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There were 3.

3 million active internet users in rural India as on March 2008 acc ording to the ongoing I-Cube 2008 jointly undertaken by IMRB International and I nternet and Mobile Association of India. I-Cube which traditionally mapped internet users in urban India has for the firs t time covered rural India in the survey and the results seems to be encouraging , especially since 5.5 million people actually claimed that they used internet a nd some point in time. Since rural India was mapped for the first time, the year on year growth of inte rnet users in rural India could not be estimated this time. Commenting on the research findings, IAMAI president, Dr Subho Ray mentioned given the various government and private sector efforts to connect rural Indians, this was the right time to take the survey to rural India and find out the state of affairs there . In fact, penetration of internet in rural India is directly related to the activities of the government and NGOs he added. Given the various government and private sector initiatives to connect rural Ind ia, especially the government-led National e-Governance Programme, it was import ant to bring rural India under the vortex of the survey. Rural India is soon goi ng to figure prominently in the business plan of internet companies. The survey was, therefore, timely. According to the Survey, in rural India, the proportion of population, literacy and internet penetration appears to be as shown in the illustration below: 818 Mn* Total Indian Population 568 Mn* Rural Population 368 Mn* Rural Literate Population 63 Mn* Rural English-Speaking Population 15.1 Mn Rural Computer Literates 5.5 Mn Rural Claimed Internet Users 3.3 Mn Rural Active Internet Users Given the high levels of literacy in rural India and very low levels of English speaking population, the survey made a clear case of content and applications in local languages in order to ensure higher and faster adoption of internet in ru ral India. Commenting on the study Mr. Mohan Krishnan, Senior Vice President BIRD, a specia lized unit of IMRB International said The rural market holds tremendous potential f or any media. However, for Internet to flourish in rural India, the applications need to be in vernacular languages, preferably with Text to Speech capabilities . It would be better if visual symbols, graphics and rich media applications are used. The key question is whether we have the right infrastructure to support t hese applications. Since this was the first survey of rural internet users, IMRB used an elaborate and comprehensive methodology. First, clusters of states were created based on p opulation density, per capita income and levels of literacy and then households were classified [SEC] on the basis of educational qualifications, occupation of the chief wage earner and type of the household into four categories R1, R2, R3 and R4. Out of all the districts in the state, a sample of 6 districts were cove red which were representatives of the population of a particular state. 6 villag es were selected from each state based on six of the population and rural respon dents from 6 villages across each selected district were interviewed.