The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) yesterday released a consultation paper (CP) on “Digital Inclusion in the Era of Emerging Technologies”.
The consultation paper aims to explore and address the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid advancement of emerging technologies, with a focus on ensuring inclusivity for all segments of society and industries, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“In today’s world, being connected online has become a way of life. Connectivity works as an essential tool for everyday functions such as accessing information, receiving basic services, working remotely, pursuing education, conducting financial transactions, and staying connected with loved ones,” TRAI said, recognising that digital inclusion is a crucial empowerment of every citizen.
In the consultation paper, TRAI has emphasized the need for a robust policy framework and collaborative efforts among stakeholders to ensure participation of individuals in digital economic activities.
India has made remarkable progress in digital transformation, emerging as the world’s second-largest telecom market in terms of subscribers. The country has experienced significant growth in mobile broadband subscriptions and internet usage, along with a substantial reduction in data costs, the paper states, enlisting the various government initiatives to boost overall digitalisation, including policies like National Digital Communications Policy 2018 and National Broadband Mission 2019.
Despite the strides made till now, the TRAI, in the consultation paper, has analysed various gaps in digital inclusion present in the country such as the mobile internet usage gap, rural-urban internet penetration disparities, and gender gaps in internet access.
To ensure comprehensive digital inclusion, it is imperative to address the gaps which are likely to arise due to emerging technologies, the regulator explained.