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India saw ranking drop in the World Economic Forum’s recent report. Drop in ranking has raised questions on all those claims that projects India as a fastest growing economy. Indeed, there are many things to think before reaching to any sort of conclusion.

The WEF’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), also referred to as Technology Readiness, measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology (ICT).

Notably, India’s network readiness index in 2013 was 61.

In 2016, India ranks 91 out of 139 countries on “Network Readiness Index” rankings of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

At 91, India was ahead of Pakistan (110) and Bangladesh (112), but behind Sri Lanka (63), Malaysia (31), and China (59). Singapore topped the rankings for second year in a row. The US was placed at 5th position.

Indian media is overplaying with stats and data news in discussions of growing economy every day, every hour! Is all this is true, or fiction, just to build hype? Recently, the Global Digital Economy Forum discloses a ranking report that proves all these stats which projects India as a rising economy are unconvinced. According to the report, India has been fall down two notches in the Global Digital Economy rankings. It is hard proof that India is faking to be a fastest growing global digital economy. The ranking down fall also raises questions about campaigns like Digital India and Make India etc. launched to build India a growing digital economy.

Why India lagging behind?

Despite all claims and improvements in political and business environment, India has been slipped down two positions in the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking this year. However this is a little change, but raised many questions on all those figures and facts provided by India claiming it as a growing digital economy. The report clarified, “Although India’s absolute score has changed only marginally in recent years, and the drop can be attributed in part to the fact that other countries are moving ahead at higher speeds.” Low level of education and lack of infrastructure also hinders all those initiatives taken to widespread Information and Communications Technology (ICT), especially in rural India. In addition, poor skills in terms of usage of this technology at individual level also contribute to fail the Indian ICT ecosystem. The report pointed, “The lack of infrastructure, low levels of skills among the population, and vast digital divide between well-connected urban and remote rural areas were cited as the key bottlenecks to widespread digital adoption.”

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The Indian government has launched the Digital India campaign in 2015 to fill the gap between rural and urban India and promoting huge investments in digital infrastructure development for improving digital literacy and internet education. But the ranking slip questions the performance of this programme and indicated that this is not performing well. India is also struggling in terms of individual participation in e-services as out of 100 household only 15 have the internet access and it keep India far behind from many other developed nation.

Other Key Factors that Majorly Counted for India’s Digital Growth

Digital growth is not just to announce the programmes like “Digital India” but it is allied to implementation model of these programmes, state of mind of population, adaptability, followed business strategies, innovations and many other factors. It is also influenced by related initiatives taken to promote this IC technology at all level. Overall, India needs to do more magnificent development and upgradations in the ways of using digital technologies especially in rural India. A right approach and way of implementation will too lead to growth, competitiveness and social progress in the future. Apart from this, providing a right set of data in order to study the progress of executed efforts is very important as this will help to deliver best outcomes in the form of growing digital economy too.

Government Role

Government role is very important! Indeed, the Indian government needs to be very committed toward the “Digital India” and other similar programmes. India could start following the strategies of developed nations who are extremely good in implementing the ICTs as well providing its widespread access to their populations. In addition, a favourable innovative environment will also help the government to connect the population with a modern infrastructure and make India digitally successful.  India needs to implement the initiatives like Facebook’s  OpenCellular, a open source wireless access platform announced to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world. In contrast, In India, the telecoms regulatory stopped a Facebook Inc. Free Basics initiative earlier this year as it said that it violated net neutrality ideology. The government also needs to make an effective framework for fueling the internet penetration at rural level.

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What’s More

Another considerable point, the WEF’s report makes it very clear that there is huge gap between developed nations and developing ones because of many factors. It says that the digital economy has divided developed countries and developing nations into two parts. The top-ranked developed nations like the U.S, and Singapore ranking is almost unchanged but many developing nations especially India saw a drop in ranking. Silja Baller, an author of the report and an economist with WEF says, “Standing still means they are, in relative terms, falling behind. Overall, the vast majority of countries are improving their scores.”

Top 10 countries names remain same in the list however the U. S. and Norway moved up and Switzerland and Netherlands falls down. The report judged all countries on the basis of their abilities to use information and communication technology to boost its competitiveness. It has analysed countries on the basis of 53 indicators of regulation, technology adoption, tech affordability, infrastructure etc. This report is announced to promote investments in the ICTs segment for socio and economic impact worldwide.

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