-Anurag Pratap, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader - Capgemini India


India is the second most populous nation in the Asian region behind China. In last 20 years, the country has achieved impressive progress in the field of science and technology and is emerging as one of the strongest economies in the developing world. Information and communication technologies have brought significant changes in development of the Indian society through information dissemination and access to service and entitlements. Technology today is what industrial machines were to the industrial revolution. In today’s world they are engines of growth, power and wealth and very crucial for economic and social development.

No other technology is as profound as information technology (IT) in human history. IT has had a great influence on the economy and lives of people across the world. In India the benefits of IT are beginning to be seen and the impact of these benefits are creating great change not just at the economy level but also in the socio-cultural sphere. It is also true that the use of digital technologies in the world has not only improved people’s day–to–day life but it has also divided the world into information rich and information poor, i.e. the information haves and have–nots. The unequal access to information and communication technologies has led to a massive digital divide. Although India has been one of the emerging super-powers in IT, the benefits in number of ways got restricted to cities and metro and impact is slow in rural and remote areas. Besides socio–economic factors, the digital divide in India has several implications on political, governance, social, economic and educational prospects. Without internet access, political empowerment and mobilisation are challenging in the age of social media. Transparency and responsibility demand digital accordance. Internet penetration is linked to a country's socioeconomic advancement. Finally, the digital gap influences children's ability to learn and develop. Students cannot develop the necessary technical abilities unless they have access to the Internet.

In order for India to witness true growth and development; akin to developed economies, there is a need for all its citizens to be digitally literate; which subsequently means there is a need for a digitally inclusive society. At Capgemini, we have recognized this need and are committed to bridge the digital divide through intensive and forward looking investment in the area of digital inclusion, tech for social good and access to skilling for economically challenged and social underserved communities. Our focus on digital literacy aims at creating a digitally enabled society that uses technology to engage in a socio-economic and political landscape; digital academies which equips youth with future ready digital skills that can lead to more sustainable employment. To ensure digital inclusion, we have tech for good projects that unleash energies to turn innovation  using technologies into a driving force for sustainability and social change. The beneficiary portfolio of the our work has emerged as one of the most diverse with the initiatives custom-made for empowering girls, women, youths, persons with disability, farmers, mothers of young children, frontline workers, people affected with Covid-19 and many more.

There are a lot of positive implications of a digitally transformed world. It can benefit the world through increased productivity and efficiency. It’s important to reduce information inequality to ensure that everyone can optimally use technology to learn new skills and get good job opportunities. Even though technology has helped a large population live better lives and stay connected virtually, it’s advantages and accessibility are blighted with inequality in access. The inequalities in digital readiness, especially in developing nations such as India, have greatly impacted the adoption and utilisation of technology to combat business and other disruptions especially during the pandemic. As technology becomes a critical tool, there is a collective need to elevate the digital skills of people to ensure there is business continuity and life continuity, which is also why bridging this divide should be considered this decade’s biggest priority. With the help of determined policy makers, sufficient political support and efficient implantation partners, India can make significant strides in becoming a digitally equitable and competitive country.

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