Despite India’s recent progress in business and regulatory environment, India ranks 91 out of 139 countries on “Network Readiness Index” rankings of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
At 91, India was ahead of Pakistan (110) and Bangladesh (112), but behind Sri Lanka (63), Malaysia (31), and China (59). Singapore topped the rankings for second year in a row. The US was placed at 5th position.
“Although India’s absolute score has changed only marginally in recent years, the drop can be attributed in part to the fact that other countries are moving ahead at higher speeds,” said the report.
The lack of infrastructure, low levels of skills among the population, and vast digital divide between well-connected urban and remote rural areas were cited as the key bottlenecks to widespread digital adoption.
“Only 15 out of 100 households have access to the Internet and mobile broadband remains a privilege of the few, with only 5.5 subscriptions for every 100 people,” said the report. Indian government’s Digital India initiative, launched in 2015, is aimed at addressing the gap, the report noted.
To be sure, India’s ranking for the sub categories in business and regulatory environment has improved from last year. Within these subcategories, India’s improvements in its political and regulatory environment helped it climb four places at 78, and its business and innovation environment were up five notches to 110.
India still ranked high on affordability, and was placed eighth best in this category.
India’s performance in online services and e-participation was deemed to be in line with its peer countries, but still far behind many developed countries.
The Network Readiness rankings are part of WEF’s Global Information Technology Report 2016, aimed at encouraging investments in the IT and communications industry and shedding light on the social and economic impact of such initiatives.