President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday inaugurated 24 hot-spots with 30 WiFi access points in the President’s Estate, making it 100 percent WiFi enabled.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said India was at the 89th position in Network Readiness Index. Countries like Singapore, Finland and Sweden are leaders in this index. Mukherjee called upon the authorities to ensure availability of infrastructure for internet and ICT-enabled services across the country and use it in a systematic manner. “WiFi services could be rolled out in public places across the country, both in urban and rural India,” Mukherjee said.
The President said India, with 244 million internet users, ranks third after China and the US in terms of number. “However, the penetration of internet use as a percentage of the population is only 20, indicating not only a huge gap but significant potential for future growth as well,” he said. He also pointed out that with 960 million mobile phones today, India stands second in the world behind China. “We have more than 77 mobile phone connections per 100 citizens, which is commendable in terms of the penetration achieved by us in mobile telephony,” he said.
Mukherjee added the government has launched many programmes for the benefit of the common man. Yet, in the absence or poor presence of an effective communication strategy, a large segment of the intended beneficiary population remains unaware of the various benefits they are entitled to. “Many a time, it becomes difficult to ensure that the government policies and programmes reach the general population in various parts of the country. In this context, the idea of bringing information to the doorsteps of citizens through network is a revolutionary step to transform India to a Digital India,” he added.
Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was present on the occasion.