India's 'digital divide' worst among BRICs: study

Most Indians are missing out on the "digital revolution" due to poor Internet access for the nation's poor, despite the economy boasting one of the world's strongest growth rates, a study found.

The study said India was at "extreme risk" from a lack of "digital inclusion" - along with sub-Saharan Africa - as a vast proportion of its 1.2 billion population were being left behind shut out of the so-called.

"Digital inclusion has the potential to bring education to people in countries where educational infrastructure is limited and the development of cadres of teachers is still constrained," said Alyson Warhurst, head of risk analysis firm MapleCroft, which carried out the survey.

Digital inclusion is also crucial in helping people take part in economic activities and improves democratic governance, Warhurst added.

A Digital Inclusion Index compiled by British risk analysis firm MapleCroft found that of 186 countries surveyed India was in the lowest category, well behind its peers Russia and China in the so-called BRIC grouping of emerging economies.

India's economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and, having powered out of the global financial crisis, this year is expected to expand 8.6 percent and 9.0 percent next year.

However, the study found that its population is not feeling the benefit and was being largely deprived of access to the Internet.

On a scale of one to 138 with one being the worst, India stood at 39, in the same "extreme risk" category as Niger, which ranked number one, Chad and Ethiopia.

Russia stood at 134, Brazil at 110 and China at 103, all of whom are classified as being at "medium risk", still well behind those in developed economies.

The Netherlands came top of the index at 186, with Sweden at 183 and Britain at 182.

India is the world's fastest-growing mobile market with some 771 million mobile subscribers and monthly additions averaging around 19 million.

But the survey found it was just the wealthier segment of India's population, mainly based in urban areas, who use modern communications technology.

Rural areas and the poor have little access to information communication technologies.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the digital divide between the country's urban and rural sectors a matter of serious concern.

The biggest impediments to wider use of the Internet in India was expense, lack of education - India has an adult literacy rate of just under 63 percent - and poor connectivity in many parts of India, the study found.

However, India now is rolling out third-generation (3G) phone services which give access to the Internet and this is expected to be a major boost to rural Internet usage.

China has the largest number of Internet users in the world with 420 million, accounting for over half Asia's Internet users.

But Maplecroft said Internet freedom in China remained a problem.

"Despite the Chinese government's efforts to expand Internet connectivity across the nation having seen how it can aid economic growth, the Internet remains heavily controlled," the study said.

The survey looked at 186 countries to identify those nations whose populations were being stifled by a lack of "digital inclusion." It used 10 indicators to assess communications technology, including mobile and broadband subscriptions.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Designer

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Kent based design consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Gazetteer Consultant

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...

    Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'