interviews
3. Focus group discussions
QUESTIONNAIRES
The study basically aims to find out what kind of information gap exists in the district of
Mewat and whether ICT can bridge that gap. To ascertain the awareness level of villagers,
the questionnaire was formulated which aimed at gauging if the sample had heard about
Government schemes like ICDS, PDS, RTI etc. The questionnaire also aimed at getting data
about what the sample thinks would be a convenient time for the voice call to be sent. Also
one important data that the questionnaire aimed to collect was the mobile penetration in the
villages and what is the percentage of females in the sample who own mobile phones.
For administering the questionnaire Purposive Sampling was used to select 6 villages in NUH
block of Mewat District. Since for this project the main purpose is to reach out to people
through voice sms, we selected the villages where population was greater than 5000 and it
was difficult for IRRAD field workers to travel to each household to convey the information.
Since this IT based tool eases the pressure on the human resource of the organisation, these 6
villages were picked because for IRRAD, deploying the tool for these villages would have
maximum utility. In these 6 villages we selected 18 Below Poverty Line (BPL) respondents
randomly. This sampling unit was a single respondent. The sample size was 108.
UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS
The study also entailed understanding the benefits that would accrue to the organisation by
using an IT enabled tool to disseminate information. To gather data on how much the
organisation currently spends on the information dissemination and how much they would
end up spending if they adopt an ICT tool for sending out voice messages, In depth and
unstructured interviews were conducted with the employees.
What was also required was to understand the scalability and diversity that would come with
using such a tool. For this the employees and the field staff were interviewed. These
interviews were also unstructured but the agenda was to find out the areas of application of
this web based tool for sending out voice messages.


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FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS
The focus group discussions were used to rope in the villagers point of view about the
initiative. Issues such as content and tone likeability, areas where it can be used and timing
were brought up and the villagers opinion and sentiment was gauged. Also the FGDs were
used to understand the preference of villagers for an impersonal form of information
dissemination like voice message. Data was collected on how effective the villagers thought
these voice messages were.
Four focus group discussions were conducted- two each with both males and females. The
number of respondents was around 7-8. The sampling frame used for selecting respondents
for the FGD was the Community Level Training (CLT) List prepared by the organisations
field staff. This list consisted of villagers selected by the organisations field staff, which
were undergoing training on government schemes. These training sessions are conducted by
field staff who are extensively trained by IRRADs employees for subsequently training the
villagers. The reason behind using this list as the sampling Frame was that the people who
had been enrolled for the Community Level trainings were the ones who received voice
messages. Hence issues about the efficacy of voice messages etc had to be discussed with
them.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1. Lack of hard data about the response of the community towards the ICT intervention
Due to the nature of the internship, the time frame was too less to explore the
communitys reaction in depth. Also because the designing of the tool was outsourced
to a third party vendor, timelines were stretched and hence much quantitative and
qualitative data about how the community reacted towards the voice calls could not be
gathered. Although 4 focus group studies were carried to gauge the likeability and
feasibility of such an intervention with the community, it would be pertinent to
explore more in this aspect. Questions about a media like this give voice to citizen and
amplify it? Can it save the declining transparency and accountability in state
sponsored schemes? Will people be empowered enough to demand their rights?
remained unanswered.
2. Narrow Scope
The findings have been gathered from one block of the Mewat District and the sample
included 108 respondents from 6 villages. Due to the constraints on financial and
human resources that were available and also due to the time frame, the findings
could not be triangulated with findings from other parts of the district. The other 4


10

blocks of the district have varying geographical, socio-economic and political features
which could not be used to triangulate the findings from Nuh Block.
The Terms IVRS based information dissemination tool and ICT based tool and web
based tool have been used interchangeably in the report. All of them refer to the web based
platform that which was used to send out IVRS type calls to targeted recipients.


























