Monday, January 24, 2022

Bridging the Digital Divide

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 29, 2021 12:18 am

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed inequality and inadequacies in the field of e-connectivity. For more than a year now, the majority of students in the country have been unable to study properly as their localities are devoid of reliable e-facilities. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Saurashtra to Silchar, the plight of students are the same everywhere. To overcome the difficulties, students are adopting many innovative ideas, like climbing trees or studying only at night to get digital signal. Further, the digital divide is not only hampering studies, it is affecting life as a whole. Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana recently wrote to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to take steps to resolve the issue of poor connectivity in rural, tribal, remote and hilly areas of the country. According to the Chief Justice the issue of connectivity is adversely impacting the pace of justice delivery. He further stated that an entire  generation of lawyers are being pushed out of the system due to the prevailing technological inequality.

The observations made by the Chief Justice should be given due importance as in a Covid-19 ravaged world, e-connectivity is going to become the most used method for learning. Moreover, e-learning is fast and time-saving. So, it should be ensured that everyone gets proper access to this facility. For example, as the majority of our services are centralised, many a times a person living in a distant village has to travel all the way to the state headquarters to get his/her work done. Introduction of e-facilities will ease the process as services will be available online. Instead of being physically present, one can virtually interact with persons concerned. As of present, in India such facilities are in the nascent stage. Thus e-connectivity in India needs a great push to keep pace with the world when normalcy is restored after the pandemic.

Covid-19 has brought to light how difficult it is for rural students to study during a pandemic. The ordeal of students, living in Sagar Taluk of Shivamoga district in Karnataka stands as a testimony to this fact. Every morning nearly 50 students start climbing a hillock. After a 2.5 kilometre trek, they reach the top of the hillock. Sitting on the top of the hillock, the students attend online classes. It has become a regular affair for the students as educational institutions are closed due to the outbreak of the pandemic. For better e-connectivity in the area, people have been demanding a dedicated tower for quite some time now. But no one has paid any heed to their cries for better connectivity in the area thus far. In such a situation, the government along with digital service providers should work on war-footing to bridge the digital divide. The state should ensure that the inventions of science are not controlled by profit-driven people, the facilities should be extended to all without divide.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 29, 2021 12:18:42 am