An ex-post-facto research was properly designed and conducted to have an insight into the attitude of veterinarians towards ICT utilization by taking a total of 120 VASs as the sample for research. The results highlighted that majority of the veterinarians had favourable attitude towards ICT utilization and the independent variables, extent of knowledge, familiarity in ICT tools and social participation were found to be in positively significant relation with attitude.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) was rapidly evolved during the last two decades which led to its utilization even at the field level. The current Indian scenario of demonetization has highlighted the importance of ICTs and boosted up the adoption of ICT tools like smart phones, mobile and internet banking by the citizens in order to do e-transactions. ICTs have the huge potential to bring about dynamic changes in the current livestock status whose contribution to national GDP is almost 15 per cent. Before stepping into the ICT utilization by rural livestock farmers it is very important to assess the ICT utilization by the veterinarians who are the sole veterinary extension personnel at the field level. A more positive attitude of veterinarians towards ICT utilization in day-to-day activities at field level was found to be a paramount issue in order to improve ICT adoption by livestock farmers in the process of livestock development.
Ex-post-facto research was designed and conducted in Andhra Pradesh by selecting a total sample of 120 veterinarians working as Veterinary Assistant Surgeons (VAS) in Animal Husbandry Department of Andhra Pradesh. The sample was selected by taking 40 VASs each from Srikakulam, Guntur and Chittoor districts which are in the northernmost, central and southernmost parts of the state. A pre-tested and structured interview schedule was administered to the respondents to collect the data and the data thus collected were subjected to suitable statistical tools for interpreting the results. To avoid gender bias, a ratio of 3:1 was maintained for selection of men and women veterinarians, respectively which was almost proportionate to the gender ratio of VASs in the selected districts.
Results and Discussion
Attitude of Veterinarians towards ICT Utilization
Data from Table 1 depicted that majority (64.17%) of the veterinarians had a favourable attitude towards ICT utilization, followed by more favourable (19.17%) and less favourable (16.67%) attitudes. Favourable and more favourable attitudes would evoke an interest in the individuals to adopt certain technologies like ICTs. The results suggested that veterinarians are ready to use ICT tools and to get trained in it for effective service delivery. Higher degree of attitude towards ICT utilization suggests the efficient use of time and energy in day-to-day life professional activities like, information acquisition, dissemination and storage which were laborious before the invention of ICTs.
Table 1: Distribution of veterinarians according to attitude towards ICT utilization (N = 120)
These results were supported by the findings of Verma et al., (2012), Kabir (2015), Raksha et al., (2014), Hashemi et al., (2014) and Raja Shekar and Sandhya (2011).
Relationship between Independent Variables and Attitude of the Veterinarians towards ICT Utilization (Pearson’s Coefficient of Correlation)
Table 2 indicated that there was a positive and significant relationship between social participation and attitude of the veterinarians at 1 per cent level of significance. Social participation would bring about m-ore awareness and familiarity in ICT tools. The ease of use and instantaneous communication which were of utmost importance in social networking would be the reason for more favourable attitude towards ICT utilization.
Table 2: Relationship between independent variables and attitude
|S. No.||Independent Variable||Correlation Coefficient (r)|
|3.||Work experience||0.009 NS|
|6.||Social participation||0.271 **|
|8.||Management orientation||0.136 NS|
|9.||Mass media exposure||0.124 NS|
|10.||Extent of knowledge||0.192 *|
|12.||Information management behavior||0.142 NS|
|13.||Trainings Acquired||-0.079 NS|
* Significant at 0.05 level of probability;** Significant at 0.01 level of probability; NS: Non-significant
It was inferred from the pattern of extent of knowledge and familiarity in ICT tools that they were positively correlated with the attitude of veterinarians at 5 per cent level of significance. This could be supported by the fact that familiarity in ICT utilization would lead to increased frequency of utilization of ICT tools for daily activities which would eventually improve the knowledge of individuals in different aspects of ICT tools. Familiarity was also a positive factor for the improvement of information management and social participation. Thus, both directly and indirectly familiarity would act as a factor for improving the attitude of veterinarians towards ICT tools.
The variables viz. gender, background and trainings acquired in ICTs were non-significantly in negative correlation with the attitude of veterinarians towards ICT utilization. This trend of gender indicated that male veterinarians had more positive attitude towards ICT utilization compared to lady veterinarians. Lack of knowledge among female veterinarians and low level of utilization might be the probable reason for this situation. The independent variable, background indicated that veterinarians from rural background might have developed more favourable attitude towards ICT utilization due to recognizing the usefulness and ease of use of the ICT tools in comparison with the traditional ways they might have followed since their childhood in the rural environment and they might not have recognized few drawbacks of ICTs like, information overload and reliability of information in internet. The trend in trainings acquired might be due to the influence of vast majority of the individuals who had not received any training in ICTs. The general trend would be increased attitude due to experience in training supported by increased knowledge, familiarity and information management.
Combined Effect of Independent Variables on Attitude of the Veterinarians
In order to determine the combined effect of independent variables in explaining the variation in attitude of the veterinarians, Multiple Linear Regression analysis was carried out. The calculated coefficient of determination (R2) value with partial regression coefficient (b) values and their corresponding‘t’ values are given in Table 3.
Table 3: Multiple linear regression analysis of independent variables with attitude of the veterinarians
|S. No.||Independent Variable||Partial Regression Coefficient Value (b)||‘t’ Value|
|9||Mass media exposure||-0.041||-0.359|
|10||Extent of knowledge||0.027||0.164|
|12||Information management behavior||-0.011||-0.087|
The ‘R2’value (0.165) indicated that all the independent variables put together explained about 16.50 per cent of variation in attitude of the veterinarians. The partial regression coefficients presented in Table 3 reveal that the independent variables viz. age, gender, background, mass media exposure, information management behavior and training are negatively related and the variables viz. work experience, schooling, social participation, innovativeness, management orientation, extent of knowledge and familiarity were positively related to the attitude of the veterinarians, but non-significantly. It could be suggested that other variables like, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, family education, profession of parents etc., might be included in order to achieve more variation.
At the advent of digitalization, every sector is gearing up its structure as well as services towards e-sources wherein, livestock sector is not an excuse. The study emphasized that veterinarians are widely using the ICT tools in their day-to-day professional activities and possessed favourable attitude towards using ICT tools for easy and timely service delivery and the same may be because of their innovativeness, familiarity and regular update of knowledge.