Frontline World

Cambodia - Pol Pot's Shadow, October, 2002

Related Features
Synopsis of "Hole in the Wall"

Favorite Sites, Digital Glossary, Interview

Making Connections

Learn more about India

The International Digital Divide




Images of Indian people, animals and culture

Population: 1.04 billion

Capital: New Delhi

Government: Democratic, parliamentary

Land area: 3.29 million square kilometers, about one-third the size of the United States

Gross domestic product: Ranked 12th-largest in the world

GDP per capita: $2,500

Gross national income per capita: $450

Life expectancy: Males: 62 years; females: 64 years

Literacy rate: Males: 65.5%; females: 37.7%

Language: 18 principal languages; Hindi spoken by more than one-third of the people; dominant business language is English

Religion: 81% Hindu, 12% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 2% Sikh, 1.2% Buddhist and Jainist

Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%
• The Republic of India, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal between Burma and Pakistan, gained independence in 1947 after nonviolent resistance to British colonialism. India's history dates back at least 5,000 years, and the Indus Valley civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

• While India has reduced poverty levels since independence, more than 25 percent of its people are still living below the poverty line.

• Agricultural industries employ the majority of Indians, but information technologies are the fastest-growing enterprises in the country.

•  More than half of America's Fortune 500 companies outsource to India for information technology support. Two-way trade between the United States and India totaled more than $14 billion in 2000 -- a 100 percent increase since 1993.

• India's software industry grew at an annual rate of more than 50 percent during the 1990s, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and helping to create one of the finest talent pools of information technology professionals in the world.

• India is the second-most-populous country in the world, with more than 1 billion people, yet it's estimated that only 5 million are connected to the Internet.

• Seventy percent of India's people live in rural areas, where electricity and telephone service are scarce. There are two telephones per 100 people in India, and more than 2 million people are on the country's waiting list for main line telephone service.

• The southern state of Karnataka, where Bangalore is located, is better known as India's "Silicon State." In Bangalore, which is ranked by the United Nations as the fourth-best global hub of technological innovation, 85 percent of people still don't have access to a computer, and 100,000 school-aged children don't go to school.

• India is home to the world's largest number of illiterates and accounts for 20 percent of the world's out-of-school children. The country also has one of the highest female-male literacy gaps in the world; in the state of Rajasthan, where the literacy rate for women is 5 percent, the female-male literacy gap is the worst in the world.
• The United States has more computers than the rest of the world combined.

• Eighty-eight percent of all Internet users are in industrialized nations, yet those countries only have 15 percent of the world's population.

• Less than 5 percent of computers connected to the Internet are in developing countries.

• Internet users in Africa and West Asia together account for just 1 percent of people connected online.

• While poor countries have about 1.4 lines telephones per 100 people, the industrialized world has nearly 50 telephone lines for every 100 people.

• Tokyo has more telephone lines than all of Africa, while more than half of the world's population has yet to make a telephone call.

• Eight of 10 Web sites are in English, a language understood by only one in 10 people on the planet.

back to top

Sources: CIA Worldfactbook; World Bank Country Report: India; Census of India 2001; United Nations World Employment Report 2001; United Nations Human Development Report; Population Resource Center; U.S. Internet Council; India Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California; International Telecommunications Union; BBC Online News;