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CHAPTER 1
ICT for governance
Voice sms campaign for GGN by PGA at IRRAD
Good Governance Now (GGN) is an undertaking of the Policy, Governance and Advocacy
(PGA) centre of Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD). Under the GGN
program, the aim is to make the people aware of what their rights are. The Programs wants its
recipients to demand for good governance from the government officials by equipping them
with knowledge about government schemes. Their mode of operation is such that people
employed in PGA centre identified certain individuals from the villages in each block of
Mewat District. These individuals (hence referred to as the field staff) were extensively
trained by the PGA centre about how the various government schemes work. Post that, the
villages in the five blocks of Mewat were distributed among these field staff and each field
staff was supposed to conduct community level trainings in these villages. For the community
level trainings or CLTs, 35-40 people were selected from each village who would regularly
attend these trainings. The idea was that giving information to a select group of people would
lead to them passing on the information to the others in the villages and would also reduce
the hassle which would have arisen had the whole village been invited for the CLT.
.
Mewat is a district of 431 villages and most of the villages have a population greater than
5000. For the field staff who are trained for the GGN program, reaching out physically to the
people in these villages was a challenge. Hence under the current schemes of things, the PGA
centre had to do the daunting task of reaching out to millions of people. To handle this
challenge the resorted to taking the help of ICT since there would always be a limit to the
maximum number of people that can be physically reached. With the help of ICT based
initiatives such gaps could be plugged in.
The PGA centre, to pilot the voice sms program for GGN, purchased a web based tool from a
vendor. This tool gives the facilities of database management, sending Unicast and Multicast
voice messages and sending out bulk text messages. The idea was that by appending what the
villagers learn in the CLTs through voice messages, the level of awareness would be further
enhanced.



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CHAPTER 2
ICT FOR MEWAT
The literacy levels in Mewat are as low as 54.08%
i
.
5
From primary data collection from a
sample of 108 respondents, a cumulative of 90.6% people were educated up to grade 9 and
below. With such dismal literacy figures, sending out voice calls in a language that the people
could understand would obviate the short comings of other information dissemination
channels like text messages, posters, wall paintings etc.
Table 1 below shoes the SPSS frequency analysis of the educational qualification of the
respondents used for the questionnaire
educational_qualification

Frequenc
y Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulative
Percent
Valid Illiterate 79 73.1 73.1 73.1
5th and
below
11 10.2 10.2 83.3
5th to 9
th
10 9.3 9.3 92.6
10
th
6 5.6 5.6 98.1
12
th
1 .9 .9 99.1
Graduate 1 .9 .9 100.0
Total 108 100.0 100.0

Table 1. Spss frequency analysis for educational qualification



5
http://www.census2011.co.in/census/district/226-mewat.html


13


Figure 1. Pie chart representation of the frequency analysis of educational qualification

One prominent statistic revealed through this SPSS frequency analysis is the illiteracy in the
sample. 73.1 percent of the sample is illiterate and 98.1 percent of the people are educated
upto grade 10
th
or below. Hence this necessitates the use of an information dissemination tool
that overcomes the illiteracy barrier and reaches out to a large population.
Now, the first question that needs to be answered before such an initiative is taken up is- what
is the need? What information gap will this tool plug in? Is there an information gap at all?
Basically the study entailed ascertaining whether people in Mewat need certain ICT based
innovations and initiatives or not.
To begin with, the level of awareness of the people needs to be gauged. If people are aware, it
indicates that the other information disseminating media are playing a good role in promoting
awareness about the various government schemes. The Rural Research Centre (RRC) at
IRRAD conducted a baseline survey of the GGN program and came up with the findings
tabulated below in table 2.
MGNREGA SSA MDM PDS ICDS
% of people unsatisfied 51.60% 52.30% 46.20% 67% 73.30%
% of unsatisfied people who did not
file a complaint
97.50% 96.80% 98.40% 98% 99.50%
% of unsatisfied people who did not
file a complaint because they did
89.70% 79% 85.70% 88.70% 88.50%


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not how to file one
% of the overall sample who filed a
complaint
0.40% 1.40% 1.20% 0.80% 0.50%
Table 2. Baseline survey statistics
The table clearly lists out that there exists an information Gap about how to get grievance
redressal. The government has enacted the Right to Information Act in 2005, which would
have empowered the citizens by giving them the right to ask how money is spent in various
government sponsored schemes. More than 79% of the people who were unsatisfied with
government schemes did not file a complaint against the concerned authorities. The
percentage of people who filed a complaint is abysmally low, with 1.40% being the highest.

