ICT Network Readiness Index–India Needs to Step up

World Economic Forum and INSEAD have published their report for Network Readiness Index, a ranking of countries around the world that showcases important data that helps to assess impact of the adoption and development of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) . Based on the framework of NRI, that measure key factors that drive competitiveness between countries, and their ability to use ITC.

Out of 138 countries tracked and ranked by widespread use of mobile phones, Internet, personal computer as well as regulatory environment and IT infrastructure, China ranks 36th and India 48th.  Among other high-scoring Asian countries, Singapore excelled in second place while Taiwan checked in at sixth, Korea came in 10th and Hong Kong 12th.

The NRI framework comprises of 3 stakeholders:

  • Individuals
  • Businesses
  • Governments

It measures the following factors:

  • Environment ( Factors like market policies, political/regulatory make up, Infrastructure development)
  • Readiness ( Capability of stakeholders to use ICT )
  • Usage ( Actual usage of ICT by stakeholders )

The stakeholder play out their roles in the 3 factors to form the complete NRI rankings.

NRI rankings ( for 2010-2011 ) place India at rank 48 and it is classified as a Lower Middle Income country. It ranks third in its income group classification, behind Tunisia(35) and China(36). China ranks first amongst the BRIC ( Brazil, Russia, India, China ) countries that are major emerging markets, and is narrowing the gap between itself and other major western countries.


A breakup of the factors will bring in a clearer picture of the stats, let us compare them to how India was place in 2002-2003 and how it is placed today, and what needs to be done.

Environment Sub-index

It consists of 3 major factors : Market environment, Political and regulatory framework, Infrastructure development.

India ranks 58 ( was 44 in 2002-2003 ) on the global scale with quite an interesting breakup of he major factors.

The market environment is ranked at 41 globally, meaning that the markets are positive with healthy competition driving adoption and use of ICT.

The political and regulatory framework is ranked at 52, also something that instills faith in the markets and drives overall growth.

India scores dismally in the Infrastructure development and has a global ranking of 81.

China , India’s most notable competitor is ranked 71, 50 and 58 for market environment, political/regulatory framework and infrastructure.

Readiness Sub-index

Readiness is the capability of the 3 major stakeholders to leverage ICT in the process of development of nations.

India is ranked 33 ( 50 in 2002-2003 ) globally owing mostly to its high score in Individual readiness rank 21 ( 70 in 2002-2003 ) .

Individual readiness is an assessment of the literacy rates, mode and locus of access to the Internet, and the degree of connectivity of individuals ( internet users per 100). This is a clear indication on how increased expenditure in education services is required.

Business readiness has always been a stat that has drawn attention from markets around the world. India is ranked 33rd globally ( 27 in 2002-2003 ), major software and technology exports drive the business sector to develop and invest in employee skills for using ICT effectively.

Government readiness indicates the policy of the government to encourage the use of ICT in the long and short term. India is ranked 48 ( 33 in 2002-2003 ). Government readiness can also be seen day to day with its use of ICT enabled services such as e-governance to perform its duties towards its citizens.

Usage Sub-index

Usage sub-index is an indicator of the degree of impact that adoption of ICT can have on a countries citizen’s. Readiness and usage rank can vary considerably as not all who can use ICT actually use ICT.

India ranked 67 ( 43 in 2002-2003 ) for usage on the global scale.

On individual usage rank, India does poorly managing a global rank of 98 ( 79 in 2002-2003 ). This rank is assessed by measuring the deployment of new technologies that enhance connectivity.

Business usage measures the level of deployment of ICT across businesses in the country. India is ranked 45 now was ranked 42 in 2002-2003. It indicates the level of technology used for B2B and B2C commerce.

India’s government usage index is the level to which governments use ICT to function. This includes use of e-governance for following procedures etc. Ranked at 47 in 2010-2011 in sharp contrast with its position in 2002-2003 indicates that the government policy is clearly not with this one.

China outperforms India in nearly every way and consequently enjoys a much higher ranking than India

What India needs right now

– India clearly needs to buck up on infrastructure development if it wants to have any real chance of catching up with China in the next decade. Development of infrastructure can drive further growth in the economy by encouraging usage of ICT. Current internet connectivity figures in India are low but rising steadily, compared to China though, they are still weak.

– Education can be the key here, with a major percentage of the population being under 30 years of age, the government should not lose out on this opportunity. Make the best of it by introducing quality educational institutions at affordable rates for the all round development of its human resources.

– Encouraging the adoption of new technologies at subsidized rates for small and medium businesses to encourage rapid growth.

Have more suggestions? We would love to know.

Link to download the report : www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GITR_Report_2011.pdf

Also see: Digital Divide in India Worst Among The BRIC Countries [We Are At Extreme Risk]

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