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India’s Poor ICT Scorecard

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DQI Bureau
New Update

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with INSEAD, France, and the World

Bank’s info Dev recently released the Global Information Technology report.

Networked Readiness Index (NRI), a key component of the report measures an

economy’s readiness to participate in and benefit from information and

communication technology (ICT) developments. The report has ranked India at a

dismal 45 among the 102 countries that it covers. China comes even lower at 51.

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The NRI aims to measure the readiness of economies according to three

parameters: the general macroeconomic and regulatory environment for ICT; the

readiness of the three key stakeholders i.e. the individuals, businesses, and

the government to use and benefit from ICT; and their current usage of ICT. So

in effect, the NRI is a composite index that combines three different indices

that measure the environment, and the readiness and the usage of the

stakeholders.

A comparison of index scores over the last three years shows that the digital

divide between the most developed and least developed economies is narrowing.

This is encouraging news for key ICT stakeholders in less developed economies.

In a similar set of ranking released by the International Telecommunications

Union under the name, Digital Access Index or DAI, India is placed in the

category of middle-access economies. With a DAI score of 0.32, where 1 indicates

the highest access, India is placed with 57 other countries in the middle-access

category. Another number that causes concern is that the Indian score is far

below the average middle-access economies’ score of 0.44.

The numbers released by TRAI tell a similar tale. With a PC penetration of

0.8% as compared to 2.8% in China, India’s report card is all red. The signals

say that it’s time for Indian government to do some fire fighting. And the

incentives too are more than one. "The use and application of ICT remain

one of the most powerful engines for economic growth. ICT also continues to be

the best hope for developing countries to accelerate the development

process," said Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of

the World Economic Forum. Not to mention that this revolution will help curb

poverty too!

MOHIT CHABBRA in New Delhi

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