How Digital is India – The Results are In!

Sanchita Lobo

July 25th, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, Jigsaw students and Alumni were invited to explore the nature and extent of digital inclusion. The response was tremendous and we had 62 students join the context to showcase their analytic skills and 22 students giving in final submissions.

The participants were mentored by IIM faculty, Prof Maitrayee Mukerji who is part of the faculty at IIM Kashipur. She is a Fellow in Rural Management (FPRM) from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). Her doctoral thesis titled “ICTs and Development: A Study of Tele-centers in Rural India” has been published as a book in 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan (UK).

We at Team Jigsaw were excited to see the enthusiasm and effort put in by all those who participated and the final submissions were indeed of high quality, given the fact that it was an open ended research study dealing with census data that was a large data set, that included multiple data-sets, each with multiple variables and multiple ways of approaching them. We thank and appreciate the time and effort put in by all. We hope to bring more such interesting projects in the year so that our students can hone and strengthen their skills in data exploration, analysis and visualization.

Congratulations once again to the top three winning groups.

Finalist Group 1- Sampada Talwalkar(Jan 2016), Arnab Roy(Jan 2016), Bijay Pal(Jan 2016), Swarupa Patra(Dec 2015). States: Uttarakhand/ Himachal Pradesh

Finalist Group 2- Showbhik Bhowmik(July 2015). States:Kerala/Tamil Nadu

Finalist Group 3- Asha Vishwanathan(Oct 2015). States: Andhra Pradesh/Karnataka

Here are some more details about the contest as outlined by Prof. Maitrayee Mukerji:

The contest was launched to explore the application of analytical tools for public policy evaluation and formulation. The learning objective was to demonstrate use of tools like SAS/R to extract, manipulate, analyze and visualize data available in public dataset. Against the backdrop of the very recent “Digital India Program”, and considering that Census of India 2011 has household level data on computers, mobile phones and Internet connectivity up to the village household level, the contest made an attempt to examine the nature and extent of “digital inclusion in India”.

The comparison was to be done at the village levels for different states. Each group got to work on two states and analyze the data. The groups were given a broad outline of the approach to follow, but nevertheless they were given the freedom to conceptualize and operationalize as per their thought process.

The key challenge encountered was on understanding the data set, framing the problem statement, and selecting the right set of variables from nearly 600 variables to come up with a coherent analysis. Participants made use of different approaches like regression, clustering and decision trees.

While the findings and insights were mixed, at times contradicting those of other groups, the analysis provided some interesting highlights.

While in Kerala, around 11.2% households in rural areas had computers, the corresponding figure for Tamil Nadu is only 4.4%. In almost all states, the penetration of mobile phones was much higher than either computer with and without Internet. For example, in Tamil Nadu only 8.7% of rural household had landline phones but the mobile penetration was as high as 60.8%.

Good condition of households, female literacy, and availability of electricity appeared to be strong predictors of the extent of digitalization in some states. Availability of educational infrastructure with village gave mixed results for different states. A particularly interesting fact was that around 47 villages in Himachal Pradesh reported having 100% Internet access at the household level. Contrary to expectations, these villages had zero number of higher education institutes.

The contest gave an opportunity to get hands-on experience on real data and enabled building up of a small repository of techniques for merging, visualizing and drawing insights from the data. The tools and techniques will be refined and tested further for generalizing and finding patterns for digital inclusion for the country as a whole.

Watch this space. We will shortly post the winning submissions.

Update: 06/10/2016

Here are the winning submissions:

1st Place: Sampada Talwalkar, Arnab Roy, Bijay Pal, Swarupa Patra. States: Uttarakhand/ Himachal Pradesh

Jigsaw Academy Digital India Contest – Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh from Jigsaw Academy


2nd Place: Showbhik Bhowmik. States:Kerala/Tamil Nadu

Jigsaw Academy Digital India Contest – Kerala & Tamil Nadu from Jigsaw Academy


3rd Place: Asha Vishwanathan. States: Andhra Pradesh/Karnataka

Jigsaw Academy Digital India Contest – Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka from Jigsaw Academy




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