Digital Divides

Digital Divides

In the absence of any specific central policy on the digital divide in India, this article pieces together the different programmes, including Digital India, that address internet access and adoption issues and aim to providefor digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen as well as the digital empowerment of citizens

Globalexperiences reveal that training in the uses of the Net and training to enhance the ability to act collectively for the social good are vital accompaniments to the promise that the internet holds out for a more equitable and inclusive society

If users have to pay for the services available via the internet under the regime envisaged by TRAI, the net becomes an exercise in exclusion simply because the poor will be priced out of the benefits of digital access

Not a single one of the Eighth Schedule Indian languages is used by more than .01% of the total websites in the world. Indian languages are severely under-represented in the internet world. Facebook, which provides options in 11 of India’s 22 Eighth Schedule languages, and Google, with its search engine options in 9 languages, seem to be doing more for linguistic inclusion on the internet than either the government or Indian companies

How does India, third largest economy in the world, compare with other BRICS nations on digital inclusion? There’s not one indicator – subscribers, penetration, affordability or speed – where India ranks anywhere close to the top. Digital India has some serious work to do if it wants to achieve its ambitious targets

Three different sets of data are available on internet penetration and use in India – from TRAI, from the census and from IAMAI-IMRB. But even read together the data fails to provide a comprehensive picture of digital inclusion in India.The absence of meaningful data cannot be overemphasized as we set out to achieve Digital India goals

India had 254.40 million internet subscribers by September 2014. That’s an internet penetration of 20.39 per 100. But the picture changes when you consider that 70.23% of them are narrowband subscribers and only 29.77% access a useful connection. Less than 6% of total internet subscribers use what TRAI defines as ‘desired bandwidth speeds’. Surely digital inclusion is about more than such basic connectivity? And while government policies such as Digital India set targets for the supply/infrastructure side of digital inclusion, who is looking at adoption or demand-side issues?

In a world with 3 billion online, 1 billion websites and 40,000 google searches processed per second, being disconnected from the internet is a serious disadvantage. Prof Kannamma Raman discusses the ramifications of digital inequality


Millions of comments, conversations and tweets are added to cyberspace every day. You'd expect all this discussion and debate to be strengthening democracy and the public sphere. Prof Kannamma Raman demolishes the myth of cyberspace as inclusive public sphere in this talk organised by CCDS for students of media and communications


Poverty is a problem closely connected to a lack of information. Being disconnected from the internet isn’t just a function of being poor. It is also a reason some people stay poor

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