Developed by the World Economic Forum, the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) measures the capacity of countries to use ICTs for increased competitiveness and well-being. It is now emerged as a key indicator of how countries are doing in the digital world. The significance of NRI is that several basic infrastructure facilities, policy frameworks etc, are to be built to achieve the benefit of digital revolution. The NRI measures the level of preparedness of countries on this.
The networked readiness framework
The framework translates into the NRI, a composite indicator made up of four main categories (subindexes), 10 subcategories (pillars), and 53 individual indicators distributed across the different pillars. The main categories are:
Political and regulatory environment (9 indicators)
Business and innovation environment (9 indicators)
Infrastructure (4 indicators)
Affordability (3 indicators)
Skills (4 indicators)
Individual usage (7 indicators)
Business usage (6 indicators)
Government usage (3 indicators)
Economic impacts (4 indicators)
Social impacts (4 indicators)
According to the WEO’s Information Economy Report 2016, Singapore, Finland and Sweden has the highest performers in NRI in 2015. India is ranked at 91 whereas China is placed at 59th out of 139 countries. India had made improvements in political and regulatory environment and in its business and innovation environment. But inadequate digital economy infrastructure and low levels of skills among the population remain the main hurdles for widespread ICT adoption, particularly for individual usage. Similarly, several economies have improved performance quickly. As a result, India’s ranking has come down by two places compared to the previous year.
The report identifies India’s weak areas. Around thirty percent of Indian population is illiterate and a similar share of youth is not enrolled in secondary education. The internet penetration is just 15% and broadband remains a luxury (5.5% people using it). Basic infrastructure is insufficient for bulk of the rural areas. To improve the situation, government launched the programme of Digital India that tries to promote digital infrastructure, raise digital literacy, and to provide online services to citizens.