Including the Marginalised: Governing Digital Divides in India
Panel:18 | Interrogating Marginalities Across Disciplinary Boundaries: Perspectives From South Asia
Timeslot:07/28 | 17:30-17:50 UTC+2/CEST
At a global level, discourses on communication and e-governance suggest a wide or even universal inclusion into the “digital society”, particularly among youth. On the other hand, marginalisation has continued to be a core characteristic for many socially and regionally disadvantaged groups across the ‘Global South’. Counterbalancing these have remained a critical aspect of formulating national policies, and even more so for implementing these at the local level. Some of these debates have been captured in discourses as ‘digital divide’. The paper aims at providing analyses from India, where on the one hand digital policies, particularly Modi’s “Digital India”, have addressed the need for counterbalancing marginalisation, for both access to communication and core government services. Thus, India can be seen as the epitom of a communication hub, with globally well-connected centres but vast rural (and urban) areas where digital communication has remained limited to privileged social groups. Based on Fukuyama’s (2013) ideas of governance as “a government’s ability to make and enforce rules, and to deliver services” it will then address digital divides from a broader angle of exclusion and marginalisation. Empirical evidence of such selective inclusion and marginalisation processes can be found, inter alia, in Youth Surveys that have been conducted in recent years.