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India slips in Information & Communication Technology ranking, performs worst of all BRICS countries: UN report

By Our Representative
Ranking No 131 of 167 countries in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Development Index or IDI, India has slipped by seven points from No 125 in 2010, says a just-released report, “Measuring the Information Society Report 2015”, prepared by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), part of the United Nations system, headquartered in Geneva.
Among the important categories analyzed in the report include fixed and mobile cellular telephone subscriptions, international internet bandwith per internet user, percentage of households with a computer, percentage of households with internet access, percentage of individuals using internet, fixed and mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, adult literacy rate, secondary gross enrolment ratio, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio.
The report comes in the backdrop of a report being propagated by circles close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India is all set to “overcome” China this month, becoming the second-largest population of internet users after China by December. The claim has been made quoting the trade group Internet and Mobile Association of India.
The report states, the country with “the highest IDI ranking in 2015, as in 2010, is the Republic of Korea, with an overall IDI value of 8.93”, adding, “Eight of the top ten economies in the 2015 rankings are from Europe (Denmark, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway).” These countries show a “high level of ICT development” with continued “high levels of investment in ICT infrastructure and innovation.”
While India’s IDI value has been indexed at 2.60 on a scale of 10, as against the world average of 5.53, among the comparable BRICS countries, India ranks the worst, with Brazil ranking No 61, Russia No 44, China No 82, and South Africa No 88. The neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh rank worse than India at No 143 and No 144, respectively, while Sri Lanka ranks better with a ranking of No 115.


A visual impression of ICT Development Index ranking across the world
The report notes, countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh “have experienced an average improvement of 0.72 in their IDI values over the period 2010-2015, less than the corresponding figure for the group of countries above them in the rankings, but starting from a lower base.”
It adds, “The sharpest rise in the rankings within this group of countries came from Bhutan (up nine places) and Myanmar (up eight places), while significant falls were recorded by Vietnam (down eight places), India (down six places) and Pakistan (down five places).”
Referring to the Americas, the report states, “the United States, Canada and Barbados lead the IDI rankings, with IDI values above 7.50, and global rankings in the top 30 economies. These three countries significantly outperform all other countries in the region, with IDI levels approaching one whole point above the next highest regional performer, Uruguay.”
As for the Arab states, it says, “The top five countries in terms of ICT development – Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – are oil-rich high-income economies” with an “IDI value of over 6.50”, and are “among the top fifty countries in the global rankings.” It adds, Three of them (Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) are among the ten countries which have seen the most dynamic improvements in IDI rankings.”
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