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Digital India: how much digital is urban India?

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Digital India
Image source: youtube.com

Pune: A new study carried out in the city indicated that India’s Internet use is low and not reflected in the numbers of mobile phone connections and growth. The study points towards the prevalence of digital inequality in the urban areas.

Carried out in Pune, a rapidly growing metropolis of 5.92 million people, its economy is driven in large part by information technology, the study found:

– 82 percent of people surveyed in low-income neighborhoods don’t use The Internet

– 56 percent of households have no Internet users at all

– 41 percent of non-users have never heard of the Internet

– 43 percent of people between 16-25 years of age do not use Internet.

The results are likely to be similar in more prosperous cities, such as Bengaluru and Delhi, worse in poorer cities.

Although Internet users in India are increasing rapidly, and the country is Asia-Pacific’s fastest growing smartphone market, only 22 percent of the adult population in India uses the Internet, compared to the global median of 67 percent, according to this survey by Pew Research Center, a US research institute.

India lags behind most major economies and performs worse than Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Indonesia, among other countries, the data reveals.

Yet, in absolute numbers, India likely overtook the US and became the country with the world’s second-largest Internet market, with 402 million active Internet users in December 2015. These figures clearly hide great variations, the Pune study revealed.

The study, “Towards Digital Inclusion: Barriers to Internet Access for Economically and Socially Excluded Communities”, conducted in low-income and socially excluded neighbourhoods by the Centre for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS), a Pune non-profit organisation, provides rare empirical evidence of digital inequality.

Pune has grown rapidly over the last two decades to become the eighth-largest urban agglomeration in India. In 2015, Pune ranked second only to Bengaluru in software exports from India. The city has as many as 3.6 million Internet users (a 34% year-on-year growth), according to “Internet in India 2014”, a report from Internet and Mobile Association of India.

These are the six main observations the study made about Pune’s digital inequality:

I. 84 percent of women do not use the Internet compared to 42 percent men. Only 26 percent of all Internet users were women, and 84% of all surveyed women do not use Internet, compared to 42 percent of all men.

There are several stereotypical beliefs that augment this gender digital inequality, according to the CCDS study. For instance: It is primarily men in the household who acquire smartphones, while women are handed down older, basic phones without data access, or feature phones that allow only limited Internet applications.

Parents believe that girls don’t need mobiles since they stay at home more than boys. There is also a widespread feeling that mobiles made available to women will lead to unwanted romantic liaisons and “exploitation”.

Boosting Internet access for women has the potential to boost their participation in the labour force, according to this Mckinsey study. Recently, several villages in Gujarat banned mobile phones for girls and single women, a confirmation of widespread patriarchal norms hindering gender equality.

II. Better education increases chances of Internet access. As many as 56 percent of households with at least one member with a class 10 education or enrolled currently were “connected”, meaning, at least, one Internet user, as compared to 14 percent of households without anyone with a similar education.

The number of non-Internet users decreases with increasing education levels. Of those who never attended school/had any primary education, only 3 percent access the Internet, compared to 83 percent of those who are graduates and above.

III. Wealthier households are more likely to use Internet. Only 29.4 percent of households in the first wealth quintile (poorest) were connected, compared to 62.8 percent of households in the fifth quintile (richest).

IV. Younger people are more connected to the Internet. 53.5 percent of all Internet users were between 16 and 20 years of age. The percentage decreased with age, as the chart below shows.

V. Occupation plays a significant role in increasing access. 46.5 percent of Internet users were students, while 26.2 percent were in the service sector, establishing a link between occupation and access.

VI. Having a smartphone increases chances of Internet use. As many as 77 percent of households with a smartphone-accessed the Internet, compared to 30 percent of households without a smartphone.

“Smartphone users are leading India’s Internet growth,” said this recent report from Google India. A direct correlation between access to Internet and smartphone ownership was noticeable in the Pew survey.

Only 17 percent of Indian adults own a smartphone, according to the survey by Pew Research. Only 7 percent of adults in low-income families own a smartphone; the figure for wealthier families is 22 percent.

Other key findings:

– As many as 27.5 percent of non-users reported that lack of understanding of the Internet and how to use it was a major reason for not going online

– Men are eight times more likely to use the Internet than women

– As many as 21 percent of non-users believe that the Internet is not useful for women

– The number was 32 percent for Internet users

– As many as 35 percent of male users and 24 percent of female users felt the Internet had increased their confidence and enhanced their personality

– Only 8 percent of users said they found the Internet useful in finding out about government benefits.

The CCDS field research was spread across six low-income settlements, 1,634 households and 5,999 citizens in Ambedkar Nagar, Janata Vasahat, Laxmi Nagar and Patil Estate in Pune Municipal Corporation areas and Anand Nagar, Mahatma Phule Nagar in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area. (Devanik Saha, IANS)

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Delhi University Students Win the Enactus World Cup 2017

India wins the Enactus World Cup 2017

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Delhi University
India wins Enactus World Cup 2017. Twitter.

New Delhi, Sep 30: After an extremely tough competition between different students across the world in the Enactus World Cup 2017, Team India, represented by Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), Delhi University emerged as the winner. The winning projects were project UDAAN and Mission RAAHAT.