Also the questionnaires administered to 108 respondents from 6 villages gauged the level of
awareness of the respondents by asking if they know about state schemes like MDM, PDS,
ICDS, RTI and RTE. The bar graph below depicts the percentage of people aware about these
schemes.


Figure 2. Bar graph with percentage awareness about schemes.
The positives from this graph are that 98.15% and 87.96% of the sample knew about PDS
and MDM scheme respectively. The statistics for schemes like ICDS, RTE and RTI are way
too contrasting with only 11.11% of the people who know about an important law like RTI.
Also transparency and accountability are issues which have plagued these state sponsored
schemes. In the villages under study, while collecting data about how the PDS is working
through the questionnaire, respondents in all the villages reported of huge pilferage and
98.15%
87.96%
46.30%
14.81%
11.11%
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
Total
Sum of awareness about
PDS
Sum of awareness about
MDM
Sum of awareness about
ICDS
Sum of awareness about
RTE
Sum of awareness about
RTI


15

corruption wherein almost all the BPL ration card holders have received ration only twice in
the last six months. The bar graph shoes in percentages the number of respondents in the
sample who have received ration on time, in the right quality, satisfactory quantity and at the
right price. 34.26% of the respondents say that they have received ration on time. 68.52% of
the respondents said that when they receive the ration is in the right quantity, 76.85% said the
quality of grains is satisfactory and 81.48% said that it is correctly priced. Hence we see there
a remarkable amount of leakage that happens while the ration is distributed. The quality of
ration and the price is satisfactory, the only setback being that the people do not get ration on
time. During the data collection people said that the only way they get to know when the
ration has arrived is when the vehicle carrying the ration passes by. Some respondents also
revealed that most of the time they are not even aware of when ration arrives and when they
are supposed to go to the ration depot to collect it. These findings necessitate the use of a
mechanism which gives voice to the people, which makes these people aware about what
their rights are and who they can demand it from.

Figure 3. Bar graph with percentage wise distribution of PDS efficacy indicators
What would ultimately determine the efficacy of such a initiative is the mobile penetration in
the district. Primary data collection revealed that 92.6% of the respondents own a mobile
phone. However, the discouraging aspect is the number of females who own a phone. It
stands abysmally low at 25%. During the data collection, women expressed that though they
did not own phones, they could easily access phones in their family and use it for their
personal communication. Hence this high mobile penetration can be harnessed to disburse
information
34.26%
68.52%
76.85%
81.48%
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Total
Sum of do you get ration
on time
Sum of is the quantity
right
Sum of is the quality
satisfactory
Sum of is it priced
correctly


16

mobile_owners

Frequenc
y Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulative
Percent
Valid No 8 7.4 7.4 7.4
Yes 100 92.6 92.6 100.0
Total 108 100.0 100.0
Table 3. Spss frequency analysis of mobile owners
women_mobile_own

Frequenc
y Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulative
Percent
Valid No 78 72.2 74.3 74.3
Yes 27 25.0 25.7 100.0
Total 105 97.2 100.0
Missing System 3 2.8
Total 108 100.0
Table 4. Spss frequency analysis of female mobile owners

It was pertinent to explore the penetration of other information dissemination media to
understand how information flows through the people. The questionnaire required
respondents to answer how they got to know about the various government schemes. The
graph below shows the frequency analysis of the various ways in which the people obtain
information about the schemes.

