Digital literacy is still lagging far behind in India though the Nation is hurtling towards Digital India. Mobiles have permeated to far corners of India. From old to the very young everyone is armed with a smart phone and India benefits from probably one of the lowest costs for data plans. This makes data more accessible to many. Whilst all of these augur well for faster development, better communications and connectivity across the length and breadth of India and more opportunities, it also brings with it substantial threats and vulnerabilities.
There is more proliferation of crimes using technology in interior regions with users being less aware of the risks involved and also being more trusting. Scams are not only committed with more ease, but the impact is much higher with farmers losing their life’s savings. Similarly offences against women and children are heightened with fear of social stigma causing victims to remain silent or to cause self-harm. It is imperative that Digital India is therefore fully equipped with knowledge of not only technologies that are at their disposal but also the risks and threats that lurk within such technologies. This will help the large population of India adapt technology with more ease but cautiously. It is also important to strengthen systems and processes for availing legal remedies not only in urban but also rural areas. This requires awareness not only amongst judiciary and police but also amongst the public.
Further ensuring gender sensitivity and awareness amongst both men and women and awareness of consequences of commission of offences using the digital medium, will possibly deter persons from indulging in Criminal activities that impact women and children in particular.
Keeping in mind the socio economic milieu of India, Lokpriya Cyber Saathi Initiative has been formulated and structured. Cyber Saathi proposes to spread this information and knowledge both through offline and online resources. The offline programs are intended to be conducted through collaborative efforts with civil society organisations, Government initiatives and other partnerships.
Lokpriya Cyber Saathi™ held its first program under this initiative in February 2020 along with Banasthali Vidhyapith University, its teachers and student volunteers and Red Dot Foundation for the residents of a Village in Tonk, Rajasthan, India.
Lokpriya Cyber Saathi will be undertaking further programs under this initiative through its internal resources and also with collaborations and partnerships with other Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations; Governmental organisations / Initiatives, individuals / corporates / educational entities / law enforcement agencies.