The state of Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian peninsula. It shares its borders with the union territory of Pudducherry and other southern states of Kerela, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Its coastal line runs along the Bay of Bengal to the east and the Indian Ocean to the South. It also shares its maritime borders with the nation of Sri Lanka.
Tamil Nadu is one of the fastest developing states of India and ranks sixth among the Indian States in terms of Human Development Index. In fact, it the second largest state economy of the country. The region scores high in terms of growth parameters, including literacy, sex ratio as well as healthcare and hygiene. However, there is still a large section of population which remains deprived of information which is important for their progress. Internet connectivity has widely been accepted has one of the most effective vehicles for knowledge dissemination. However, poor access to the internet and other ICT tools has left those falling outside the urban umbrella uninformed of their rights and entitlements, besides government schemes and service which could play a key role in transforming lives. For instance, food security is a chronic concern in the state of Tamil Nadu. Climatic changes and irregular rains not only affect the agricultural yield but also deplete quality of soil. Special online portals have been created as a solution to the problem where farmers can receive advice and information regarding new agricultural techniques, as well as apply for financial support. However, how a farmer could possibly access this knowledge in the absence of internet connectivity, is the question.
Despite socio-economic advancement, caste based division is still rampant in the region. The lower caste, even today are denied access to education, clean drinking water and public gatherings, and often boycotted at community interactions. This has further widened socio-economic disparity within the region.
Strengthening Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure in rural Tamil Nadu is the need of the hour. Unrestricted internet connectivity will 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. Training of basic computer applications provided exclusively to the farmers would not only equip them with additional capacities, but help them apply the digitally acquired knowledge on the farm.
One of the greatest characteristics of digital literacy is that it does not discriminate between human beings. In this way, digital literacy could become a gift for the marginalised and so-called lower castes. Computer education along with expertise to work with ICT tools would not only groom them into skilled individuals, but at the same boost their confidence to rise against discrimination and demand for their rights.
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||1.3 Lakh Sq. Km.|
|Total Population||7.2 Crore (Rural: 51%)|
|Population Density||555/Sq. Km.|
|Population, 0-6 years||10%|
|Sex Ratio (per 1000 males)||996:1000 (Rural 993:1000; Urban 1000:1000)|
|Total Literacy (7+ years)||80.09% (Male 86.77%; Female 73.44%)|
|Rural Literacy (7+ years)||73.54% (Male 82.04%; Female 65.05%)|
|Urban Literacy (7+ years)||87.04% (Male 91.80%; Female 82.31%)|
|Persons per household||3.5|
|Total Scheduled Caste Population*||19%|
|Total Scheduled Tribe Population*||1%|
|Total Worker Population||45.58% (Female 31.80%)|
|Total Town Panchayats||561|
(* The figures are according to 2001 Census)