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Livelihood, Gender, and Online Platform: A Case of CSCS In Karnataka – isec

Livelihood, Gender, and Online Platform: A Case of CSCS In Karnataka

Livelihood, Gender, and Online Platform: A Case of CSCS In Karnataka


Meenakshi Rajeev and Pranav Nagendran


Abstract


The Common Services Centres (CSCs) programme, initiated by the Indian government in 2006, is an important avenue for both employment generation as well as improving the reach of government services. Women often take up these online-based activities as entrepreneurs, enabling them to achieve greater economic empowerment as well as improved social standing. However, the extent to which such a programme benefits women depends on their capabilities, which in turn is a function of the inputs they are given and the conversion factors that are present (Sen, 1993). The question arises as to which factors limit the performance of women in this regard, especially in an urban setting where internet use is relatively more prevalent. Despite better internet access, are the skills for online entrepreneurship still limited among the population? What are the important inputs, conversion factors, and business strategies that foster success in these enterprises? Are there specific obstacles that women face that need to be addressed? To answer these queries, this paper analyses data collected from 200 CSCs in urban Karnataka, using the capability framework (Sen, 1993) and finds that tangible assets are important inputs, and their effectiveness is mediated by family support. Traditional advertising methods were found to work best in attracting new customers. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic had a severe effect on CSCs’ functioning, but businesses recovered quickly, and provided significantly more income than even before the start of the crisis. Moreover, women are able to perform as effectively as men, indicating that these businesses are important avenues for women’s empowerment.

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