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India Inequality Report 2022

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    16th Dec, 2022

Context

The report titled ‘India Inequality Report 2022: Digital Divide’ released by Oxfam India shows that the growing inequalities based on caste, religion, gender, class, and geographic location are being replicated in the digital space in India.

Key Highlights of the report:

  • Rural-Urban Divide:
    • Only 31 percent of the rural population uses the Internet compared to 67 percent of their urban counterparts
    • Maharashtra has the highest internet penetration, while Bihar has the lowest.
  • Religion and Caste wise Divide:
    • Sikhs have the highest likelihood of having a computer followed by Christians, Hindus, and lastly Muslims.
    • The tendency to use formal financial services is lowest for ST households, followed by SC households and OBC households.
  • Gender Divide:
    • Women constitute only one-third of internet users in India
    • 61% of men-owned mobile phones compared to just 31 % of women in 2021
  • Indian Women internet users:
    • Indian women are 15 percent less likely to own a mobile phone and 33 percent less likely to use mobile internet services than men.
    • Women constitute only one-third of internet users in India.
    • India’s position globally: In Asia-Pacific, India fares the worst with the widest gender gap of 40.4 percent.
  • Division because of poverty:
    • The chances of having a computer are higher with higher levels of education as well as income.
    • The likelihood of a digital payment by the richest 60 per cent is four times more than the poorest 40 per cent in India.

Determinants of the Digital Divide

  • Low literacy and income levels
  • Geographical restrictions
  • Lack of motivation to use technology
  • Lack of access to technology
  • Digital illiteracy

What is Digital Divide?

  • The digital divide refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access.

Challenges associated with the Digital divide in India:

  • Geographical Diversity: Rural India is still deprived of the facilities of urban India because of its geographical location.
  • Illiteracy and Poverty: A large part of the population is fighting for its daily basic needs. They do not bother about high-speed devices and digitization. They are more worried about food and shelter.
  • Population: It is a challenge for a developing country to serve a population of 1.30 billion uniformly.
  • Lack of Participation: It is observed that often the rural people are not very much attracted to web-based E-Governance services for various reasons.

Recommendations in the Report:

  • Bridge India’s current income inequality by improving the income of the poor.

Government Initiatives to bridge digital divide:

  • Digital India Initiative
  • Digital Payments
  • Jan-Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity:
  • Bharat Net
  • PM e-VIDYA
  • Optical Fibre Network (NOF-N)
  • Digital Mobile Library
  • The most basic step toward bridging the digital divide is ensuring the availability of the internet.
  • To ensure universal access to internet connectivity, it has to be affordable for the masses.
  • Conduct Digital Literacy camps.
  • Establish a responsive and accountable grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Governments also need to consider low- or no-tech solutions.
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