Towards Digital Inclusion

CCDS builds knowledge resources for social change. This website presents our research on digital inequality in India.
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Towards Digital Inclusion

With the internet becoming essential for education, communication, livelihoods and government services and entitlements, access to the internet is no longer a privilege or luxury. Those who do not have access to the internet (or have rudimentary or limited access) will fall further and further behind in the digital age.

The CCDS study examines the extent of digital inequality in a rapidly-expanding Indian metropolis and explores the barriers to internet access for the poor and marginalised.


CCDS’s new research (2016–2018) aims to identify access to digital devices and internet at school, at home, and at the neighbourhood level for school children from low-income and socially excluded communities and the digital awareness and competency of these school students.

The research will also explore the enablers and barriers for ICT education at school.

Between the technophiles and the sceptics: The view from the ground

The foot soldiers of technology in education—including policymakers and bureaucrats—believe that the introduction of technology by itself will transform education. At the other end of the spectrum are teachers who are resistant to change. This article draws on the author’s field experiences in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and other states to discuss the enablers and barriers to implementing a successful ICT at School programme on the ground.

Digital disparities: Children, school spaces and the internet

The use of computers and internet for children is mediated more by the socioeconomic status of the family than the type of school they go to or the medium of instruction. This study of eight schools in Tamil Nadu points to sharp differences in the way children from elite, middle-income and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds perceive and use computers and the internet. The study illustrates how socioeconomic backgrounds influence digital opportunities and disparities.

What will it take to bring India’s children online?

Limited infrastructure, inequitable access to digital resources, and poor utilisation of digital resources in the education sector cause the digital exclusion of children in India. With a computer-student ratio of just 1:89 in India, initiatives such as Zero Connect–Wireless Agariyas employ vans equipped with antennae, solar panels and digital equipment to take internet connectivity and tablets to students of the Rann Shalas in the salt desert.

Digital inclusion: Addressing the digital capability divide

An introduction to media and information literacy for children
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Computer masti at Azam Campus

Conscious that the digital divide is accentuating social, economic and gender inequalities,  MCE Society at Azam Campus emphasizes free or subsidized digital learning from class 1 onwards. Roughly 80% of the students on this wifi campus with state-of-the-art computer labs come from poor Muslim families “I teach whatever I learn in computer class, to my younger brother and my sister,” says a grinning 12-year-old Nazia*. “This way, even if we are studying in different schools, our knowledge of...

12 pm Ladies Special

At Zensar’s Digital Learning Centre in Yamuna Nagar, semi-literate women are encountering computers and the internet for the very first time. The initiative, in partnership with the PMC and Nasscom Foundation, aims to bring digital literacy to every household in the low-income settlement. “I now have my own email account,” says an excited UshaGalphade as she explains why she likes coming to the community ‘computer class’ everyday. “I joined because I wanted to learn something new.” Her friends...

PCMC kiosks bring e-governance closer to citizens

After the success of the SARATHI e-governance initiative and helpline, the PCMC's touchscreen kiosks provide information about public services and allow citizens to register their grievances. This service is designed to reach out to those who do not have their own internet or phone connection The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s main objective in setting up e-governance kiosks in the city was to enable citizens, particularly those who do not have access to technology like computers or...

Digital inclusion: Definitions and status in India

India had 254.40 million internet subscribers by September 2014. That’s an internet penetration of 20.39 per 100. But the picture changes when you consider that 70.23% of them are narrowband subscribers and only 29.77% access a useful connection. Less than 6% of total...

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Bottom of the BRICS heap

How does India, third largest economy in the world, compare with other BRICS nations on digital inclusion? There’s not one indicator – subscribers, penetration, affordability or speed – where India ranks anywhere close to the top. Digital India has some serious work...

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Zopadpatti re!

CCDS conducts media literacy workshops that not only help socially-excluded urban communities understand and use the internet, but also represent their voice online by creating their own content.

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Real Net Natives

For young male internet users from low-income urban settlements, the real and the virtual have fused. Online, caste, income, educational and occupational barriers can be transcended, the distance between genders bridged. A CCDS film made by Aritra...

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Phule Nagar: Connected

In a pilot project aimed at addressing digital inequality in urban India, 1200 low-income and socially-excluded households in Phule Nagar, Pune, have free WiFi internet access. To overcome barriers of age, gender, education and ICT skills, a computer and internet...

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