India 'digital divide' worst among Bric

2011-03-30 17:24
New Delhi - India is trailing its so-called Bric colleagues Brazil, Russia and China in bridging the "digital divide" as a large number of its population has no internet access, a report said on Wednesday.

A Digital Inclusion Index compiled by British risk analysis firm MapleCroft put India in the "extreme risk" category, meaning much of its population was shut out of the so-called "digital revolution".

India stood at 39 on the index, far behind Russia at 134, Brazil at 110 and China at 103, which were classified as being at "medium risk" from lack of "digital inclusion".

"Digital inclusion has the potential to bring education to people in countries where educational infrastructure is limited and the development of cadres of teachers is still constrained," MapleCroft head Alyson Warhurst said.

Digital inclusion is also crucial in helping people take part in economic activities and improves democratic governance, Warhurst added.

Communications technology

The survey looked at 186 countries to identify those nations whose populations were being stifled by a lack of "digital inclusion". It used 10 indicators to assess to communications technology including mobile and broadband subscriptions.

Despite strong economic growth, the Bric nations are still significantly outperformed by developed nations in the Digital Inclusion Index.

The countries with the best access to communications technologies included the Netherlands which was top at 186, Sweden at 183 and Britain came in 182.

Of the 39 countries rated at "extreme risk", 29 were from sub-Saharan Africa, with Niger ranked number one, Chad number two and Ethiopia number three.
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