"Until about 10 years ago, phones in India were meant for important people with important work to do. Not for the 'aam aadmi' or 'aam aurat'. Affordable mobile phones have ... conditions faster, more efficient and I think for India more democratic," Jeffrey, who is Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies visiting professor, told reporters in New Delhi.
     
He is in India for his lecture on importance of mobile phones for a country, supported by industry body Cellular Operators Association of India. He considers 2007 Assembly elections as the first poll where mobile technology played a key role.
     
"Mayawati's party connected with their cadres through mobile phones who in turn easily contacted voters. So, mobile telephony played important role in that election which saw very low turnout of voters," Jeffrey said.
      
India at present has over 903 million mobile subscribers out of which about 780 million were active in February. Jeffrey said mobile phone service has bought fisher folk, boatmen, capitalist in metros, power yielding politicians and bureaucrats on same platform which has further strengthened democracy.

(Agencies)