COVID-19 lockdown made us all reliant on the internet like never before, work from home became the norm, even school kids, who had their classes shifted to an online platform. And this saw a crazy growth in the number of internet users in India.
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Reported first by IANS, this is according to a report shared by LIRNEasia — a regional think tank working on digital policy issues — in partnership with ICRIER — an economic policy think tank. The study revealed that 64 percent of households with school kids had access to the internet, leaving the remaining 36 percent in the dark.
This was based on a survey consisting of 7,000 households across India including 350 villages and wards. Out of all the households that had internet, 31 percent were likely to receive remote education of some kind, whereas only 8 percent of those houses without internet received some kind of remote education.
The shutdown considerably boosted internet consumption among all age groups. In the age group of 15 to 65 years, 49 percent said to have used the internet, compared to just 19 percent in the same age group in 2017.
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This basically meant, 61 percent of households in India used the internet in 2021, compared to just 21 percent in 2017. Over 130 million users came online in 2020 and 2021 from which nearly 80 million came online in 2020 and 43 percent of them (around 34 million) came online due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia said in a statement, “If we only think of people getting connected, India is making great strides. But systematic and structural changes are needed before the real benefits of ‘Digital India’ reach people. ”
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Dr Rajat Kathuria, Senior visiting professor at ICRIER further added, “There has been a huge uptake of digital services during the pandemic much above what trends foretold. That is a positive. What is equally clear, however, is that the benefits of increased digitisation have been unevenly spread across the geography and population. Trickle-down to lower-income groups and laggard regions is not a given and will require policy support.”
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