India said to lag Brazil, China, Russia in digital access

A large section of the population does not have access to information and communications technology

India lags behind China, Russia, and Brazil in providing its citizens with access to information and communications technology, according to a report by risk analysis firm, Maplecroft, in the U.K.

India is rated at “extreme risk” among countries whose populations and economies are stifled by a lack of "digital inclusion," which Maplecroft defines as the ability to use and access information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as computers, the Internet and mobile phones.

The Digital Inclusion Index, released by Maplecroft, uses 10 measures to calculate the level of digital inclusion found across 186 countries. The indicators include data on mobile cellular and broadband subscriptions, fixed telephone lines, households with a PC and television, Internet users and secure Internet servers, Internet bandwidth, secondary education enrolment, and adult literacy.

India was rated at 39 in the index, while China at 103, Brazil at 110, and Russia at 134 are rated medium risk. The fast growing emerging economies of Brazil, India, China and Russia are usually referred to as the BRIC countries.

The Maplecroft index is referring to the risk to countries from failing to improve the level of digital inclusion for their population, Chris Laws, an analyst at Maplecroft, said in an e-mail on Wednesday. Access to ICT is increasingly considered a major development issue, and is therefore becoming a major political, economic and social imperative and risk factor, he added.

For business, the lack of digital inclusion threatens economic growth and social development by limiting market size and reducing the potential for trade, Laws said. It also inhibits individual and company access to educational and decision-making resources, and compromises the talent pool for employment, he added.

India has witnessed a boom in the last few years in the number of mobile phone connections and PCs in the country. A number of cyber cafes provide services to people who do not have other access to computers and Internet connectivity.

Some of the gains India has made in areas such as communications may be exaggerated, according to analysts. Data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India showed that only 71 percent of the 771 million mobile connections in the country at the end of January were active.

The affluent and some in the middle class in India have adopted ICT, according to Maplecroft. But the vast majority of the population has, however, been excluded, as they cannot afford ICT, or do not have the education required to use it effectively, or are located in geographical areas that have little or no connectivity, it said.

Only three percent of Indian households own PCs, and the country has secondary school enrolment rates of 55 percent and adult literacy rates of just under 63 percent, according to Maplecroft.

Private mobile operators in India are rolling out 3G services, and the hope is that mobile devices will allow many in rural and marginalized areas to get Internet access, Laws said. “This is assuming that products are affordable and accessible for the large low-income population in the country,” he added.

With 420 million Internet users, China has the largest number of Internet users in the world, and accounts for over half of Asia's Internet users, Maplecroft said. Internet freedom is however a serious issue in China, and to a lesser extent in Russia, it added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internettelecommunicationtelephonyInternet service providersMaplecroft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?