States with higher human development index (HDI) tend to have higher density of mobile phone users, a recent study by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) revealed.
HDI, which is calculated using indicators of life expectancy, education and per capita income, is a measure of opportunities available to the people and their well-being. The density of phone users, or 'teledensity', refers to the number of phone connections – in this case wireless – for every 100 residents of an area.
The study, which looks at the socio-economical factors associated with mobile ownership in India, indicates a direct relationship between mobile teledensity and HDI. While the report doesn't specify which of the two indicators is responsible for growth of the other, researchers Bino Paul GD and Ashutosh Bishnu Murti said mobile phones have played a positive role in the lives for those moving up the socio-economic ladder.
According to the report, Kerala, which boasts of the highest HDI in India, also has the highest teledensity. Other such states that have high HDI include Goa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. On the other hand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand have lower teledensity as well as low HDI.
The teledensity was calculated using 2011 census figures, while HDI figures were drawn from a United Nations Development Programme report, published in 2006.
While the report refrains from concluding the connection between mobile phones and improving socio-economic conditions, Paul said the study indicates mobile phone users tend to be better off socially and economically.
"Majority of Indians are self-employed. For them, networking is important. Mobile phones have proven to be very helpful to everyone from farmers to social activists, he said.