36% of Indian children lack internet access during Kovid lockdown: report – Times of India

New Delhi: During a cowardly-induced lockdown last year, schools moved their classes online to protect children from infectious diseases and maintain a smooth flow of lessons. However, a new report on Friday showed that more than a third of children in India did not have access to the Internet at that time.

LIRNEasia, a regional think tank working on digital policy issues – ICRIER, in partnership with an economic policy think tank – reports that 64 percent of all households have access to Internet access for registered school-age children and the remaining 36 percent do not.

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The study included a survey of 7,000 households across India, including 350 villages and wards. Among households with Internet access, 31 percent of children were more likely to receive some form of distance education, compared to only 8 percent of households without Internet access.

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At the same time, a recent national survey conducted by LIRNEasia found that Internet usage has more than doubled in the last four years and that covid-related shutdowns have contributed significantly to the growing demand for connectivity.

Of the 15-65-year-old population, 49 percent said they used the Internet, compared to only 19 percent of the 15-65-year-old population at the end of 2017. It translated 61 to 61 percent of households in 2021 In 2017, 21 percent used the Internet

It shows that in 2020 and 2021 more than 130 million users came online. Of the nearly 80 million people who started using the Internet in 2020, 43 percent, or more than 34 million, said they started doing so because of the Covid crisis.

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Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia, said in a statement, “India is making a lot of progress if we think only of people being connected. But constitutional and structural changes are needed before the real benefits of ‘Digital India’ can reach the people.”

“The widespread adoption of digital services during the epidemic is far more than predicted. This is a positive. But what is equally clear is that the benefits of increased digitalisation are disproportionately spread across geography and population. Income groups and underdeveloped regions are not provided and Policy support will be needed, “added Dr. Rajat Kathuria, Senior Visiting Professor at ICRIER.

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