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Women in Bihar and AP are the worst off when it comes to internet access, a new survey finds

National poll shows a gendered digital divide even as government services increasingly rely on internet access.

Adult women between the ages of 15-49 from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh are the worst off among all Indian States and Union Territories when it comes to access to the Internet, a report by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) showed. While only 20.6% of adult women from Bihar had access to the Internet, 21.6% women from Andhra Pradesh had access, as per the report. There were other states too where access to the Internet for women was a little better than that of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, but equally bad in the larger context. These are the other seven states: Chattisgarh: 26.7% Madhya Pradesh: 26.9% Odisha: 24.9% Assam: 28.2% Telangana: 26.5% Tripura: 22.9% West Bengal: 25.5% In the entire country, adult women had lesser access to the Internet than men. Only 33.3% of women in India had access to the Internet as opposed to 57.1% of men, the NFHS-5 report said. These figures shed new light on the repeated claims of Indian government officials that the country has been adopting smartphones and the internet at a rapid rate. This also brings forth questions as to how the Indian government is going to implement its various digital-intensive projects in key areas such as health care, digital identity, online dispute resolution, and so on. In fact,  the Indian government's own policy think tank, Niti Aayog flagged India's digital divide in its report on Online Dispute Resolution published recently. Support MediaNama's work to keep the Internet open, fair, competitive, and global. Subscribe here.…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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