For Digital India, PC needed, not just mobile phone, says Intel

Study  says the personal computer is "crucial to India's knowledge economy vision". 

Bangalore, December 5 2016: A study sponsored by Intel India  concludes that to produce a nation of skilled and empowered citizens an envisaged in the government's Digital India initiative, mobile phones are not enough. Personal Computers are needed to close the gap in skills and achieve universal digital literacy.

The report prepared by  market researcher, Kantar IMRB and  endorsed by the  Indian School Business, assesses the impact of Intel's  ‘Ek Kadam Unnati Ki Aur’ programme since it was launched earlier this year in 11 Indian states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. Under the Programme, Intel set up 100 Unnati Kendras at chosen Community Service Centres  of the National e-Governance Plan* (NeGP),  that use PCs to provide relevant local content and training for citizens by creating opportunities for development and empowerment.

Analyzing data from  CSCs in 11 states, where Intel India set up Unnati Kendras, the  report concludes that while the smartphone has been a gateway to  take on-board first-time technology users in India, the PC  remains the preferred interface for content creation, skill development, and accessing information related to government, education, healthcare and employment. The Report advocates a multi-device approach to digital upskilling, where features such as larger screens and  physical keyboards create an interactive yet productive user interface within the technology ecosystem. For 54% of the respondents, PCs are the priority device for education-related activities and acquiring differentiated knowledge and skills. The Report cites that the lack of local language interfaces as a key barrier to PC acceptance, highlighting the need to create relevant vernacular content. In addition, over a quarter of the potential consumers cited the inability to afford PCs as a reason to not make the one-time investment in a PC, necessitating the availability of soft loans through easy microfinancing options.
The report says: In order for India to become a digitally literate society and a knowledge based economy, it will be imperative for its citizens to not only consume content but also contribute in the knowledge economy, and to achieve this, it is essential for all ecosystem players as well as the government to ensure easy access to PCs.