Jharkhand will soon rope in private agencies to make villagers internet-friendly so that they can benefit from the government’s online services, information technology (IT) department officials said on Sunday.
One member of seven lakh rural households will be trained in the use of computers and internet, said state IT director Umesh Prasad Sah. The government targets to make all members of the seven lakh families net-savvy by 2020.
“We have decided to outsource this job to private agencies. Tender notices would be out within 10 working days,” said Sah.
The Jharkhand government has been focusing on the use of internet and information technology to empower rural populace in the left-wing extremism-hit areas. The state has developed a software for monitoring and implementation of welfare schemes under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). It runs an online grievance-redressal system, but only a few villagers use it due to lack of knowledge about internet, officials said.
According to the 2011 census, of the 6.8 million households in Jharkhand, around one lakh use internet through desktops and 3.3 lakh use computers without internet. The internet penetration in Jharkhand is 1.5% of the 3.29 crore population, which means around five lakh people use internet.
A nationwide study, conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on internet-readiness index, found the tele-density (number of telephone users per 100 people) in Jharkhand to be 46. In Delhi, the tele-density is 222.
Of the seven lakh households identified by the IT department, around 1.5 lakh have been imparted training by government representatives. Representatives of private agencies will go door to door to train the remaining 5.5 lakh households, said officials.
“It will be a 20-hour training for each household. The trainer would be given around `600 for the job. The trained members of the household will be asked to train other members,” said Sah.
The IT department initially planned to train villagers in blocks. As a majority of the villagers were reluctant to visit the blocks, the department decided to go for door-to-door trainings, officials said.
Sah said the department has made it easy for mobile operators to launch internet services in villages by making the process online. “Optical fibres are being laid at the villages for internet and phone connectivity,” he said.
The department, officials said, was working on developing android phone apps for welfare schemes to ensure that villagers get information about benefits on phones.
Cyber expert Vineet Kumar said the trainings could be useful if the villagers used internet regularly after they were trained.
“Villagers may forget how to use computers or internet due to lack of practice,” said Kumar, president of the Cyber Peace Foundation.