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.

Cowshed to QR codes

Nine years ago, the government primary school in Paritewadi village, Solapur district, was located in a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattle shed and a store room. There was no electricity and hardly any students. The innovative use of ICTs has brought more children to school, got parents involved with education, and taken students on new journeys of learning across the world. The school’s teacher writes about his innovations with technology in education.

Technology in the classroom: Insights from the Digital Equalizer programme

Teachers are at the heart of the Digital Equalizer programme, which trains educators in the effective use of technology as a pedagogic tool, helping them bring creativity, diversity and real-life examples into the school curriculum through technology. The decade-old programme, spread over 15 states, has worked with over 89,000 teachers in government schools. DE’s internal assessment indicates that teachers in DE schools use technology in the classroom 2.5 times as much as non-DE schools.

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 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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