Supporting the Government of India’s Digital India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission, RAAHAT strives to effectively eliminate open defecation and provide safe sanitation in the urban slums; whereas, UDAAN aims at narrowing the digital divide between rural and urban India by setting up computer centres.

The Delhi University college team was led by the college’s faculty advisor, Anuja Mathur and student president of SSCBS Student President Aditya Sharma. The winning projects included 34 more members. The Enactus India and Enactus SSCBS were presented the Ford Better World Award of USD 50,000.

Also Read: Three Indian Women on Fortune’s Most Powerful Business Women

President and Global CEO, Enactus, Rachael A. Jarosh congratulated the Indian for winning the world cup and called the projects- RAAHAT and UDAAN, inspirational success stories of Enactus students, who are sowing businesses. She said that the projects address the real world challenges efficiently and innovatively. Enactus India President Farhan Pettiwala said that the two projects created by Delhi University students contribute to the country’s betterment, as they support the Government’s civil and social agenda.

Enactus is an international nonprofit organisation, with 72,000 students from 1,700 universities in 36 countries, which held its annual global event in London from September 26 to 28. A selected group of 3,500 students, business, government leaders and academicians across the globe were present at the event. Participants for the final competition round are qualified from over 72,000 university students. Each team has about 17 minutes to present their projects of entrepreneurial action.

Enactus works to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of students, and to address fundamental, social and economic challenges by developing innovative and experiential learning opportunities for students.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.

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Three Perils of Smartphones Your Teen May be Prone to!

Undermentioned are the three effects of smartphones

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Smartphones
Girl using smartphones. Pixabay

Aug 03, 2017: Owning a smartphone is one of the essential things for the youths today, not knowing the fact that extreme usage of the mobile phone can cause an irreversible damage to the mental and physical health. Youngsters have involved smartphones in their routine to an extent that they work, play, eat and sleep according to their mobile phones.

Albert Einstein aptly said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

There are plethora of negative impacts of cell phones on teenagers and mentioned below are the three effects of smartphones :

1. Possessing a smart phone will prompt your teen to spend all day hanging upon the device, instead of doing anything productive. Teens who spend much of their time with cell phones are more predisposed to stress and fatigue. It can also lead to psychological disorders in some cases.

Also Read: This new method will change the way you charge your smartphones

2. Many teenagers keep their cell phones nearby while sleeping to respond to texts and calls, which leads to sleep disruption and interruption. Improper sleep in return makes the person irritable and weak.

3. Electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones get absorbed in the tissues when we hold the phone for prolonged period of time. The nervous systems of your teens are still developing and thus longer usage of phones may trigger a greater risk of developing brain cancer from cell phones than adults.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

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Google and RailTail work together to make the project ‘Free WiFi for over 400 Indian Railway stations’ happen

RailTail claims that 6 million people use the WiFi network every month

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Free WiFi for over 400 Indian railway stations
Free WiFi at railway station. Wikimedia Commons
  • Google first announced a plan to install high-speed wifi at 400 Indian railway stations, in September 2015
  • The project went live in January 2016
  • As a part of the project, Google and RailTail work simultaneously 

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: Free WiFi for over 400 Indian Railway stations Is turning out to be a big hit, and what’s better is the fact that Google has claimed, of the WiFi coverage and capacity being better than that in London or San Francisco.

“If you compare this (quality of internet) with Wi-Fi in London and San Francisco, you will find that the Wi-Fi is better in both coverage and capacity,” said Gulzar Azad, the Country Head Connectivity at Google India, in an interview with India Today.

The internet, according to Azad is “dynamically configured” in a way that the user is able to run apps like WhatsApp and search pages even when a cap for high-speed is consumed after 30 minutes.

Google, first announced a plan to install high-speed wifi at 400 Indian railway stations, in September 2015. The plan was in support of prime minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India campaign.

It was in January 2016 that the project went live, with Mumbai Central station in India’s financial capital becoming India’s first railway station to provide free, high-speed WiFi.

RailTel Corporation of India, a mini-ratna PSU under the Ministry of Railways, has been tasked with providing fast WiFi, called RailWire, for passengers at A1 & A category railway stations across the country. For this, RailTel has tied up Google, the latter being a technology partner, mentioned the Financial Express report.

Also read: Google rolls out free WiFi service at Udhagamandalam (Ooty) station in Tamil Nadu

“Under this partnership, we had a target of completing 100 stations by the end of December 2016. Surpassing the target, we completed 110 stations by the end of 2016. We now have taken up a target of completing 200 stations by the end of 2017,” a RailTel spokesperson told FE Online.

As a part of the project, Google and RailTel are working simultaneously, with RailTel providing the power and fiber network structure for the project, and Google bringing in its expertise on the radio access network front and to enable user experience for mobiles, laptops and other WiFi enabled devices.

RailTail claims that 6 million people use the WiFi network every month.

People who pass through these stations every day now have an access to fast Internet speed to stream, research their destination or download a new book or game for the journey ahead, according to railways.

-by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha