Located in the eastern part of the country, Bihar is one of the most populous states of India. It shares its borders with states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, and international borders with Nepal. Despite once being the centre of several historic kingdoms and home for ancient universities, the state today stands as one of the least developed regions of the country.
Over three quarters of its population resides in rural areas, majority engaged in agricultural activities for livelihood. Several backward pockets in Bihar constantly suffer from poverty and deprivation. With a literacy rate barely over 60%, Bihar ranks the lowest among other states in terms of number of literates. On the other hand, every year the state produces a large number of employable candidates, often highly qualified academically. However because of its enormous population, there is an acute shortage of employment opportunities to cater to such large number. The region’s failure to tap its valuable human resource is apparent as a multitude of talented individuals have been migrating to other states seeking jobs.
Additionally, internet ownership is barely 1% with only 0.5% in rural areas. Naturally, majority of Bihar’s population lacks access to internet enabled information and communication technology services. This includes basic rights and entitlements, welfare schemes related to education, sanitation, nutrition, healthcare, and sustainable livelihood opportunities. The severe information vacuum created in such a scenario has aggravated the state of poverty and kept a significant section of the population isolated from mainstream progress.
Despite a huge population, a strong digital foothold has the potential to transform life of each and every individual in the region. Computer education will upgrade the existing educational infrastructure. Through digital tools, such as online portals and mobile apps, the agricultural community will be enabled to access knowledge of latest farming techniques. Nonetheless, access to the internet will open a plethora of professional avenues to the rural youth.
Digital Literacy imparted through CIRCs would act as an effective vehicle to upturn low literacy rates in the region. In fact, an unrestrained flow of information would also help in eradicating prevailing social stigmas based on gender, health, caste and ethnicity. Digitally enabled community centres would act as common platforms where rural communities can freely discuss local issues and devise solutions. Information and Communication Technology services will hence catalyse reduction in poverty, upgrade standards of living and facilitate in the creation of a knowledge society.
|Area||3.42 Lakh Sq. Km.|
|Total Population||10.41 Crore (Rural 75.1%, Urban 25.9%)|
|Population Density||1,106/Sq. Km.|
|Population, 0-6 years||18%|
|Sex Ratio (per 1000 males)||918:1000 (Rural 921:1000; Urban 895:1000)|
|Total Literacy (7+ years)||61.8% (Female 51.5%; Male 71.2%)|
|Rural Literacy (7+ years)||59.7% (Female 49%; Male 69.6%)|
|Urban Literacy (7+ years)||76.86% (Female 70.49%; Male 82.56%)|
|Total Scheduled Caste Population*||15.7%|
|Total Scheduled Tribe Population*||0.9%|
|Total Worker Population||33.36% (Female 19.07%)|
|Total Panchayat Samitis||8,405|
(* The figures are according to 2001 Census)
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