NEW DELHI: Is Digital India a reality? No, not at all, the Centre says in a candid admission about the challenges it is facing due to very low digital literacy and scant infrastructure in rural areas.
A government note accessed by the Express shows that 12 crore of the 16.8 crore rural households in India have no computers and are unlikely to have digitally literate persons.
The government has quoted a survey conducted by its own Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC SPV) to highlight the problem.
The survey conducted in 27 states with a sample size of more than 10 lakh shows that only 16 per cent rural households are digitally literate ,putting a dampener on the Prime Minister’s pet project of digitising the whole of the country.
The ‘Digital India’ programme envisages that government services are available to citizens electronically and one of the key objectives of the mission is to educate citizens on functional digital literacy.
After the Modi government came to power, Digital Saksharta Abhiyan was approved in December 2014 under Digital India to make an additional 42.5 lakh persons digitally literate in selected households throughout the country with a total budget outlay of `379.91 crore over a period of 4 years.
The training duration planned by the Central government is 20 hours in which a person who is not digitally literate is familiarised with digital devices and the Internet.
“There remains a gap of around 12 crore households to be made digitally literate in rural India,” a Central government statement said.
“It is felt that providing digital literacy to citizens is essential for making the digital India programme a success,” the government note said.
The NDA government plans to work in rural India with the active collaboration of state governments to cover around 6 crore additional households within the next 3 years so that at least 50 per cent of rural households become digitally literate by the end of this year.