Figure 4. Bar graph showing percentage of responses using a particular information
dissemination media
1.85% 0.95%
12.96%
1.85%
5.56%
81.48%
0
20
40
60
80
100
Total
Sum of info through gov.
officials
Sum of info through
sarpanch
Sum of info through NGO
Sum of info through radio


17

The information largely flows in the village through the villagers. 81.48% of the sample said
that they obtained information about the government schemes through each other. That is if a
few people get to know about the schemes, It essentially cascades and hence the information
flows down to other people as well. Therefore if we use mobile phones and send voice
messages to a select sample, it would be safe to conclude that the information would ripple
over to other villagers as well who are not a part of the sample.




















18

CHAPTER 3
IMPLEMENTATION
Technical specifications and Features of the IVRS based information dissemination tool
IRRAD purchased an IVRS based information dissemination tool from a third party vendor.
This is a web based tool which can be used for sending out bulk sms, bulk voice messages
(multicast) and Unicast. Also it provides the facility of data base management. So the web
based platform delivers the following features-
Database management
Personalised and Scheduled Voice Reminders (Unicast)
Mass Voice Alerts (Multi-cast)

To use all these facilities, the tool requires creation of the database of the target group of
people to whom the client organisation needs to reach. The PGA centre in IRRAD had
decided to use this tool for sending out information on government schemes. These are the
steps that were taken to test this information dissemination tool in NUH block of Mewat
district-
1. Identify the target population
2. Identify the data fields required and create a database of this target population
3. Create an audio file that to be sent via voice messages through the web based tool
4. Schedule and send the voice messages to the target population

Identifying the target population and data fields
The PGA centre had an information dissemination program in place where the field workers
extensively trained by IRRAD would identify 35-40 people from villages and conduct
training sessions with them. These 2 hour long sessions done twice or thrice in a month
would involve the field staff training these 35-40 people about various government schemes.
The reason why this project was rolled out was because it the PGA centre felt that reaching
out to a larger number of people in villages with high population was strenuous for the field
staff and created a pressure on them. Hence they decided to use this web based information
dissemination tool to spread awareness about various schemes.
To pilot this program, only this 35-40 people hence to be called as trainees, were selected as
the target population and the following data was collected from them-


19


1. Name
2. Fathers /Husbands name
3. Age
4. Village
5. BPL/ APL
6. Gender
7. Mobile number
Once this data was collected from 6 villages, it was fed into the database of the web based
tool. The snapshot below shows the database management feature of the website which
involves updating user records, deleting user records, importing or exporting databases and
filtering records.

Figure 5. Snapshot of the database created on the IVRS tool
Creating the audio file to be used for voice messages
The important information about the schemes were recorded and converted from MP3 format
to a 16 bit PCM WAV file encoded at a rate of 8000Hz. The content of these recordings has
been put in the appendix section of the report. These recordings were used as voice messages
and sent out as multicasts to all the records in the database. The image below is a snapshot of
the multicast facility on the website.


20


Figure 6. Snapshot of uploading audio file and sending multicast window
Scheduling and sending voice messages
The frequency and timing of the voice messages to be sent was decided based on the
responses from the questionnaires. The pie chart below shows the percent wise preference
towards different timings and frequencies of the voice calls. These pie charts show that while
73.1% of the people prefer these voice messages to be sent daily, 15.7% of the people prefer
them to be sent once a week. Also 85.2% of the respondents said that they preferred that the
calls be sent in the morning between 7 am to 9 pm. The respondents quoted that such a time
would be preferable for them because in the morning all the members of the household are at
home and that it would be easier for the women who do not own phones to listen to the
messages at that time.

Figure 7. Pie chart showing the preference for call frequency


21


Figure 8. Pie chart showing preference for call time
Since for the pilot there were timing constraints and certain extraneous factors that could not
be controlled for, the calls were sent twice in one day- 9 am and 1 pm. For the future the data
collected from the field would be used and the calls would be sent daily and at 9 am. The call
report generated from the website revealed the following statistics depicted in the bar graph.
50.13% of the total sample picked up the calls and 42.49% did not answer the calls. On
further perusal it was established that these 42.49% of the sample and activated Do Not
Disturb (DND) facility provided by their service providers due to which the calls could not be
sent. The appendix shows the complete dashboard generated from the website in an MS
Excel workbook.

