Located in the western side of India, Maharashtra is the third largest state of the country by land area. Its capital is the metropolitan city of Mumbai, which is also India’s financial and commercial capital. Maharashtra borders in the west with the Arabian Sea and rest with the states of Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Being one of the most urbanised regions of India, Maharashtra has the potential to offer high standards of living to its people, thus attracting large number of immigrants from across the country. However the rapid progress in urban Maharashtra strikes an unfortunate contrast against its rural regions. Over 55% population of the state is engaged in agriculture as main occupation and depends heavily on monsoon rains for a decent harvest. Although in the past couple of decades, irregular rains have pushed farmers towards extreme poverty and deprivation. Overdependence on conventional methods of cultivation and general lack of awareness about alternative livelihood opportunities has further aggravated the situation.
Over 17% of its area is covered with dense forests and homes a large ethnic populace. Currently, 47 schedule tribes have been identified in the region. Naturally, tribal districts, such as District Gadchiroli remain perennially isolated from modernity and a sizeable section lacks means to connect with the outside world. Access to basic infrastructural facilities, such as education, sanitation and healthcare goes from limited to none. Thick vegetation and difficulty of terrain have constantly obstructed free flow of information and communication technology services, causing knowledge darkness in a major portion of the region.
In such stubborn conditions, digital Inclusion will act as an effective vehicle of change. Creation of robust digital platforms that enable knowledge empowerment of tribal and marginalized communities will not only eradicate information poverty but also connect the isolated with rest of the country. Access to all kinds of information and internet services will keep people informed of their rights and entitlements. This would, in turn, encourage greater community participation in governance. With internet and mobile applications, farmers could keep themselves updated with agricultural innovations and new farming techniques, hence keeping strong in even the most adverse situations.
Gearing tribal youth with computer literacy and expertise of digital applications would not only groom them for a world of professions, but also facilitate formation of a strong team of talented individuals who would actively participate in the process of nation building.
|Area||3.42 Lakh Sq. Km.|
|Total Population||11.23 Crore (Rural 55%)|
|Population Density||365/Sq. Km.|
|Population, 0-6 years||12%|
|Sex Ratio (per 1000 males)||929:1000 (Rural 952:1000; Urban 903:1000)|
|Total Literacy (7+ yrs)||82.33% (Female 75.87%; Male 88.38%)|
|Rural Literacy (7+ yrs)||77.01% (Female 68.54%; Male 85.15%)|
|Urban Literacy (7+ yrs)||88.69% (Female 84.89 %; Male 92.12%)|
|Total Scheduled Caste Population*||10.2%|
|Total Scheduled Tribe Population*||8.9%|
|Total Worker Population||44% (Female 31.1% )|
|Total Panchayat Samitis||351|
(* The figures are according to 2001 Census)