At the World Summit of the Information Society in December 2003, it was declared that the global challenge for the new millennium is to build a society where everyone could access and share information, enabling individuals and communities to achieve their full potential in promoting their development and improving their quality of life. This commitment was acknowledged again in the second phase of the summit in November 2005, putting emphasis on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) implementation. India started implementation of ICT during the decade of 1980s and could witness a rapid development in the software industry contributing significantly to the world ICT. But the rapid development in software industry has not been matched with the development of other ICT sectors such as hardware and telecommunications. There is a divide in the digitalization process among Indian states and such imbalances can cause harm to the development of the ICT sector as a whole. The digital divide is huge in terms of internet users, and it also exists for telephone and mobile users.
A recent survey report India online 2008 shows that while Internet penetration has increased to 12% in urban India from 9% last year, rural penetration still stands at 4.5% and over half of all net users (51%) in the country are salaried employees in the corporate world. India is expected to have second largest number of mobile users in the world after China by the first quarter of 2008 and statistics also show that India has the highest total net addition of mobile subscriber in the last quarter of 2007. Although the number of mobile users are increasing and the difference in the degree of use of ICT among people is still increasing. This gap is prominent mostly in between rural urban area, but it is also wide enough among urban areas.
To bridge the digital divide, a number of policies (ICT infrastructure development, English language training, Local language support etc) are implemented by central and state government. A large number of pilot projects(such as Hole in the Wall, TARAHaat, iShakti) were set up by NGOs, Government, cooperatives, private sector, and individual entrepreneurs to help the farthest potential user to get the appropriate benefit of ICT. Unfortunately only few of these experiments scaled up. Failure of these attempts induced few Indian ICT firms to come up with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community and the society at large to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development. This initiative is restricted in the local areas. Unfortunately CSR activities conducted by ICT firms do not have any national or state level plan and appear to be determined by geographic location of the companies and not by the development indices. This indicates that ICT industry as a whole needs to have a proper CSR strategy based on development indices to decide its course of actions to bridge the digital divide.