Figure 9. Bar graph showing the call turnover
0.76%
6.62%
50.13%
42.49%
0
50
100
150
200
250
busy call-attempt completed no-answer (blank)
Total
Total


22

CHAPTER 4
LEGAL FEASIBILITY AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCES
To ascertain that this web based information tool adheres to all the regulatory compliances
laid down by the telecom ministry and the Government of India, regulations regarding Voice
Over Internet Protocol (hence referred to as VoIP) were explored. Below are some excerpts
about the regulations laid down by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for VoIP in
India.
following type of Internet Telephony are permitted in India : (a) PC to PC; within or outside
India (b) PC / a device / Adapter conforming to standard of any international agencies like-
ITU or IETF etc. in India to PSTN/PLMN abroad. (c) Any device / Adapter conforming to
standards of International agencies like ITU, IETF etc. connected to ISP node with static IP
address to similar device / Adapter; within or outside India. (d) Except whatever is described
in condition (ii) above, no other form of Internet Telephony is permitted (f) The Internet
Service Licensee is not permitted to have PSTN/PLMN connectivity. Voice
communication to and from a telephone connected to PSTN/PLMN and following E.164
numbering is prohibited in India
6

At present, broadband operators cannot use voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) to offer
voice services to their customers, except when the called party is outside the country. This is
a ridiculous limitation of technological capability to shore up the profits of incumbent voice
licencees
7

In lieu of the above, it was of utmost importance to explore that the tool does not use VoIP to
originate calls from the internet that terminate on standard PSTN (mobile ) network.
The technology used in the tool can be explained with the help of this diagram.

6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_over_IP
7
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-07-27/news/29820667_1_telecom-licence-single-
licence-licensing-regime


23


Figure 10. IVRS call infrastructure
However we found out that this technology doesn't use VoIP at all. The calls are not
generated from the terminal at the clients end. What actually happens is that the database and
the Audio file are sent from the clients data connection to a remote cloud server.
From the cloud server, the calls are sent like normal telephone calls via the PSTN or wireless
network. The numbers, however are not physically dialled by a human being but are dialled
by a computer software . The content, like internet telephone or VoIP is not broken down into
data packets and transmitted over the internet but is sent through mobile telephone network or
GSM.
The technology being used here can be broadly termed Cloud Telephony or Hosted IVR,
which uses Computer Telephone Integration(CTI). This shouldn't be confused with Internet
Telephony.

.



24

CHAPTER 5
FINANCIAL FEASABILITY AND COST ANALYSIS
To see of the IVRS based information dissemination tool is financially feasible for both
organisations like IRRAD and other small NGOs, a cost analysis was carried out where the
cost of other highly effective information dissemination medium- Field Staff was compared
with the cost of deploying the IVRS tool. For this IRRADs model of information
dissemination through field staff was studied and the cost structure was analysed.
For the two month pilot with the IVRS tool, the number of people reached was 300. To these
300 people information about 5 government schemes was given through 15000 voice calls.
The costs involved in this program are listed down in the table below.
1. Number of villages 6
2. People reached 300
3. voice calls sent 1500
4. Number of schemes outlined 5
COST STRUCTURE
5. User Development Fee 10000
6. call cost 6750
7. number rental charges NIL
8. TOTAL COST 16750
Table 5. Cost structure for a 2 month IVRS pilot program
As against this, the monthly cost involved in carrying out group meetings for disseminating
information on the schemes is tabulated below.
1. Number of villages 6
2. People reached 300
3. Number of meetings ( 1 meeting for 15 citizens) 20
4. Field staff required (1 staff for 2 villages) 3
COST STRUCTURE
5. Field staff salary @10000 pm 30000
6. Information booklets 1500
7. TOTAL COST 31500
Table 6. Cost structure for a two month training program
For implementing the IVRS program for a year the following cost structure was worked out.
1. number of villages 117
2. people reached 87500
3. voice calls to be sent 2625000
4. Number of schemes outlined 10
COST STRUCTURE


