One of the main reasons for rapid internet adoption across socio-economic structures was the launch of Digital India in 2015. This was a campaign to make government services available digitally to citizens, establishing the necessary infrastructure with the cheap availability of 4G. Initially, this propelled social media use among the digital population, specifically Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, internet use diversified at a swift rate. With an almost total shift to the digital ecosystem, there was an increase in the use and frequency of streaming videos and music, consuming news, playing games, and ordering groceries and food online. With affordable data plans and budget brands across companies, smartphones remained the key device to the online world. E-commerce, however, was dominated by urban centers, specifically among the more affluent classes. Consequently, this reflected in online banking and digital payments use as well.
The complexity of connecting all Indians
The main challenge of integrating India’s digital population was addressing its different layers of diversity. Internet inclusion meant the addition of regional languages along with English, addressing the need for digital literacy across socio-economic layers, specifically among women. What added to this challenge was the government’s clampdown on free speech and content regulation within the digital ecosystem. India ranked among the highest for restrictions on internet worldwide in recent years.
Despite these constraints, the Indian internet market was a game-changer for the economy. With the 5G auction in mid-2022, digitization was bound to take the next step in the country.
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