TRAI releases consultation paper on digital inclusion

India has made significant progress in digital transformation and government initiatives have played a pivotal role in expanding connectivity and promoting digital inclusion.

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a Consultation Paper on ‘Digital Inclusion in the Era of Emerging Technologies’ to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid advancement of emerging technologies. The paper focuses on ensuring inclusivity for all segments of society, mainly focusing on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Digital inclusion is seen as crucial for empowering every citizen in the country. TRAI recognises the need for a robust policy framework and stakeholder collaboration to promote participation in digital economic activities. Despite India’s progress in digital transformation and becoming the second-largest telecom market in terms of subscribers, there are still disparities in internet broadband penetration and practical usage.

The Consultation Paper seeks stakeholders’ input, inviting them to provide written comments on the issues raised. Stakeholders have until October 16 to submit their comments, with counter comments accepted until October 31.

Why does it matter?

The paper identifies various gaps in digital inclusion, such as mobile internet usage gaps, rural-urban internet penetration disparities, and gender gaps in access. Accessibility, affordability, and safe usage of broadband services and applications pose concerns, especially for marginalised communities, women and girls, and micro or small entrepreneurs in remote areas or villages.