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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst - Tunbridge Wells - £30,000

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Test Analyst/Systems Administ...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET, C#

    £40000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Global Real Estate Software P...

    Recruitment Genius: Drupal / PHP Developer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer

    £17000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continuing growth, recru...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us