25

5. User Development fee 30000
6. Annual maintenance cost 5000
7. Number rental cost 21600
8. Call Cost 2947875
9. TOTAL COST 3004475
Table 7. Yearly cost of the IVRS program
As against this the total costs involved in disseminating information through field staff would
have the organisation incur the costs as tabulated below.
1. Number of villages 117
2. People Reached 87500
3. Number of meetings ( 1 meeting for 15 citizens) 5834
4. Field staff required (1 staff for 2 villages) 59
COST STRUCTURE
5. Field Staff Salary( 7080000
6. Information booklets 218750
7. TOTAL COST 7298750
Table 8. Yearly cost of the training program
On comparing these costs, the yearly cost for the IVRS tool is almost half of the cost
involved in using field staff for information dissemination. These figures however, should not
be used as a precursor for judging the efficacy of one media over the other. These costs
should not lead us to conclude that one media can be substituted for the other. What it points
out is that if a large NGO like IRRAD who has adequate financial resources at its disposal,
can use the IVRS based tool for augmenting the information dissemination that takes place
through its field staff. In that way, if constant reminders are sent about the meetings, about
the minutes of the meeting and about some other information about the meetings is sent, it
would reinforce what they have learnt in the meetings.
However for the smaller organisations which would not be able to afford human resources for
information dissemination through training sessions, IVRS based information dissemination
tool would be very useful and economical as it allows them to reach a large audience in a cost
effective and time saving manner.





26

CHAPTER 6
FINDINGS FROM THE FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS AND
SCALABILITY

Focus Group Discussions were carried out to gauge the reaction and likeability of the people
towards these voice messages. 4 focus group discussions with a sample of 7-8 people were
carried out. These discussions revealed that people had a positive response towards the whole
program and were visibly motivated by the purpose of this program. On enquiring about
whether they understood the contents delivered through the voice message , the response was
positive. Few people mentioned that they had problem understanding the helpline numbers
that were mentioned at the end of the message because they were paced too fast. Also people
mentioned few other areas where the facilities offered by the tool could be used. They
mentioned that this facility could be used for informing them about when the ration has
arrived or when the fertilizers or seed would be distributed etc.
Based on the information obtained from the FGDs and In dept discussions with the IRRAD
employees working with PGA centre and working as field staff, following areas of
implementation were identified.
1. Using voice calls for sending multicasts when the ration, fertilizer, Pension, seeds etc
have arrived in the village.
2. These multicasts can also be used to inform villagers about weather forecasts like
heavy rainfall or pest attack. It could also serve as a tool for effective disaster
management.
3. The local Mandi prices of various farm products can also be informed to the villagers
through this tool.
4. Calls can be sent a day prior to the Community level meetings so that high turnout is
can be ensured.
5. Disseminating information about new government schemes.
6. This tool can also be used by NGOs to promote Evidence Based Advocacy. When
government becomes responsible for sending out information about its budgets,
allocations, expenditures to the people ; a lower than average treatment of any village
is with the villagers in the form of hard data which they can use to raise their voices.
7. Feedback from the villagers about instances of corruption or anti human behaviour
can be recorded and action can be taken.


27

8. It can be used as a tool for social mobilisation.
Also this tool could be customized to add more features like-
1. Call Hear Back : When the respondent calls back , he/she can listen to the previous
multicasts that were sent.
2. Record Feedback : If a respondent has some feedback to give or some issues to
discuss, he/she can call back and record his/her feedback
3. Live Call : When a respondent calls back, he/she can talk to a designated executive
about his/her concerns.























