In India, across over 6,50,000 villages and 2,50,000 panchayats represented by 3 million panchayat members. Approx 40% population is living below poverty line, illiteracy rate is more than 25-30% and digital literacy is almost no-existent among more than 90% of India’s population.
While the country boasts the world’s second fastest-growing mobile market, it is lagging behind when it comes to internet connectivity. Connecting the community and its members to the world through the Internet is becoming increasingly essential for community vitality for the development and social progress in recent years.
According to the IAMAI report, there were about 30,000,000 internet users in rural India in December 2011. The 50 per cent spike leading to the expected 45,000,000 by December 2012 is primarily driven by mobile internet access, community centers and cyber cafes. However, within rural communities, the task to empower using ICT can still be challenging, but many of us have been dedicating time and energies to empower trouble torn community.
In a country with more than 6,50,000 villages, where more than half of its population live in rural areas and off-the-map villages. Most are remote and too isolated to benefit from the country’s impressive economic progress. Yet there’s a growing desire among people in rural India to be part of its modernization process. But, the last-mile delivery has always been a challenge for India. Increasingly the government with the support of NGOs is looking at better ways to reach remote, rural India.
As per the NSSO Level and Pattern of Consumer Expenditure Report 2011, only 3.5 households in 1000 rural households in rural India had internet connectivity at home in 2009-2010. And there are close to 90,000 rural info kiosks (Common Service Centres, Community Information Resource Centres and others) in India, and around 5452 CSCs are located in the state. However, these kiosks lack internet connectivity and services to delivery at people’s doorsteps. To make India digitally literate, it is important 3.5 million people to be digitally literate.
For this purpose, the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) has established Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) to roll out the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) plan. BBNL will lay out the optic fiber cable terminating in each of the 250,000 gram panchayats in the country, providing 100 MBPs link to be used as information highway to be utilized diversely by all kind of stakeholders to ensure that digital inclusion has reached in all villages across the country. For this, BBNL has identified three pilot blocks – Arain (Rajasthan); Naogang (North Tripura) and Pravada (Visakhapatnam) where the fiber connectivity would be reached and the same would be available for usage free for a month and later on do costing of the project.
With a hope and desire to light up the rural communities and to complement the objectives of NOFN plan, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) supported by with Intel Corporation as a part of the National Digital Literacy Mission has launched Follow the Fibre Programme (FtF) to help rural communities conquer this challenge of digital illiteracy.
National Digital Literacy Mission Programme is a dynamic and integrated platform of digital literacy awareness, education and capacity programmes that will help rural communities to take lead in the global digital economy and help them in maintaining the competitiveness and also shape a technologically empowered society. NDLM is an effort to complement the objectives of National Optic Fibre Netowrk (NOFN) plan to transform one from each household as digitally literate. Under NDLM, we pledge to work with multi-stakeholder to Digitally Literate at least One adult from each of 147 million rural household of India.
DLM will be an ecosystem of digital literacy awareness, education and training that will help India take a lead in the global digital economy and help us maintain the competitiveness and also shape a technologically empowered society. DLM is an effort to extend NOFN objectives to empower rural citizens by making them digitally literate.
The vision of Digital Literacy Mission (DLM) is to create multi-stakeholder, consortium and work with government and their various schemes and agendas to showcase in some of those panchayats constituencies that how making them digitally literate can change the scenario of governance, empowerment, social inclusion, educational approach and employment.
- To empower rural communities with capacity building & training programmes and make them digitally literate
- To facilitate deployment of rural citizen services through digital means
- To create a digital data house at every rural community level to make them economically viable
- To generate social, cultural and economic advantages for rural communities with two information and content gateway