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Digital Divide And India

Published: 5th Apr, 2024


During his interaction with Gates, PM Modi covered a spectrum of critical topics ranging from AI to India's impressive advancements in digital technology. Pointing to technology's role in sectors like agriculture, education, and healthcare, Modi ruled out a digital divide in India.

1: Dimension-Trends of Digital Divide

  • Gap: There exists a grave digital divide in India wherein gaps exist in the usage of the internet and access to digital infrastructure based on gender, area of residence whether rural-urban, caste, or age.
  • Gender inequality: Men have greater access to the internet and greater ownership of mobile phones. However, it is important to note that there have been some improvements in women’s access to cell phones between 2015–16 and 2019–21 which demonstrates that the efforts to reduce the digital divide are steadily coming into fruition.
  • Rural-Urban divide: While there might be small variances, urban men are much better off than others both in terms of access to the internet and ownership of phones when compared to urban women, rural men, and rural women.

2: Dimension-Implications of digital divide

  • Further increasing inequality: The inability to access technology has the potential to increase existing social exclusions and deprive individuals of essential resources.
  • Impact on employment: Digital literacy is no longer a luxury but a prerequisite for active participation in today's job market.
  • Impact on every aspect of life: With the increasing dependence on digital technologies and the internet, the digital divide has ramifications on education, health, mobility, safety, financial inclusion, and every other imaginable aspect of life.

Way forward

Whilst several government initiatives like the National Digital Literacy Mission and the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan have been introduced to increase digital literacy, there is a need to ramp up such efforts.

It is also important to improve the existing digital infrastructure to ensure physical access to ICT to different sections of society. At the same time, underprivileged groups need to be motivated to incorporate technology into their daily lives and digital skills need to be imparted to allow such a change.

Fact Box: Statistics of Digital India

  • According to ICRIER’s State of India Digital Economy 2024 report, while “India as a nation is highly digitalised, the average Indian is not”.
  • Nearly 48 % of Indians do not access the internet and the quality of fixed line internet services does not match up to other G20 countries.
  • According to IAMAI’s internet in India report 2023, at 759 million, 52% Indians have access to the internet.
  • India’s gender gap in internet connectivity is, at 10%, higher than the world average of 9%, and the rural-urban divide is at 58%, higher than the world average of 49%.
  • While the digital divide along gender is large, it is declining.


Q: Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based projects/programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors and suggest measures for their effective implementation. (UPSC 2019)


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