Why is India lagging behind smaller nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan in mobile ownership? India has a gap of 22% between urban and rural mobile phone ownership and even falls behind much smaller economies like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kenya, a new research revealed.
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According to research, Kenya has 9% urban-rural handset ownership divide, Bangladesh 7%, and Pakistan has a mere 5% disparity. These statistics display a disturbing state of affairs in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) domain especially at a time when Indian PM Narendra Modi’s ambitious Digital India program is entering into fifth-year. With an initial aim to achieve 100% teledensity by 2018-19, the timeline has now been changed to 2022.
“There is a 22% gap between urban and rural populations in mobile ownership, which is the largest gap among the Asian nations studied,” according to LIRNEasia.
The research noted that 55% are elementary phones that have no internet connection, in addition to 16% feature phones and 28% smartphones that are being used in India at present. The research also disclosed that 65% Indians between the 15 and 65 years of age group don’t even know about the Internet and 81% claim that they never used it before.
The NDA-led government, according to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) website, has given significant weight on growth of internet and broadband in the nation as part its Digital India campaign, and revealed that India’s internet connections stood at 431.21 million as of June 2017 that comprises 293.82 million in metropolitan areas and 137.39 million in rural areas.
“Given that total urban population is much lower than total rural population, the urban-rural digital divide is actually more severe than what the penetration figures describe. The think tank’s conclusions were based on a survey of 38,005 families and people across 18 developing countries through a 90-minute long engagement.