India prides itself as the IT savvy nation with a large population of software professionals but a recent research jointly conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International has shown that about 84 percent of rural India is still not aware of Internet. The lack of awareness is the primary reason behind poor Internet penetration in rural India.
The research provides some interesting insights. Among other reasons mentioned by respondents for Internet inaccessibility, 38 percent of the rural population said that it did not feel the need for Internet, 31 percent blamed unavailability of Internet access point and an equal number found fault with their limitations to run a PC. 28 percent villagers said their inability to own a PC and about 22 percent accepted that not having electricity connection affected internet penetration.
Among those few, who have reach to Internet in rural India, more than 70 percent rely on common service centres (CSCs) and cyber cafes. Probably an improvement in the infrastructural setup with Government of India’s schemes like CSCs and State Wide Area Network (SWAN) Scheme might help rural population in accessing Internet.
Only 17 percent of rural inhabitants who can log on Internet have cyber cafes or CSCs within 10 km distance from their village and more than half (54 percent) have it beyond 10 km distance. While 7 percent use Internet in school/college or office, 5 percent can access Internet at a computer training institute. Overall, the total number of rural people with reach to Internet stands less than 5 percent of total net users in India.