India trailing Bric partners in bridging the digital divide

New Delhi – India was trailing its so-called Bric colleagues – Brazil, Russia and China – in bridging the “digital divide” as a large number of its population had no internet access, a report said today.

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.

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 at 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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