In ‘e-Gujarat’, just 3% of households have Internet connectivity
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In a state that has about 40 e-governance projects and has won several awards for them, the Internet penetration among households is just over 3%. The state has fewer homes with Internet connections as compared to states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal.
Of the 1.21 crore homes in Gujarat covered in Census 2011, only 3.8 lakh homes have computers and laptops having Internet connectivity. In comparison, states similar in size have better Internet connectivity — Maharashtra has Internet connectivity in 13.7 lakh homes, Andhra Pradesh in 5.4 lakh homes, Karnataka (6.3 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (7.7 lakh).Even smaller states like Kerala (4.8 lakh homes with Internet connections) and West Bengal (4.4 lakh) have far greater Internet penetration.
Most of the Internet connectivity in Gujarat is in urban centres.
In 'e-Gujarat', just 3% of households have Internet connectivity
Of the 67 lakh homes in rural Gujarat, just 0.6% of the households have Internet. Urban areas are a shade better, with 6% of the total 54 lakh homes having Internet connections.
The unimpressive Internet connectivity in Gujarat puts a question mark on the impact of 40-odd "citizen centric" e-governance projects launched by the state government in the last one decade.
Most of these e-governance projects are meant to assist people from rural areas. For instance, e-Gram project, which won Skoch Challenger Award and the CSI-Nihilent Award in 2008 for being an outstanding project, is primarily meant for the rural people for accessing services like e-ticketing of railways, airlines, utility bill payments, licences, permits, insurance selling and market linkages for agriculture commodities.
However, the state government says e-governance projects have been very effective because Gujarat has "created its own Internet footprint through projects like e-Gram".
"Last year, e-transactions worth over Rs 10.5 crore happened in the state," said Ravi Saxena, additional chief secretary in charge of state's science and technology department.
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