Role of Mobile technology in assisting decentralization process among Paniya tribes in Wayanad, Kerala

There has been much discussion amongst academics about the potential of using technology to facilitate greater interaction between the state and its citizens. Associated with the welfare of tribal community government of India has initiated various plans targeted at the uplift of the tribes to the fore front of the society. The present study examines the interaction of the state with the Paniya tribes in Wayanad from the perspective of Communicative Ecology. It discusses the ‘social layer’ wherein the community is connected to different local government institutions that facilitate ‘decentralized governance’. The ‘technical layer’ addresses the incorporation of technologies, particularly mobile technology, in communication practices that connect the processes to the ‘social layer’. It is found that the ‘technical layer’ has mobilised activities occurring at grass root level and provides new solutions to the issues in ways that was not possible before the advent of mobile technologies in this community.The study further suggests the formation of a mobile app based project that facilitate bottom up conversations, where Paniyas tribal people are able to communicate their needs and grievances to the state. The project aims at receiving feedback from the community related to the implementation of various schemes and enable fruitful analysis of day to day issues of the disadvantaged which helps in the proper execution of the ‘tribal welfare programmes’ of the state.