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Internet penetration can change Indian rural landscape

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The future of India lies in its villages, the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi is the reality of India today and we are not leaving any stone unturned to achieve that. This agrarian country is soon going to be the second largest internet user base in the world and this is merely the beginning of a developing rural India.

India rural population is 83.3 Corers and it is sighting a boom of internet usage as the number of users are growing at a pace where it is expected to touch 87 million users by December 2015, and 109 million by June 2016.

India has a growing internet penetration in the villages, producing new probabilities of sharing information and services among the rural people. There is an undeniable connect between the progress of internet usage and rising standards of living.

Better living standards are not only signified by higher levels of efficiency and services but also by greater opportunity and enablement of more information about developmental strategies. Internet growth boosts innovation by giving users an access to world of information and helps to shape innovation according to the local needs by creating research that is more collaborative.

India, in the age of globalisation, is focusing on connecting remote rural place to the developed world. This is not only a governmental agenda but the need for the hour. The villages comprise of the high potential of achieving urban development if not less.

The internet is a key factor to achieve the aim set for the rural advancement in the country. There are several schemes initiated by the government- National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN, will provide three internet connections and one Wi-Fi hotspot in each of the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats), National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy-2012 (NDSAP) and, of course, the Digital India programme.

These policies are expected to bring drastic change and help the rural India. With the help of the internet, villagers can access to government maintained data, which will enable the far-reaching use of a valuable public resource for the benefit of the community. It will also avoid duplication, by sharing of data and the easy availability of it to the rural side, no middle man can fool them.

An easy flow of information facilitates in making important decisions without incurring high costs.

Availability of internet is also essential for the villagers as many decision-making tasks become convenient such as protecting the environment, development planning, managing assets, improving living conditions, social cognizance and controlling disasters.

If the women in a remote village in Bihar, with no previous knowledge of government schemes, can now lead an entire group of entrepreneurs based on the availability of information on the internet than it does prove the potential to achieve path breaking change in the rural India.

In a recent report by internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International on Tuesday, the number of internet users in India is set to touch 402 million mark, surpassing the US. Although, the worth noting fact of the report is the rise of women internet user base.

India needs to focus on empowering its rural half and one of the best measures available right now is the internet. There is a dire need to expand the initiative of digital India to the remote corners of the country for them to extract supreme advantage from it.

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Half The Global Population Uses The Internet: ITU Report

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness.

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Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

The International Telecommunication Union reports that for the first time in history, half of the global population is using the internet. A new report finds by the end of the year, 3.9 billion people worldwide will be online.

The report finds access to and use of information and communication technologies around the world is trending upwards. It notes most internet users are in developed countries, with more than 80 percent of their populations online. But it says internet use is steadily growing in developing countries, increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent this year.

The International Telecommunication Union says Africa is the region with the strongest growth, where the percentage of people using the internet has increased from just over two percent in 2005 to nearly 25 percent in 2018.

Somalia, Population
A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. VOA

The lowest growth rates, it says, are in Europe and the Americas, with the lowest usage found in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to data on internet usage, newly released statistics show mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming more predominant. ITU Senior Statistician, Esperanza Magpantay says access to higher speed mobile and fixed broadband also is growing.

“So, there is almost 96 percent of the population who are now covered by mobile population signal of which 90 percent are covered by 3G access. So, this is a high figure, and this helps explain why we have this 51 percent of the population now using the internet,” she said.

With the growth in mobile broadband, Magpantay says there has been an upsurge in the number of people using the internet through their mobile devices.

Nairobi, Population
Young men surf the internet at a cyber cafe on June 20, 2012 in Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness. Unfortunately, it says the cost of accessing telecommunication networks remains too high and unaffordable for many.

Also Read: Global Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

It says prices must be brought down to make the digital economy a reality for the half the world’s people who do not, as yet, use the internet. (VOA)