Capability of Information Access and Poverty Reduction in Sri Lanka: A Cross Sectional Empirical Analysis

S. Santhirasegaram


New economic development strategy for rural development, particularly to poverty alleviation in developing countries has been captivating information communication technology as tool for poverty reduction.  Main objective of this study is that analyzing the role of information accesses in poverty reduction in Sri Lanka. Information accesses reduce the poverty via getting opportunities to poor and increasing Poor’s empowerment directly and through the other dimensions of poverty indirectly. This study investigates the relationships and effect of traditional and modern information accesses in poverty reduction of household population among 106 divisional secretariats and 17 districts in Sri Lanka.  This study with secondary data, collected from17 districts of Sri Lanka in 2001 by using both qualitative and quantitative methodology found that poverty difference among the divisional secretariats as well as districts  are being due to the differences of capability of information accesses among them. The divisions and districts which have more information accesses have experienced with less level of poverty. Divisions and districts which have less information accesses are having more level of poverty. This study compares the importance of traditional information accesses such as literacy, news paper, television, and telephones with modern information accesses, digital TV, internet, and mobile telephones for empowerment to poor hence poverty alleviation. Both, traditional information accesses (-70%) and modern information accesses (-62%) have a negative correlation with level of poverty. Literacy which is fundamental mean to access information is more powerful determinant (-75%) of poverty in Sri Lanka. Since traditional information accesses have a negative and significant effect on poverty and modern accesses do not have statistical significant in regression analysis, this study rejects the over emphasizing of importance of information communication technology for poverty alleviation.  It concludes that both types of information infrastructures must be enriched for Poor’s improvement of capability of information accesses to reduce poverty simultaneously. Information communication technology alone can not alleviate poverty. Traditional information accesses, particularly literacy has been playing key role in poverty reduction in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Empowerment, Capability, Opportunities, Information Infrastructures, Information Communication Technology (ICI) and poverty.


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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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