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Digital India: how much digital is urban India?

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Digital India
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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)

Next Story

Canon Finds The Growth of Smartphone Sector As a Great Opportunity

According to a company survey, in 2017 unit sales of interchangeable-lens cameras in the global camera market reached approximately 11,400,000 units. In 2018, the sales are expected to again reach approximately 11,000,000 units

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Canon
Full-frame mirrorless camera is just the beginning: Canon.

More and more people, especially the millennials, are clicking photos via smartphones and for the Japanese camera giant Canon, this has created a huge market to tap as these people now want to experience something bigger and better which the camera and imaging pioneer can easily provide.

In 2017, nearly 1.3 trillion photos were taken globally — from 660 billion in 2013 — and most of the images were taken via smartphones.

“Today, more and more people are buying high-end cameras to rev up their smartphone experience. There will soon be more digital natives in the 10-50 age bracket than ever before.

“Our aim is to acquire the new generation in order to create new businesses and enhance our EOS camera ecosystem,” emphasised Go Tokura, Executive Officer and Chief Executive, Image Communication Business Operations at Canon.

Addressing a select gathering at the Canon headquarters here, Tokura said the company is aiming to build a brand new imaging world where high-end smartphones are deciding the future of camera experience.

Canon
Canon. (IANS)

In India, over 400 million people are smartphone users and more than 700 million people have feature phones who will eventually shift to smartphones for a better experience.

“Although the compact and entry-level camera market is shrinking owing to smartphones, professional and premium camera market is actually growing and our EOS series has been a phenomenal success,” Tokura told the audience.

According to the Japan-based Camera Imaging Products Association (CIPA), the shipment number of digital cameras dropped a massive 23 per cent in July this year compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, the professional camera market is growing.

“We have sold 90 million EOS cameras and 130 million EF lens so far. We have been building EOS cameras for the past 30 years and today, we have achieved high speed, ease of use and high-image quality for end users,” informed the Canon executive.

Entering the high-end full-frame mirrorless camera market, Canon on September 5 launched the EOS R — along with four RF lenses and four types of mount adapters — that ensures higher image quality and enhanced usability.

The EOS R, which will be launched in India on September 21, employs the newly-developed RF Mount. A large (54 mm) mount internal diameter and short back focus allows for an enhanced communication between the lens and camera body.

Canon
Representational image.

The Canon EOS R has a 30.3MP Full-frame CMOS sensor and an ISO range of 100 to 40,000 (expandable up to 50-102,400).

“This is a low-light marvel. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF ensures high operability and precision. The camera is built for an advanced video/movie recording in 4K UHD,” said Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi, Group Executive, ICB Products Group, Imaging Communications Business Operations, Canon.

According to a company survey, in 2017 unit sales of interchangeable-lens cameras in the global camera market reached approximately 11,400,000 units. In 2018, the sales are expected to again reach approximately 11,000,000 units.

Also Read- Environment Gets A Helping Hand From Philanthropists

“For the young millennials, we have launched three concept models this year: MF telephoto camera, intelligent company camera and an outdoor activity camera.

“Then there are wearable cameras, AWS DeepLens (a deep learning enabled video camera), Google Clips, Galaxy Gear 360 and camera-equipped drones where we are present. Canon has already taken a giant leap for the future,” Tokura noted. (IANS)