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Maharashtra tops Internet readiness index

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New Delhi: After the following states Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra has emerged the top position in terms of overall Internet readiness index.

The report, Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States’, was published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics.

Internet readiness index is a composite index on components like e-infrastructure index, e-participation index, IT-services and e-governance index.

Among the smaller states, Delhi has emerged as the topmost state in terms of Internet readiness index, followed by Puducherry and Goa.

Even in the smaller states, the northeastern States do not figure among the top three. “Therefore, much more needs to be done in the form of investment and infrastructure development in the region,” the report stated.

Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh is ranked top in terms of Internet readiness index.

The purpose of the report was to help the business and governments to leverage the strength, policy measures can also be taken where improvements are required.

“Given the rapid advancement in e-services and e-commerce, it is essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the states,” the report said.

“Internet readiness in this study is not limited to how industry friendly each state is for investment in the IT sector, but aims to give a more holistic picture of the digital ecosphere that presently exists in the states.

“This stems from the understanding that only an organic linkage between the digital world and the real world can lead to the development and wellbeing that digitalization promises to deliver,” the report stated.(IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)