Bridging Digital Divide : Effort in India

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Writer : Siriginidi Subbao Rao (published 2005)

Abstract

The fruits of Information Technology sector such as the Internet blue chips, online shop- ping and nanosecond email have failed to cure century-old malaises like illiteracy, poverty and unemployment in India. The paper presents few facts about digital divide based on global and the USA perspective, its definition and types as global, regional and national, and societal implications. It highlights India in the context of digital divide by discussing its infrastructural bottleneck that includes electricity, IT penetration, teledensity and Internet industry, and its enabling policies to transform India as a knowledge society. It discusses various technology options for connectivity, viz. terrestrial wireless, satellite, wireline, etc. and presents snap shots of select successful projects that made an impact in helping to bridge digital divide in India, viz. passenger reservation system, Akashganga, Akshaya e-centres, Bhoomi, etc. It concludes that creation of Information and Communication Technologies infrastructure and content are the core methodologies, and a national agenda on a C-8 thrust towards: connectivity provi- sion, content creation, capacity augmentation, core technologies creation and exploitation, cost reduction, competence building, community participation and commitment to the deprived and disadvantaged would definitely help in bridging digital divide. 

Keywords: Digital divide; India; Societal implications; Connectivity options and projects

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