Research from Indian Institute of Management studies on adoption of digital technologies in Rajasthan, India

A group of students from the Indian Institute of Management in Udaipur, India, conducted a research project about adoption of digital technologies in rural villages. The team contacted 1,250 persons in 104 villages across the districts of south Rajasthan to learn about their access to infrastructure and use of technology.

While mobile telephony had reached near-saturation in the area, the quality of the network was different depending on the geography of the villages. The proportion of smartphone owners in some villages was down to 2% and rarely more than 40% of mobile owners. Very few villages had computers and, even though public programs had provided them with digitally enabled kiosks to access services, most of the population did not know how to use it nor were interested.

In terms of access to web services, principal barriers to digital inclusion were lack of English skills, limited awareness and lack of abilities to surf the internet using key words. An additional barrier was the lack of well-prepared teachers willing to learn and share their digital knowledge with children.

The research project shows some of the main challenges for promoting digital inclusion in underserved regions. It reinstates the fact that access to infrastructure is not enough, comprehensive programs raising awareness and teaching digital skills are required to bridge the digital divide.

Source: The Wire