The government aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society through its Digital India programme but it may have a task at hand with a recent survey showing that only 18% of those in the age group of 14-29 years in villages and 49% in cities were able to operate a computer in 2014.
Indicating the Herculean task awaiting the government, the NSSO survey found that among households with at least one member aged 14 and above, only 27% had internet access. The figure was 16% among rural households and 49% among urban households.
The survey also revealed that only 6% of households in villages and 29% of households in cities owned computers, highlighting the stark rural-urban digital divide.
What could be more worrying for administrators is that even those who were able to operate a computers lacked proficiency as the survey found that only 14.2% of those aged 14 years and above who could operate a computer were able to type and use word processing.
The data also reflected the rural-urban digital divide as three times more urban males (aged 14 years and above) were able to use computer for various purposes compared to their rural counterparts.
Women were found to be lacking in comparison to their male counterparts as far as ability to use computers was concerned in both cities and villages.
Among states, only 3.9% of households in Chhattisgarh and 4.2% in Bihar possessed computers compared to 31.3% of households in Kerala. Chhattisgarh also had the lowest percentage (2.5%) of households having access to internet facility in rural areas whereas in Kerala, more than half the rural households had internet access. In urban areas too, Chhattisgarh had the least access to internet (24.9%) whereas states like Kerala (62.1%) and Maharashtra (64.6%) had prominently higher share of households having internet access.