In order to learn more about the characteristics of digital literacy in India, it is necessary to understand what it is.
Now for many scholars, digital literacy is a combination of the following four skills:
- The ability to collect data;
- The skill of extracting content from information (information processing);
- The capacity to navigate the Internet;
- The ability to navigate text.
Functions of digital literacy
Now it is worth defining why we need this type of skills:
- Considerably simplifies the learning process by enabling a variety of additional materials for students;
- Allows the exchange of ideas, work results and other important information much faster;
- High levels of digital literacy allow for more effective creation and maintenance of diverse communities of people;
- It opens up new opportunities for knowledge acquisition.
In addition, in the long term, digital literacy is an important component of a country’s innovative development. After all, educated and competent people will make greater use of services created using online technology. And this will already help produce an environment in which new models of business and technology will be created.
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Information Technology Development in India
India began to actively develop in this area in 2008. It was in this year that strict data protection and privacy provisions were introduced. Changes have also been made to protect user data with encryption.
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In 2013, a national mobile management initiative was launched. And since then, the popularity of mobile apps has only grown. 2014 gave Indians a platform, Mygov.in, where people can exchange views and write their ideas to develop India as an innovative country. And in 2015, eKranti emerged and became the foundation for the emergence of the Digital India programme.
Digital India Programme
This programme was created to ensure that people have access to government services digitally. This requires bringing the Internet to the rural areas of India, which will expand the user base of the World Wide Web in the country.
So why did India need to create this digital programme in the first place? A number of reasons come down to economics:
- Removing the black economy by increasing digital payments and reducing cash transactions;
- Increased revenues – keeping track of sales will become much easier, and tax withholding will be much harder for unfair citizens;
- Improved empowerment of most people.
But apart from economic reasons, the health and social well-being of citizens was an urgent issue. This is how the eHOSPITAL platform came about, bringing together patients, doctors and hospitals for quick access to the Indian healthcare system. And with the advent of bank accounts and mobile devices for the majority of the population, subsidies to people in need have come much faster.
Educational tactics in Digital India
Despite the Digital India programme that started in 2015, the 2020-2021 pandemic has highlighted a very important problem. The fragmentation of socio-economic development in India has led to remote learning becoming unaffordable for a large number of people.
At the same time, a large proportion of Indians who live in remote regions did not have access to up-to-date knowledge about coronavirus infection. This part of the citizens found themselves in a very dangerous medical and social situation.
That is why a new programme has been adopted to develop an accessible online learning environment. It includes:
- Pilot projects for online education
- Development of digital infrastructure;
- Online educational programmes and tools;
- Virtual repositories for educational content;
- Combating the digital divide;
- Virtual laboratories;
- Teacher training programmes for digital environments;
- Online examination systems;
- Connecting online and offline forms of learning;
- Developing standards for learning in a digital environment.
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India’s Digitalisation Challenges
For India, a number of digitalisation challenges are very significant barriers to the development of technology. These challenges include:
- The problem of cybersecurity for resources and data, including personal ones;
- The issue of digital rubbish (the amount of it in India is increasing every year and disposal of such rubbish is very costly);
- Low awareness among Indians about the resources provided, lack of easy access to these resources as well as limited digital skills. In brief, this problem is called the digital divide;
- The problem of information management and preservation of electronic records.
The present government is striving to fix these issues, but it is not possible to say that these problems have disappeared yet.
The digital literacy issues of the Indian population today is a pressing problem in the innovative development of this country. The differences in age, economic, material development, as well as population awareness do not allow large groups of Indians to stand on the same level as the rest.
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