30% dalits in UP ‘tech literate’

A silent revolution is taking place in the backwaters of Uttar Pradesh as more and more dalits are turning computer savvy.

UP has a four-crore dalit population and nearly 30 per cent of this is already computer literate. According to the findings of a survey on computer literacy in the state, all computer-savvy dalits may not be owners of a desktop, laptop or tablet, but they know how to operate computers and the younger students are particularly opting for computer education.
Salil Kumar, an intermediate student in Barabanki who is pursuing a computer education course in Lucknow, admitted that computer education was necessary to get a job.

“It could be a clerical job, a salesman job or an accountant job — you need to know computers today. You could be highly educated but if you cannot operate a computer, you are considered no good,” he said.

According to the survey, Gautam Buddha Nagar has the highest dalit population having computers or laptops in their homes. Nearly 13.5 per cent dalits in this district own computers. Ghaziabad comes a close second with 13.1 per cent dalits having computers. The percentage of computer homes among dalits is around 5 to 6 per cent in eastern UP districts like Sultanpur, Varanasi, Jaunpur and Ballia, with some exceptions like Ghazipur where 9.8 per cent dalit homes have computers.

Lucknow, the state capital has 8.4 per cent computer-enabled dalit homes.

“It could be the district’s proximity to Delhi which has led to awareness about computers. Most of the dalits owned second hand computers and, surprisingly half of them even known how to tackle minor defects in the machines,” said a senior official in the state IT department.

There is no denying the fact that the laptop and tablet scheme of the Akhilesh Yadav government has given a major boost to computer awareness, especially among students and the youth.

Vikram Jatav, an unemployed youth, said that he had asked his elder brother to buy him a second hand laptop so that he could search for jobs online.

“I am getting an unemployment allowance but I want a job and it is easier to search for one online. The days of sending applications by post are almost over,” he candidly said.


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