Digital divide is still wide across many nations – especially in India. A recent study done by World Economic Forum has reported that most developing countries are continuously struggling to bridge the digital divide of providing access to computers and the Internet for low-income citizens. Many of the large developing nations including India are lagging behind in these efforts.
Does Digital Divide Affect Us?
The factors which have caused the digital gap among citizens include socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and geographic location. According to the report- ‘Internet Users and E-Commerce Demographics India 2013’ released by eStateIndia.com, India’s population at the end of 2012 was 1.23 billion, up from 1.03 billion in 2010, while the Internet users in the same period increased from 69.2 million to 116.18 million, which is just 9.6% of the total population. This means that less than 1 in every 10 households owns a computer and this needs to be improved.
Citizens who do not have computers or internet access at home may end up missing the vast information available on the web; it may result in societal inequality in terms of access to information.
Student community is one of the worst sufferers; it not only affects students’ access to institutional resources, but also minimizes their opportunities to use technology. In addition, students from low-income families may not get admissions in a desired university because of their insufficient technology background.
The gifts of Information Technology (IT) have failed to cure century-old malaises like illiteracy, poverty and unemployment in the country. India worries about the rapid developments being made in the IT industry, which has widened the gap between the country’s privileged urban mass and the under privileged rural populace.
The Local Efforts
The technology driven world has made computing a lifestyle. But do we all have equal access to information technology in India? Are computers and Internet affordable to each Indian?
Sadly, the answer is no! Why? The price of advanced technology is still out of reach of an Aam Admi. There is a vast gap between the rich and the poor strata of our society. ReNew IT— a Bangalore based refurbished computer provider, has been working towards bridging this gap by making technology affordable. In a country like India where digital divide is so rampant, refurbished low cost computers can be the key solution to fight against the challenges posed by the digital inequalities.
Computers still remain unaffordable for a large segment of the Indian population and this is the segment where ReNew IT is trying to step in to organize a predominantly unorganized market.
The digital divide can never be controlled in isolation but the effort has to be multi-dimensional and multi-pronged. Making computers affordable is one of the practical initiatives to bridge this gap