Located in India’s south-west, Karnataka is the ninth most populous state of the country. It comprises of three main geographical zones – a coastal region, a hilly region covering the Western Ghats and a region covering plains of the Deccan plateau. The state shares its border with the states of Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Its capital is Bengaluru, which is one of the biggest urban conglomerations of India.
However, growth in Karnataka is disproportionate and concentrated only to select urban locations. In fact, Karnataka persistently has had the highest population living under poverty among other southern states. The semi-rural and rural pockets of the state, such as District Coorg have been showing weak performance on basic developmental parameters, including literacy, health and nutrition, as well as communication infrastructure. Internet penetration in rural Karnataka is less that 1%. In fact, lack of media and communication network has caused widespread knowledge darkness in terms of rights and entitlements, government welfare schemes, latest agricultural developments, financial benefits and superior livelihood opportunities. Large scheduled caste population resides in Karnataka. Despite cultural modernisation, the large scheduled caste population residing in this region has to face social discrimination and exclusion from the sphere of progress.
A strong ICT infrastructure built in rural Karnataka would ensure that every piece of information promptly reaches the right audience. Easy access to basic digital tools, comprising of the laptop, the internet and mobile phones, would help the underserved obtain any information online, whenever they need. This could range from their rights and entitlements, government welfare schemes, financial facilities, etc., to national and international know-how. One of the greatest rewards of digital literacy is that it doesn’t discriminate. Training of basic computer applications provided especially to the marginalised sections would not only equip them with additional capacities, but also provide them with the confidence to stand against discrimination. Computer literacy complemented with conventional educational methods would help rural students sharpen their skills and enhance employability for future. Moreover, widespread digital inclusion would help promote entrepreneurship and generate an array of alternate livelihoods for traditional workers. Further, understanding of e-commerce applications would help local artisans and craftsmen showcase their creations through online platforms and connect with national as well as global markets.
CIRCs have been acting as robust connecting spaces where community members gather and identify issues relevant to the community and formulate viable solutions. In this way, CIRCs not only empower communities with knowledge and information access, but also encourages active participation in local governance.
|Area||1.91 Lakh Sq. Km.|
|Total Population||6.11 Crore (Rural 57%)|
|Population Density||319/Sq. Km.|
|Population, 0-6 years||12%|
|Sex Ratio (per 1000 males)||973:1000 (Rural 979:1000; Urban 963:1000)|
|Total Literacy (7+ years)||75.36% (Male 82.47%; Female 68.08%)|
|Rural Literacy (7+ years)||68.73% (Male 77.61%; Female 59.71%)|
|Urban Literacy (7+ years)||85.78% (Male 90.04%; Female 81.36%)|
|Total Scheduled Caste Population*||16.2%|
|Total Scheduled Tribe Population*||6.6%|
|Total Worker Population||45.62% (Female 31.87%)|
(* The figures are according to 2001 Census)