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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: When Odisha government is shifting the gears to drive on the internet-based governance, the big hitch is Odisha fared at the bottom in the country when it comes to the people's ability in the very usage of the internet technology.

In displaying a characteristically poor show, a mere 10.9 per cent people above 5-years age in Odisha have the ability to use the internet, reveals the recently released National Sample Survey (NSS) report titled Household Social Consumption on Education in India.

As per the findings of the report, owing to poorest usage ability, Odisha has to sit at the bottom among the 22 states in the country. Even, neighbouring states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand scored some notches higher than Odisha.

More disturbing signs are, the technology divide is also clearly discernible in the State. When 29.3 per cent in urban areas can use internet facility in Odisha, its mere 7.4 per cent in rural Odisha.

Significantly, the survey finds a measly 9.1 per cent persons of age 5 years and above used internet during the last 30 - days period prior to the survey. And Odisha again ranked at the bottom in the current internet users.

The rural-urban divide details look more distressing. While in rural Odisha, only around 6 per cent have used internet during the last 30-days, the number in urban areas counted at a high of 26 per cent.

Not only urban-rural divide, a gender divide was also to the fore. In urban Odisha, when nearly 33 per cent males used internet during the last 30-days, only 19 per cent females used so there.

In rural Odisha, the female internet users were mere 2.9 per cent vis-a-vis 8.7 per cent males.

The technology bar in the State is also to the fore again, when the NSS report finds only 8.5 per cent persons of age 5 years and above have the ability to operate computers.

However, the State is not at the bottom here. Bihar and Jharkhand have fared poorer than Odisha.

Above all, the revealing fact is only 10 per cent  households in Odisha have the internet facility, which is lowest in the country. While 31.2 per cent households in urban areas avail internet, only 5.8 per cent could do so in rural areas.

The bottomline is while proportion of households having internet facility or computers hint at affordability, the NSS findings on ability to use internet or operate computers is linked to skills of people in using the technology of the contemporary era.

So, when technology is one of the main pillar of Naveen government's 5T, it's high time for the State government to bring in a rejig to its famed Skilled in Odisha Mission.

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