Stark Digital Divide Exists Between States: Assocham

Stark Digital Divide Exists Between States: Assocham
Tele-density data points to a stark digital divide among states, with Delhi having the highest score of 238 percent while Bihar and Assam lagging behind at around 55 percent, says a report.

Tele-density, the number of telephone connections for every 100 individuals, points to a stark 'digital divide' with large population in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country, industry body Assocham said in a paper.

Deeper tele-density and a quality service is critical to the government's Digital India programme, which has been launched to reach government services to the citizens through e-governance, it said.

"The digital divide is clearly visible between different states with some of the eastern states not finding favour with the telecom service providers. The reasons may vary between the lack of infrastructure like power availability to even indifference in terms of business opportunities," it added.

Against the national tele-density of 81.82 percent, the figure for Bihar is dismal 54.25 percent, Assam 55.76 percent, Madhya Pradesh 62.33 percent and Uttar Pradesh 62.74 percent.

On the other hand, the tele-density in Delhi is over 238 percent, whereas that of Himachal Pradesh is 123.19 percent. The paper said the Himalayan state with difficult terrain is only next to Delhi in terms of tele-density. Other states mapping rather well on the telecom prosperity are Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala.

Assocham said the Centre with the help from the state governments should double the efforts to ensure that both the government owned BSNL and the private telecom service providers should reach the states with low tele-density, or else the digital divide can get deeper.

"The government's own programme of laying the broadband services would play a critical role," it added.

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