New Delhi: In a global index on digital quality of life in 85 countries, India ranked 9th on the internet affordability indicator, and 15th on e-government.
The index, prepared by Surfshark, a virtual private network (VPN) provider based in the British Virgin Islands, sought to rank countries on internet affordability and quality, and electronic infrastructure, security and government. All parameters have equal weightage.
Overall, India ranked 57th on the Digital Quality of Life Index 2020.
Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden topped the index, with Canada rounding up the top three.
Cheaper internet and e-government
According to the survey, Israel offered the cheapest internet — calculated by considering how much time one must work to be able to afford the cheapest mobile internet and broadband. It was followed by Canada and Azerbaijan. India scored the best on this parameter, leading countries like the UK, US and China.
Of the total countries, 75 per cent of them have to work more than the global average to afford the internet.
Singapore, the UK and the US performed the best on the e-government indicator — arrived at by checking the state of government’s online presence and readiness to employ artificial intelligence technology and help “minimise bureaucracy, reduce corruption and increase transparency of the public sector”.
India secured 15th position on this, ahead of the Netherlands, China and Belgium.
According to the index, the UK, France and Lithuania offer the most security — cybersecurity and status of personal data protection. India performed poorly here, standing at 57th position.
This pillar has “the strongest correlation with digital quality of life” but the “least correlation with a country’s GDP per capita”.
India also fell short on internet quality — which is a combination of average broadband download speed, average mobile download speed, broadband stability during the Covid-19 outbreak and mobile stability during the Covid-19 outbreak. With a rank of 78, it fell behind countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Singapore, Sweden and the Netherlands offered the best internet quality.
On electronic infrastructure — focusing on active internet users and information and communications technology adoption rate — India ranked 79th, behind neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
A highly functional electronic infrastructure allows “people to use the internet more in their daily lives for a multitude of purposes such as studying, e-commerce, entertainment, banking and others.”
The UAE, Sweden and Denmark have the most developed e-infrastructure.
According to the survey, the internet plays an even bigger role now as almost everything has moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The research found that “49 of 85 countries experienced deteriorated speeds of mobile internet, and 44 of broadband connection” in this period.