Wide ‘digital divide’ between states: Assocham

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) There exists a stark “digital divide” among states, with Delhi having the highest score of 238 percent while Bihar and Assam lag behind at around 55 percent, business chamber Assocham said on Sunday, on the basis of “tele-density” or telephone connections for every 100 individuals.

“India may have achieved a significant success in reaching the number of telephone subscribers to over one billion, but the tele-density data points to a stark ‘Digital Divide’ with large populations in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said in a statement here.

“The digital divide is clearly visible between different states with some of the eastern states not finding favour with the telecom service providers. The reasons may vary between the lack of infrastructure like power availability to even indifference in terms of business opportunities,” it added.

Compared to the national tele-density of 81.82 percent, the figure for Bihar is 54.25 percent, Assam 55.76 percent, Madhya Pradesh 62.33 percent and Uttar Pradesh 62.74 percent, the report said.

On the other end, while the tele-density in Delhi is over 238 percent, that of Himachal Pradesh is 123.19 percent. Other states figuring higher on the tele-density scale are Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala.

Assocham said the central government along with the states should double their efforts to ensure that both state-run BSNL, as well as private telecom service providers, should reach the states with low tele-density, otherwise the digital divide could widen.

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