Challenge of Sustained Power Supply across India
India has near universal electricity connections, but sustained electricity supply varies significantly across the country

  • Almost 99.9% of homes in India have a power connection (Government of India,2017)
  • Geographic advantage: Metros get 7 hours more power on average than underservedrural areas

Power Supply

Less than 50%of households have access to electricity for more than 12 hours

Source: Ministry of Rural Development, Mission Antyodaya, 2019

Power Cuts

Metros get seven hour s more power on average than under-developed rural areas

Source: ICE 360Survey, 2016, from People Research on India's Consumer Economy (PRICE)

Lack of Digital Devices at Home
Device ownership at HH level is varied; while only 11% HH have access to computers, ~88% own a mobile phone

Households with access to computers (%)

Source: NSS 75th Round, 2019

Households with mobile phone (%)

Varied Mobile Phone Ownership
While mobile ownership is increasing, it varies significantly by age, income and gender

Mobile phone ownership by age-group (%)

Mobile phone ownership by income group (%)

Mobile phone ownership by gender(%)

Urban Internet Subscribers outpace Rural Subscribers
Internet subscribers in India have been growing steadily with urban internet subscribers outpacing rural subscribers

Internet subscribers in India (mn)

According to TRAI, as ofSeptember 2020, 96.78% of all internet subscribers in India were mobile wireless subscribers

Disparities in Internet Access & Usage by Geography & Gender

Rural-urban gap in internet access

Source:  TRAI (as on December 2019)
Note: Data not given for three circles – Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal(including Sikkim)

Internet usage by gender (%)

Source:  National Family Health Survey 5, 2019-20

Varied Access to Internet at Home
At the household level, access to internet varies from 10-24% depending on definition and datasource




Sample Size


ICE 360 Survey, 2016


1. Access to internet at home2. Access to internet
(not restricted to home)

61,000 households

- 10% (27 million) householdsreported having
internet connection at their home
- 22% (62 million) of Indian households have at least one member accessing the internet (either at work orhome or elsewhere, and either through a computer or mobile)

NSSO75th Round


Access to the internet is defined as a household possessing any device, such as computer, tablet, smartphone, etc, through which internet facility is available, whether or not it has been used

1,13,757 households

- 24% have internet facility
- 15% in rural, 42% in urban areas



Men/ Women who have ever
used the internet

610,000 households

42.6% of women ever used theInternet as against
62.16% of men

Urban : 56.81% women in urban India ever used the Internet compared to 73.76 % among the men
Rural : 33.94 % women in rural India ever used the Internet as against 55.6 % among men

ICUBE Digital Adoption and Usage Trends


Active internet users

75,000 households

574 million active internet user

Household Characteristics

At-home Learning Challenges for Households
Parents faced a host of challenges in meaningfully engaging with their child’s learning at home

Top challenges faced by parents in their children’s learning

Device Affordability Challenge
Affordability of phones is a key constraint to household access to at-home learning

For a large segment of India’s population a smartphone could still cost 3-16% of their daily income(GSMA-Dalberg, 2017)

Daily income range

Proportion of population

Cost of smartphone as proportion of income

Cost of cheapest internet-enabled phone as proportion of income













According to a recent UNICEF study, parents report that data costs (37%), device affordability (31%), and poor network connectivity (27%) as key constraints to remote learning for their children

Smartphones Topped as Learning Tool in Rural India
Despite constraints of phone availability, affordability & access, data from ruralIndia shows that 62% of children could access a smartphone for at-home learning

Do children have a smartphone at home?

Phone based mediums of sharing learning content

Younger Children Struggled with Access
Younger children, however, are less likely to access relevant learning content than older children

Accessing learning content by grade (% of children between 5-13 & 14-18 years of age)

Parental Engagement Deemed Crucial
The engagement of parents, therefore, is crucial for effective at-home learning of their children

% of children who receive from family members while studying at home

During school closures, children relied on getting help from family members for at-home learning

% of enrolled children who receive family support for learning - by parent education

Parents with greater level of education provided more  support to children for  at-home learning

Urban Parents More Responsive to Remote Learning
Parents in urban areas are more likely to engage with their children’s education, given their higher education levels & spend on education, than those in rural India

Education levels

Household spending on education per student for all grades

Education in a Post Pandemic World
Urban households have historically spent more than rural households on education with a preference for private schools. This may change, as the pandemic has affected lives and livelihoods…

Household spending on education per student

Proportion of students accessing free education (NSS 75th Round)