Digital divide: lack of smartphones deprives many of the blows | India News
MUMBAI: Ghanshyam Mishra was one of millions of Indians who welcomed ‘Tika Utsav’, a celebration of the mass vaccination program (April 11-14) PM Modi Announced. But reality hit hard last week when Mishra, a rickshaw driver, took a day off from work to queue outside a vaccination center, only to be told he couldn’t get the jab because he wasn’t registered with the CoWin app. It came later, after his smartphone-owning college son booked him a slot.
Mishra, 50, originally from Jaunpur (UP), can be considered privileged among his peers, as his family owns at least one smartphone and could receive the first dose. Thousands of other poor migrants, domestic workers and semi-literate workers on construction sites have yet to be vaccinated because they do not have access to smartphones.
Since they are not technological, it is tedious for the poor to reserve a space for vaccination, even if they have access to smartphones. Dongri resident Farook Wakanerwala, 50, who previously worked as a supervisor at a construction site, said he has been using the same phone for more than 10 years. “I never felt the need to buy a smartphone because I find it convenient to use this phone. It has been with me for years and is easy to use. Reserving a space for me now seems like a problem. I have two sons, ages 20 and 22, but they don’t have time to sit down and find a place for me. So I’m not even trying to go get the vaccine, “he said.
Aparna Jadhav, 65-year-old housewife from Wadi Bunder, said there is a vaccination center in her locality, but she needs to book an appointment online. “I don’t have a smartphone, nor does anyone else in my family. Now for the sake of receiving the jab, I will not consider buying one. I’d rather wait to see if walk-ins are allowed again, ”Jadhav said.
The lack of smartphones is a disadvantage for many Tamils residing in Dharavi. “60% of migrants from Tamil nadu I don’t have access to phones, ”said Srithar Tamilan of Mumbai Vizhithezhu Iyakkam, an association of Tamil residents of Dharavi. He had submitted a list of demands on behalf of MaharashtraTamil immigrants of 25 lakh-odd to each of the parties contesting TN polls recently. The letter also sought a separate ministry to maintain migrant registries to facilitate the distribution of welfare measures in emergencies.
Ravi Raja, Opposition Leader at BMC, said: “Our party workers now sit with computers to register people online, but the problem is that people can get a space anywhere in the city. A person from a poor neighborhood here will have to travel to Borivli to take a photo. A lot of people are now just waiting for things to calm down. “He added that the Center should allow BMC have your own application so that people can get close spaces.
(With input from Richa Pinto, Clara Lewis, and Sharmila Ganesan Ram)