28

CHAPTER 7
ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES
During the period of this study a lot of challenges were faces albeit the advantages of using
an ICT tool. Though this tool had the obvious positives of reaching out to a large number of
people, being cost and time effective, offering ease of operation and use for the organisation
as well as the people reached, it can definitely not replace trained staff as an information
dissemination media. What a large organisation requires, is an optimum mix of both these
tools- the human resource and the technological resource where the latter can augment the
former. When IRRADs field staff conduct trainings with the villagers about government
schemes, they have the advantage of speaking in a language and accent which the people can
relate to in a better manner. They can have a live feedback and they have the luxury of time
to listen to peoples grievances and make them understand through context specific examples.
This proves to be very effective with people because these field staff members are trained to
strike a chord with the villagers.
The challenges faced during the study and execution of the pilot project were-
1. Since the ICT based tool had to be customized to suit IRRADs needs and because the
tool itself was in its nascent stage of development, the timelines got stretched.
2. A lot of recipients of the voice calls were registered with the Do Not Disturb (DND)
facility provided by the mobile service providers. Hence though they were a part of
the sample, they could not be reached through the voice messages.
3. From the call reports that were generated after the calls were placed, the average
duration for which the calls were attended was 30 seconds. The standard duration of
each message sent through the call was 80 seconds. This revealed that the recipients
were not listening to the calls for the entire duration.
4. There was a huge difference between the HAVES and the HAVE-NOTS. The
data analysis shows that the number of households which have mobile phones are
91.7%, the women who own a mobile phone lies at a dismal 24.1%. Hence the pattern
of mobile ownership is skewed towards the males. Hence in future, if IRRAD wants
to use the ICT based tool to disseminate information that is meant only for the
women, chances are that she would not be able to hear it. Ramesh Kailasam in his
paper on m-Governance : leveraging mobile technology to extend the reach of e-
governance has termed this finding as m-digital divide.


29

CHAPTER 8
RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the study conducted in the villages and piloting the IVRS based information
dissemination tool, the following recommendations as regards the use of ICT and
1. choosing a vendor to deliver ICT services should be taken into consideration. Since
deploying an ICT tool at the organisations end commands a lot of resources to be
dedicated for using that tool, care needs to be taken that the vendor chosen should
adopt the best industry practices. Data security, timely delivery of services, prompt
and vigilant technical support are some aspects where no compromise should be
tolerated. The Indian industry for ICT based marketing and other initiatives has a lot
of vendors who offer cost effective and standardized services. The organisation
should, after deciding its purpose of deploying an ICT tool, invite quotations and
terms of service from all these vendors before deciding to settle on one of them.
2. If IRRAD decides to continue with the existing vendor to provide the ICT tool, it
needs to be ensured that the data is hosted on IRRADs server to ensure data security.
Also the vendors would have to work on the tool and make it more convenient to be
used by the person at the IRRAD terminal. Some features that could be worked on
are- Using counters while getting the live status of multicasts, Issuing notifications
about the multicast history and when all multicasts are sent, generating real time
dashboard of calls etc.
3. Another aspect that the organisations using ICT should always bear in mind is that the
application designed should always fit the user needs. Every organisation should
strive to understand the user better and make sure the gain and utility of the ICT tool
and the application is understood well by the user. Unless this factor is ensured, the
investment that the organisation puts in an initiative like this runs at a risk of being
squandered in a fruitless endeavour.
4. People tend to lose faith very easily in a product that does not deliver. The
organisation should at all times try to ensure that timelines are met and what has been
promised has been delivered. This would build a positive user perspective towards the
product and the organisation.
5. Result monitoring should be very robust. The analytics should be carefully studied
and any discrepancies should be followed up. Also the organisation should try and get


30

back to the recipients and gauge their responses. It needs to be empirically established
that the purpose of using an intervention like this was achieved.
6. Since the ownership of mobile phones was skewed in favour of males, organisations
should encourage more female ownership of mobiles so that information which
targets them as the recipients can be delivered.
























31

APPENDICES
Appendix 1. Geographical map of Nuh block and block profile.



Population 362946
Villages 117
Panchayats 83
Voters 133890
Day Care Centres 267
Schools 216
Ration Card Holders 45360
APL 35898
BPL 8072
AAY 1390
Ration Depots 121
Health Centres 18







32

Appendix 2. Profile of the villages studied

Village Households Population Day Care
Centres
Ration
depot
Schools Ration Cards APL BPL AAY
Udaka 700 5500 4 1 2 565 520 43 2
Sudaka 920 6300 6 2 2 831 750 72 9
Alduka 600 5500 5 1 3 605 560 40 5
Tai 1000 6000 4 2 2 1034 890 108 36
Bansi 600 5100 4 1 3 485 400 80 5
Ujina 2000 11000 9 3 4 1149 960 189 NA
























33

Appendix 3. SPSS Variable template for recoding responses from the questionnaire.

