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'Digital divide' persists despite the country's desire to become a digital giant

  A recent report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) brings forth the dichotomy between digital divide and India’s transition towards a cashless economy. The rural-urban divide in access to computer and internet is quite stark, according to the report entitled 'Key Indicators of Household Social Consumption on Education in India, July 2017 to June 2018'.   The 75th round National Sample Survey (NSS) report on education finds that...

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‘Just 18% of rural, 49% of city youths can use computers’ -Mahendra K Singh

-The Times of India NEW DELHI: The government aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society through its Digital India programme but it may have a task at hand with a recent survey showing that only 18 per cent of those in the age group of 14-29 years in villages and 49 per cent in cities were able to operate a computer in 2014. Indicating the Herculean task awaiting the government,...

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World Bank opposes Facebook’s Free Basics -Yashwant Raj

-Hindustan Times Washington: Mark Zuckerberg’s Free Basics, the free but restrictive internet service that has run into trouble with Indian authorities, has picked up yet another opponent, the World Bank. Its World Development Report released Wednesday called Free Basics, which is a part of Facebook’s internet.org initiative, the “antithesis of net neutrality and a distortion of markets”. The bank is not opposing Free Basics specifically, or its Indian rollout. It believes any attempt...

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Lower spectrum cost, right of way for cheaper Access to Internet -Nikhil Pahwa

-Hindustan Times During his town hall address at IIT Delhi, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “Those who don’t have access to the internet cannot sign online petitions.” But how can he decide what is best for them? Recent research by Amba Kak at the Oxford Internet Institute found that financially constrained users prefer buying shorter duration Internet plans (e.g. three days) with all access, as opposed to WhatsApp-only plans that are...

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The future of Digital India mission appears dim

The Digital India Mission, launched by the NDA government, aims to connect 2.5 lakh village panchayats with high speed broadband internet by December, 2016 so that citizens can access online services. However, available facts reveal that this is a difficult task to be accomplished. In rural areas, among the youth aged 14-29 about 82 percent do not know how to operate a computer. In urban areas, nearly 51 percent of youth...

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