India will have 500 million Internet users by the end of the year, said Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad. In a function at the Indore Management Association, Prasad said that the number of people using the Internet in India has gone up to 40 crore and is expected to go up to 50 crore in the next five to eight months. He also said that the government’s estimates suggest that 70 per cent of these new users will be accessing the Internet from their mobile phones. This is in line with various other reports that have suggested massive growth in the number of Internet users in the country.
According to Prasad, out of a population of about 125 crore people, 100 crore are already using mobile phones and 20-35 lakh mobile users are added to that every month. Likening the Narendra Modi government to the Vajpayee government, Prasad said that while the latter was known for building National Highways, Modi will be known for building Information Highways in the country.
Further, the Telecom Minister also said that the government has been working on an optical fibre network to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in India. Connecting them would allow e-business, e-health and other projects to be started, he added.
The Narendra Modi government has so far been focused on building the country’s tech ecosystem, encouraging companies from China etc. to start businesses in India. While Make In India and Digital India remain the buzzwords for the government’s future plans, there’s no denying that India has become an important market for companies everywhere. Our population, followed by lessers barriers to entry, as compared to China, have made India a favourable market. In addition, the fact that both the US and Chinese markets have been reaching saturation also help India come to the fore.