Controversial Essay on Information Technology : Boon or Bane

Modern civilization has become so complicated and sophisticated that one has to be competitive enough to survive. This compels people to keep themselves informed of all Types of happenings in the society. And Information Technology (IT) is an important field, awareness of which is a must; otherwise we would lag far behind the developed nations of the world.

Nowadays, if we have to reserve a seat in a railway comportment we need not go to the railway booking counter, we can do this just through the Internet by E-Reservation system. Similarly, if we have to send a message to anyone, instead of sending a conventional letter we can send an e-mail. Telephones and mobile phones are so commonly being used by us that it has become difficult now to image life without them. All this, I feel, is enough for us to realize that IT has entered into our day-to-day life.

Induction of IT in India

Today, India is well know globally for its deep-rooted knowledge in the field of Information Technology. It has a highly reputed workforce in the IT industry which is on high demand all over the world. In 1992, when the Government tried to introduce IT in India, huge public protest were carried out because people thought that it would increase unemployment which was already at a very high rate at that time. But it proved to be much more advantageous. Its benefits can be best summarized under the following heads.

Advantages of Information Technology

Computer is the backbone of Information Technology. Whether it is the Banking Sector, Post Office, Small & Large Scale Industries, Defence, Aeronautics, Space Research, Biotechnology, Meteorology Department or Business Process Outsourcing, computer has become an essential part of every field for storing huge amount of data (records) in its hard disk. The vast data was previously kept in files; and handling of such files was another difficult task because with the passage of time, there was a danger of records being spoiled. But computers have helped us to secure our data and retrieve it quickly and easily rather than search dust racked files.

Internet, commonly known as World Wide Web, is another important application of Information Technology. Internet has some very useful application in our day-to-day life. Whether we have to undergo a minor surgery take admission in a foreign institution, collected geographical information of any region, check the results of any examination, transfer money form one bank account to another, send and email, want to have chat with anybody in an corner of the world or want to search for the life partner of our choice, the Internet is the fastest and cheapest way to do so. There are many search engines in the Internet like 'yahoo search' and 'Google search' which help us to search information which we need.

Mobile phones came to India in around 1992. At that time, the rate for an incoming calls was Rs 16 per minute whereas for an out going call, it was Rs 32 per minute. But with cut throat competition in mobile communication market among different companies, tariff rates fell down speedily. Now cell phone industry in India is among the fastest growing industries with thousands of customers adding to it everyday. We can see a mobile phone in the hands of people ranging from a CEO to a lower division clerk and from a big businessman to a laborer or hawker.

It has revolutionized the banking system in India. Previously if we had to have a small transaction with the bank, we had to spend a whole day in the bank. But now, with the computerization of the banks and with the help of AtMs, all transactions can be made easily. Nowadays, we can find ATMs in every nook and corner of small town. Now ATM cards are being used for shopping as well as cash withdrawal or deposit.

Internet or On-Line Banking is an easy way of making transactions if you have Internet connection at your home or through any other cyber cafe. Premium of life insurance policies, electricity bills, telephone bills, income tax returns, payment of railway or airbus e-tickers, etc, can also be paid though the Internet. Even if we have any query we can e-mail directly to the branch manager. BPO or Outsourcing is another field in which IT has flourished greatly. Because of India's cheap, fast and best services, foreign MNCs are getting attracted towards India.

The Business Process and Outsourcing (BPO) sector has generated large number of employment opportunities in India. Consequently, India is becoming the biggest service provider in this sector. Developed countries like the US, are bound to depend on India because of India's cheap and fast service.

Disadvantage of Information Technology

Anything, which has advantages, has disadvantages also and this holds truth in case of Information Technology as well. In fact, disadvantages are not inherent in IT bit they are caused by its users. Hacking is a matter of serious concern in the IT industry. It is not possible to steal data for ordinary thieves but for hackers. These hackers are intelligent thrives who can break into the records of any company and steal it thought the Internet by sitting anywhere in the world. Some of them are so intelligent that they can activate the missile of a country just sitting tin their own country through the Internet.

Security, nowadays, is the matter of topmost concern for every department, especially for defence forces. So now security of secret data is on high risk, particularly for armed forces since terrorists are trying their secret files. Terrorists are using the Internet for sending and receiving maps and coded information from their bosses sitting abroad. In Jammu & Kashmir, terrorists are using the satellite phones for communication with their accomplices. Satellite phones are much more sophisticated as compared to radio sets by armed forces involved in counter insurgency operations.

Definitely, BOP has created jobs but only for educated and the technically qualified Indian elite which has effective communication skills. Rest of them are not getting jobs in the IT industry and still unemployment is a problem for them. Also, the advisability of more than required number of technically qualified youths results in the devaluations of their degress. Many such students are bound to switch over to other jobs or to go abroad in search of jobs.

Pornography is another drawback which has become a menace. With the advent of cyber cafes where one can surf the Internet at cheaper rates, Internet is easily accessible to everybody. A lot of pornographic sites are available on the Internet which attract the people, especially teenagers, towards pornography. According to a survey, 67 percent of the people who surf the net, surf the pornographic sites. Excessive surfing of such sites develop addiction which is not good for mental health of youth.

Cyber crime is another disadvantages of Information technology. The MMS racket of Delhi and many other similar cases have rocked different parts of the country which show how serious this problem is. Web cams are being used by hotels for making porn movies of 'newly wed couples or by the room render of the same.'

Virus are the other danger for computers which corrupts the file system in a computer. They are supposed to be sent by companies selling anti-virus software for increasing their software demand. On Feb 3, 2006 almost 10,00,000 computers all over the world and 80,000 computers in Indian were corrupted by a virus, "Kamasutra is one of the manes best known in India."

Software piracy refers to the illegal installation, distribution, sale and use of infringing software. Though the industry has recorder a decrease in software piracy in the last 10 years, the rate is still alarming in India. According to the latest IDC, the money lost in 2001 from pirated software is estimated to be close to US $ 250 million, which is almost half of the legal packaged software market. Even making pirated ATM cards is not a big challenge for them.

Conclusion

Whenever technological developments take place their misuse is bound to happen simultaneously. What is important is to take right steps at the right time to control its misuse and, thank God, satisfactory steps are being taken by the Government. India has become the first country in the world to take legal action against IT's misuse by passing the IT Act, 2000, which panelizes the cyber criminals and hackers.

Network security is another field which is on high-demand in the market because MNC's , Government, semi government bodies and PSUs are becoming very conscious for their network and data security. Cyber cells in police departments have also been formed to tackle the cyber criminals.

To promote and boost software industry in India, the Government has formulated Software Technology Parks. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has given a call to make India an Information Technology super power and one of the largest generators and exporters of software in the world within ten years. As an initiating step, a high powered National Task Force on IT and Software Development has been set up by the Prime Minister's Office.