If you thought India was well connected on the Internet, this may be a shocker. If the Akamai report stating India’s 114th position globally when it comes to internet speeds was not enough, here is another by our own National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), an organization in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) of the Government of India.
Only 3.5 households in 1000 in rural India had internet connectivity at home in 2009-2010 as per the NSSO Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure Report, published December 2011. Urban households fare much better, at 59.5 among 1000 connected to the internet.
Meaning, for every rural household that is connected to the internet, there are 17 urban households.
The report also gives statewise numbers of households in rural and urban India. Goa tops the rural penetration with 50 per 1000 households having access to internet, followed by the most literate state Kerala with 34, and Arunachal Pradesh with 19 households per 1000. Among the urban landscape, Mumbai leads the chart with 104/1000 households connected to the Internet, followed by Kerala and Himachal Pradesh (95 each) and Delhi (89.5).
The report is based on information collected during July 2009-June 2010 from 7,428 villages and 5,263 urban blocks spread over the entire country. Two different schedules were used to collect information on consumer expenditure, the first being canvassed in 100,855 households and the second in 100,794 households.
NSSO, the largest organisation in India conducting regular socio-economic surveys, conducts nationwide household consumer expenditure surveys at regular intervals as part of its “rounds”, each round normally of a year’s duration. These surveys are conducted through interviews of a representative sample of households selected randomly through a scientific design and cover almost the entire geographical area of the country. The household consumer expenditure survey (CES) is generally conducted as one of the main subjects of the NSS survey at quinquennial intervals. The 66th round survey (July 2009 – June 2010) was the eighth such survey of this quinquennial series.
Whether the household has access to internet at home was a special item of information collected through for the first time in the survey.
The sample data may not be sufficient for a nationwide result set, and the report acknowledges that larger sample sizes would be necessary in order to estimate the percentages of households with internet access in these small states and union territories with reasonable accuracy.
It also doesn’t take into account people connected to the internet via mobile phones, be it just for email and Facebook. This is good in a sense that it gives the actual picture of internet users, who use it heavily enough to invest in a broadband/dialup connection.
However, if you add the number of households whose members use mobile phones to reach the WWW, the divide between the rural and urban will be further dilated. Add to it the number of access points (office/ college labs/cyber cafes) where people access Internet other than homes, and you’ll find a larger gap, reinforcing the grim fact that Internet is still an Urban phenomenon.
What do you think? How can the Internet penetration be increased in rural India?
The complete report can be downloaded here.