February 09, 2006

24 of 25

Figures ... Some days ago I mentioned here some numbers about the effect of education on the age at which women marry. Here's something else for today, from a Hindustan Times report.

The Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) did a study of internet users in December 2005. They report that the number of Internet users in India is 38.5 million (here's a short report from their site).

That's a huge number, one that has shown a better than 50% increase since last year, and IAMAI expects it to hit 100 million next year. But nevertheless, think of it this way: less than 4 per cent of this huge country uses the Internet.

In other words, 24 of every 25 Indians do not use the Internet.

Yet if I look around me, it's easy to say "everyone" uses the Internet. I'm hard-pressed to think of a single friend of mine who does not have an email address. (How many can you think of like that among your circle of friends?) And what that tells me is that you and I belong to a small slice of India. Note: I'm not saying a rich slice, a privileged slice, a poor slice, nothing like that. I'm not even saying, this 38.5 million is a dismal number. I'm simply saying, a small slice.

On How the Other Half Lives, where I also write, we get asked (explicitly or otherwise) who this "other half" is. In my mind, it's not the poor, or the "bottom half", nothing like that. Instead, it is the India that's out there beyond my assumptions about it.

Like the one that says, "everyone" uses the Internet.

1 comment:

Hiren said...

Very,very interesting, I must say especially that remark about 24 out of 25 Indians. I am beginning to wonder where to get the blogging statistics from so that one knows the total market size. Someone told me that a majority of Indians use Internet only for email. If Internet is in its infancy, where does blogging stand? Conception.

With India's legacy in software development, I really hope someone comes up with an Indian blogexplosion.com, technorati.com or for that matter blogger or wordpress.