The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper titled “Digital Inclusion in the Era of Emerging Technologies”. The consultation paper aims to explore and address the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid advancement of emerging technologies, with a focus on ensuring inclusivity for all segments of society and industries particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

According to TRAI, digital inclusion is crucial empowerment of every citizen of the country at the right moment, failing which the gaps in access to digital services may widen further, thereby depriving large segments of the society of inclusive growth.

In the consultation paper, TRAI has emphasised the need for a robust policy framework and collaborative efforts among stakeholders to ensure the participation of individuals in digital economic activities. TRAI has also analysed various gaps in digital inclusion present in the country such as the mobile internet usage gap, rural-urban internet penetration disparities, gender gaps in internet access, etc. as well as gaps identified from some global indices. Proactively prioritising inclusion can create an ecosystem that benefits every individual, fostering a more equitable and accessible digital economy, as per TRAI.

Further, TRAI has identified various challenges being faced by the MSME sector in the country from the adoption of new and emerging digital technology solutions. As the MSME sector contributes significantly towards the economy, it is imperative that it is empowered to contribute more towards the digital economy through new emerging technology solutions, especially the micro-enterprises as they constitute the majority of the MSMEs.

TRAI has invited written comments from the stakeholders on the issues for consultation by October 16, 2023, and counter comments by October 31, 2023.