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2015-01-16

Internet users in rural areas to touch 210 million by 2018: IAMAI-BCG Report

\'We need to look at creating hubs in rural India that will help grow e-commerce, which remains unexplored so far.\'

The Union Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad was present at the 9th India Digital Summit of Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) held in New Delhi.

Releasing the IAMAI & The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report on India@Digital.Bharat, Prasad said, “India’s growth is interlinked to the Digital India programme. The government is dedicated in creating a digital ecosystem that will enable internet to touch the lives of all Indians.” 

He further added, “We need to look at creating hubs in rural India that will help grow e-commerce, which remains unexplored so far. Unless connectivity reaches every village of India, they dynamics of growth will remain unchanged. It took 30 years to cover 10 lakh km of optic fibre laying, and in just next 3 years 7 lakh kilometre will be added, making rural connectivity a reality.”

Sharing his views on what needs to be done to boost India's Internet economy, Prasad said, “For the Internet Economy to touch $200 billion by 2020, we need to move at a fast pace towards computer literacy. The other key areas which will help the internet economy to grow is Mobile internet. The government is committed to digitisation and we look at extensive PPP to the have successful implementation.”

The India@Digital.Bharat report establishes that India is headed towards an internet economy worth $200 billion by 2020, that will contribute 5 per cent of the GDP growing at 23 per cent compared to 13 per cent overall. Internet in India by 2018 will be more mature and mobile will be more predominant. The number of internet users in rural areas will touch 210 million by 2018, aiding India’s internet user base to cross 500 million by 2018.

Speaking at the launch of the Report at the India Digital Summit, Alpesh Shah, Senior Partner & Director – BCG, said, “India will have more than half a billion internet users in the next three years – this growth has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which consumers save, learn, play, move and work. However, the extent of shift will depend a lot on how the government and the industry come together to unlock the true potential of the internet.”

Earlier, delivering his inaugural address, Rajan Anandan, Chairman IAMAI and Managing Director, Google India, stressed on the growth of internet in India and successful roll-out of the government’s Digital India programme. He said, “India is the third country in the world to have over 5 internet companies valued at over $1 billion. India is the fastest growing internet country, but we need to move from narrow band to broadband at the earliest”.

India Digital Summit is IAMAI’s flagship annual event and has achieved great success and popularity in last few years. The Summit is attended by more than 800 delegates over two days, representing CEOs and senior executives, brand managers, publishers, advertisers, marketers or business owners, government officials, NGOs and evangelists from across sectors.

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