NAME TYPE WIDTH DECIMAL VALUES MEASURE ROLE
Village String 8 0 None Nominal Input
Name String 8 0 None Nominal Input
Age Numeric 8 2 None Scale Input
Gender Numeric 8 2 {.0, male}... Scale Input
Status Numeric 8 2 {1.00, head of the
family}...
Scale Input
educational_qualification Numeric 8 2 {1.00, illiterate}... Scale Input
Card Numeric 8 2 {1.00, APL}... Scale Input
ration_on_time Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
ration_right_quantity Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
ration_right_quality Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
ration_right_rate Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
ration_fetch Numeric 8 2 {1.00, women}... Scale Input
ration_frequency Numeric 8 2 None Scale Input
ration_buying_frequency Numeric 8 2 None Scale Input
people_with_bankaccount Numeric 8 2 None Scale Input
Banking_services_used Numeric 8 2 {1.00, savings/deposits}... Scale Input
ration_market_proximity Numeric 8 2 {.0, greater than 2 km}... Scale Input
bank_post_office_proximity Numeric 8 2 {.0, greater than 2 km}... Scale Input
cash_vs_commodities Numeric 8 2 {.0, commodities}... Scale Input
mobile_owners Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
women_mobile_own Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
call_frequency Numeric 8 2 {1.00, 0-3 times}... Scale Input
call_time Numeric 8 2 {.0, 9pm to 11 pm}... Scale Input
aware_PDS Numeric 8 2 {.0, not aware}... Scale Input
aware_MDM Numeric 8 2 {.0, not aware}... Scale Input
aware_ICDS Numeric 8 2 {.0, unaware}... Scale Input
aware_RTE Numeric 8 2 {.0, unaware}... Scale Input
aware_RTI Numeric 8 2 {.0, unaware}... Scale Input
source_gov_officials Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
source_sarpanch Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
source_NGO Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
source_newspaper Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
source_radio Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
source_villagers Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input
voicecalls_benefit Numeric 8 2 {.0, no}... Scale Input






34

Appendix 4. Questionnaire Used for the Study

1. -

2. -

3. /



4 . -
1.


2. /
3. /
4.

5. -
1.
2.
3.
4 .
5 .
6. ( )

6 .
1 .
2. ( )
3. (

)

7 .

" " " "



1 .
2 .
3 .


4 .

8.
1.
2.




35

3.

9.

?
1
2.
3.
4.
5.

10. 6
1. 6
2. 5
3 .4
4. 3
5. 2
6. 1
7.



11 . ?

12.
1 . /
2 .
3.
4 .
5. (

)

13.

?(not to be asked from


respondents, data collected from village officials)
1 . 2
2. 2

14 . /

?(not to be asked from


respondents, data collected from village officials)
1 . 2
2. 2



36

15


1.
2 .

16. ?
1. 2.

17.
1. 2.
18.
?
1. 0
2.
3.
4.
5.
19. ?
1.


2.
20.

?
1.

.
2.


3.
4. -
5.





37

21. ,

?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
22. ?
1. 2.





















38

Appendix 5. Invoice for the IVRS Pilot Project


















39


References
Kailasam, Rameesh (2012) m-Governance Leveraging Mobile Technology to extend
the reach of e-Governance
Roggenkamp, Klas (2011) Development modules to unleash the potential of mobile government
DANIDA (2012) report, Using ICT to promote governance
GSMA (2011) report, GSMA mWomen Programme , Policy Recommendations to Address the
Mobile Phone Gender Gap

Kanth, K Rajni (2011) http://www.business-standard.com/article/technology/imimobile-banks-on-
voice-sms-111081800025_1.html Business Standard, August 18.