In 2014, a study by the National Sample Survey Organisation found that 94% of people in rural India did not own a computer. Out of 168 million rural households, as many as 120 million did not have computers and few individuals were digitally literate. The startling figures pushed the government to announce the launch of the Digital Literacy Mission.
During his budget speech last February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “We need to derive greater benefit from our demographic advantage. We need to spread digital literacy in rural India. We now plan to launch a new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India.”
In keeping with the announcement, the National Digital Literacy Mission was launched. The Mission has trained more than three million people across the country till date.
In another step towards a digitally literate country, the government has recently announced the launch of yet another Digital Literacy Programme that will train 60 million rural Indians.
Image for representation only. Source: Wikipedia
Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, Chief Executive Officer, of CSC e-Governance Service India, told The Times of India, “The government will spend Rs 300 each on training 60 million people, which would total around Rs 1,800 crore.”
Confirming that this is a separate programme from the one currently underway, Tyagi added, “These 60 million people form almost 40 per cent of our rural population. The government target is to make each of these 60 million rural people digitally literate in three years. An approval from the cabinet is expected by end-July.”
Currently, Common Service Centres are being used to impart training in digital literacy. The Centres provide e-governance services to rural citizens. “This year, with the help of village level entrepreneurs, another 2.25 million people will get training. These common services centres are delivering government-to-citizen and business-to-citizen services to the semi-urban and rural people,” Tyagi explained.
“Till June, we have already set up 170,000 centres across the country. The target is to reach out to 250,000 gram panchayats by the end of this year. Every gram panchayat gets one centre,” he said.