INFO-I 400: IT in Emerging Markets-India
Fall 2016

Esfandiar Haghverdi
Informatics East 216
Office Hours: By appointment only.

Matt Hottell
Informatics West 118
Office Hours: By appointment only.


1st 8 weeks, Friday
10:00 am – 12:45 pm, IW 107



Weekly schedule

Course Description This course provides an introduction to the role that Information Technology plays in emerging economies with special emphasis on India. We will cover country analysis drawing upon multiple sources including World Bank, IMF, and World Economic Forum, to name a few. We shall also identify and investigate IT-related initiatives, reforms, and policies by the government of India going back to 1991 and the reforms of Manmohan Singh. IT start-up culture and ecosystem will be studied in detail as well where we shall try to identify the challenges and attitude towards such entrepreneurial activities. The main focus of this course will be an in-depth study of Digital India Program. In addition, students will be prepared to engage in business activities in India by learning about the basic characteristics of Indian culture and history.


Credit hours: 3 = 2 cr course, 1 cr trip
Trip expenses: Approximately $3500.
Trip: Delhi and Pune, India from December 27, 2016 to January 7th, 2017.

Course Rationale We strongly believe that SOIC students will benefit from a global and international experience. In particular, India presents lots of challenges and opportunities for IT-minded students where one can analyze the impact of IT in the development of Indian economy, and where one can also contemplate possible future interactions with Indian IT companies, start-ups and related government branches, etc. The experience gained in a trip to the country when put together with the technical expertise and historical/cultural background information gained in classroom prior to the trip is truly invaluable.

At least sophomore standing in the program, technical and emotional maturity, interest in India and Indian economy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to clearly identify the role of information technology in Indian economy post 1991 reform policies.
  2. Students will be able to read, interpret, and analyze related data from World Economic Forum, World Bank, IMF, and Transparency International.
  3. Students will become familiar with some general characteristics of Indian economy post independence.
  4. Students will understand the Digital India initiative of Narendra Modi’s government in reasonable detail.
  5. Students will acquire familiarity with IT landscape in New Delhi and Pune.
  6. Students will have direct encounters with government officials in New Delhi, in particular in the context of Digital India program.
  7. Students will be able to accurately describe the basic demographics, culture, and brief history of India and the Indian people.

Topics covered

  • Language, culture, and religion in India
  • Structure of Indian society: caste and class
  • IT in emerging markets in the context of India
  • IT for development in the context of India
  • IT in India: Barriers, opportunities, challenges, policies, and reforms
  • Digital India Initiative

Required Textbook

  • Reimagining India: Unlocking the potential of Asia’s next superpower. Edited by C. Chandler and A. Zainulbhai editors at McKinsey & Company. Simon and Schuster, 2013.

    There is no single textbook that covers the material we have in mind. However the collection of articles edited by McKinsey and Company above is an excellent source of material that comes closest to our goals for this course. In addition to this textbook we will use a variety of resources including websites, articles in newspapers, magazines, journals, and books. See below for a reading listing.

Recommended Textbooks

  1. Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation. By Nandan Nilekani. The Penguin Press, 2009.

    This is an invaluable resource that gives the reader a complete panoramic view of all aspects of Indian society with sufficient historical background to place things in context. It is written by one of the co-founders of Infosys (the Microsoft of India). We strongly recommend reading this book to those who are interested in getting a complete picture of how things evolve in India, especially how IT has played a crucial role after the reform policies of Manmohan Singh in 1991.

  2. Rebooting India, Realizing a billion aspirations. By Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah. Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2015.

Reading List:

  1. P. Wolcott and S. Goodman, Global Diffusion of the Internet I: India: Is the Elephant Learning to Dance? Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Volume 11, 2003, pp. 560-646.
  2. Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development. World Economic Forum, 2014.
  3. S. Sadagopan, IT in India, IEEE Computer Society, 2012, pp. 14-17.
  4. Accenture Development Partnerships Technology in Development: Engaging with people in emerging markets, 2014.
  5. India Education Practice, Partnering for Success. Deloitte report, 2014.
  6. S. Murugesan, IT and Emerging Markets, Computing Now, 2012.
  7. Alok Aggarwal, India’s Role in the Globalization of IT, Communications of the ACM July 2008.
  8. Digital India: Unleashing Prosperity, manuscript.
  9. Digital India, Report published by Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.
  10. Globalization and Offshoring of Software A Report of the ACM Job Migration Task Force, William Aspray, Frank Mayadas, Moshe Y. Vardi, Editors. 2004. Available online at
  11. Chapter on India from the book Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: ASIA, T. Morrison and W.A. Conaway, 2007.

Interesting/useful sites:

  1. India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. India travel guide - Wikitravel
  3. India - The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency
  4. National Portal of India
  5. The Hindu
  6. Nandan Nilekani
  7. McKinsey and Company
  8. The World Bank
  9. World Economic Forum
  10. IMF
  11. Transparency International
  12. Investopedia

Handouts and Homework: All handouts and homework assignments will be posted on Canvas.


  • In-class activity and discussion: 25%
  • Homework assignments: 25%
    • There will be weekly homework.
    • Each homework will be assigned on a Friday and will be due the Friday after, in class.
    • Solutions must be written LEGIBLY.
  • Final project: 25%
  • Return report: 25%.

Course Components:

  • In-class activity and discussion: Students will be working in teams of 2-3 each. All assigned required reading in the weekly schedule above must be completed by all teams prior to the class session. During the class all teams need to participate in the discussion around the subject matter for that class. Moreover in some class sessions we may ask for an explicit brief activity to be completed in class, working in groups.
  • Homework: There will be weekly homework assignments due the week after in class. Students are encouraged to work together on these problems and questions but those that require an individual response must be their work in their own terms reflecting their individual thinking and style.
  • Final project: Students will choose a project from a list of projects that will be provided by the instructors 3 weeks prior to the end of the term. Students will work in teams to complete their projects which will have a written report as a deliverable. In case a team of students wishes to undertake a project that may not appear in the instructor list they shall get the approval of the instructors prior to engaging with the project. A very nice example of the kind of project could be a much shorter version of item 1 in the reading list above that covers the topic of diffusion of Internet in India. Other project topics include Data-Driven Development, Barriers to Embracing IT in India, The Role of Cloud Computing in India, Role of IT in Education Initiatives in India, Investment Policy in IT in India, etc.
  • Return report: Upon their return students working in teams shall deliver a written report and a slide presentation or a poster of their experience in India covering all aspects of their trip and connecting their trip learning experience to the course material covered in class.

Ground rules:

  • I strongly advise you to attend all the classes and take good notes.
  • Late homework will NOT be accepted.
  • The final grade will be calculated according to the evaluation scheme given above and these grades will then be curved to determine your letter grades. However if you get less that 25/100 on the final project or your total grade is less than 45/100 your final grade will automatically be an F.
  • NO Incomplete grades will be given under any condition.
  • NO extra work, extra credit or anything outside the regular homeworks and midterms will be assigned. Please plan your study strategy during the term accordingly.
  • Grading mistakes:
    If during the semester you feel there has been a mistake made in your grading by the AIs, please contact them first. If after meeting with the AIs you still feel there is a problem with the marking, please contact me.
  • Collaborative work:
    One of the best ways to learn new material is to collaborate in groups. You may discuss the homework problems with your classmates, and in this way make the learning process more enjoyable. However, the homework you hand in must be your own work, in your own words and your own explanation.
  • Here is the link to The Code of Student Conduct.