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Wide Digital Divide visible among states; Bihar, MP, Assam low on telecom density: Study

India may have achieved a significant success in reaching the number of telephone subscribers to over one billion , but the tele-density(TD) data points to a stark ‘ Digital Divide’ with large population in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh (MP)and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country, an ASSOCHAM Paper has noted with concern.

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Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo
New Update
low on telecom density

NEW DELHI: India may have achieved a significant success in reaching the number of telephone subscribers to over one billion , but the tele-density(TD) data points to a stark ‘ Digital Divide’ with large population in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh (MP)and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country, an ASSOCHAM Paper has noted with concern.

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“The Digital Divide is hidden behind the law of averages which may look impressive but when it comes to micro details, there is a lot of ground yet to be covered even in reaching the basic service to a large number of people,” the chamber stated.

Against the national tele-density of 81.82 , the figure for Bihar is dismal 54.25, Assam 55.76, Madhya Pradesh 62.33 and Uttar Pradesh 62.74 while states including Odisha, also need to catch up with less than 70 per cent tele-density.

While being the capital city –state and enjoying one of the highest per capita income, the tele-density in Delhi is over 238, some impressive data is also available for Himachal Pradesh where the TD is 123.19. The Himalayan state with difficult terrain is only next to Delhi in terms of TD. Other states mapping rather well on the telecom prosperity are Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala.

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“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. By no stretch, Madhya Pradesh can be considered a backward state. However, with a large land mass, the infrastructure like towers and cables could be an issue,” the ASSOCHAM paper noted.

The Chamber Secretary General D S Rawat said, 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. The government’s own programme of laying the broadband services would play a critical role.

The paper noted that linked to the TD are several other business models involving the financial inclusion programmes like Jan Dhan Yojna and payment gateways . “Ironically, the Digital Divide would lead to a further exclusion for the states with low TD, while states like Tamil Nadu, Himachal , Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala would get a head start for the new internet based services. “

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 TD, or else the Digital Divide can get deeper.

bihar assocham madhya-pradesh assam
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