Digital Connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh

05 Nov 2021

Digitalization has always been an important talk of the day for India. It launched the “Digital India” program (2015) to empower India digitally in the domain of technology. Under the initiative, rural areas are being connected with high-speed internet networks and digital literacy is being improved in the nation. Making a big leap overnight, the country ranked as the second fastest country among the other 17 major digital economies in embracing digital adoption.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we have heavily relied on smart devices. Today, India has more internet users in comparison to some of the developed countries out there. The proliferation of digitalization has not just affected our lives positively but it has also brought improvements in the economic and social level. We’ve have undeniably come closer as one large community tied together by digital connectivity – While we stayed apart during a socially distanced period, we kept in touch through our digital screens; enabling us to carry out with online schools, colleges and work.

The scenario is no different in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where technological progress is slowly catching up. During the onset of lockdown, small enterprises tapped into online mode of operations – giving rise to a surge in the regional e-commerce sector as well.

The government of India has taken up a formidable task to launch and connect every rural area with high speed internet. Following this path the Government of Arunachal Pradesh recently launched a scheme called Arunachal State Wide Area Network (ArSWAN) on 13th of August 2021. The scheme is anticipated to aid in establishing digital connectivity between the state headquarters and block-level administrative centres via district and sub-divisional headquarters, in a vertical hierarchical structure with a minimum bandwidth capacity of 2 Mbps per link. The scheme expects to establish 184 SWAN Point of Presence (PoPs) in the state. As stated by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Pema Khandu ji, the scheme will help in reducing the cost of communication between government departments at different locations and will provide secure network infrastructure to enable electronic transfer of sensitive data, payments etc. With such an initiative taken up by the government, the state is expected to receive digital connectivity even in the remotest of regions, where communication lagged in the past.

However, in order to meet success in establishing efficient digital connectivity across the state, we need to address the following challenges currently prevailing –

  • Digital illiteracy: Not all of the state population is well acquainted with the usage of internet, especially in rural areas. For a full-fledged digitalization to take place, effective awareness campaigns need to be taken up.
  • Geographical disparities: The uneven geographical disparities in Arunachal Pradesh may attract adventure lovers, but dishes out challenges for the state in setting up infrastructures needed for digital connectivity.
  • Cyber-crime: As more people adept to internet usage, the risk of cyber crime also rises. Adequate measures to control fraudulent activities online needs to be taken up parallelly.

Despite hindrances, the plan to bring a full-fledged digitalization into the state is gradually progressing. Considering the fact that covid-19 pandemic is still not completely over, development of a reliable digital infrastructure and connectivity has become as important as development of roads and bridges. While our dependency drifts more towards digital technologies, it is important to ensure that all of our data are safeguarded well and protected from unforeseen digital threats. With that said, establishment of end-to-end digital connectivity will provide a much-needed boost for the overall development of the state at par with the rest of the nation.

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