Recently, we witnessed Internet Shutdown in state of Haryana and NCR. This was not the first time of internet break down. Internet shutdown happened 134 times in India since 2018 and comparing to our neighbour Pakistan and Bangladesh, it happened 12 & 5 times respectively.
Internet shutdown has become government’s one shot solution to shut down the flow of information.
Let me explain you about the kill switch called Internet shutdown. And how government used it to kill dissent! Also it’s effects on country’s economy GDP and also on our lives!
Recent Internet Shutdowns-
On January 26, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed for the temporary internet suspension in the parts of NCR. The places where internet shutdown happen were the main sites of Farmer’s protest.
Next day, on 27 Jan. Internet was suspended in Jhajjar, Sonipat and Palwal districts of Haryana. And this happen, due to the news of more Farmer’s coming to Haryana for Farmer’s protest. On 29th Jan, shutdown expanded to 17/22 districts of Haryana.
Haryana was the latest edition to the list of Internet Ban. Biggest internet shutdown happened in Jammu & Kashmir from 4 August,2019, a day before abrogation of Article 370. This internet ban continued for 5 months.
On 24 Jan 2020, 2g services were resumed to access certain white listed websites which did not include social media. And when people started using VPN, police starts filing FIR under UAPA for bypassing restrictions.
In March, 2020 government eased restriction on using certain social media websites. And finally on 5 Feb 2021, internet shutdown was fully lifted in Jammu & Kashmir.
So, for 18 months government clamp down the rights of J&K citizens to send and receive information.
Information and facts on Internet Shutdowns!
According to internetshutdowns.in , more than 400 shutdowns happened in last 4 years in India. And it happens across the country regardless of which party is in power.
So basically, why the governments orders to shutdown internet? Some main reasons given by governments are –
- Prevention of the spread of the misinformation.
- Trying to avoid violence in an area.
- Preventing communal tensions.
If we talk about, some other reason that are reactive, then the reason can be- Trying to prevent the flow of information during a protest.
Government also thinks that internet shutdown will prevent violence but it work in opposite way. Internet shutdown actually push more violence. According to the 2019 report of Stanford Uni., internet shutdown contributes to switch from organised, orderly protest to disorganised and chaotic protest!
Internet shutdown contributes to no flow of information going out or coming in. By this, protesters think about worse situation and eventually protests turned violent.
Economic effects of Internet Shutdown –
Internet shutdown not only effects the flow of information but also profits, economy and GDP growth. A report found that, 16315 hours of internet shutdown costed India approx. $3.04 billion during period 2012 to 2017. This amount equals the amount that Government announced for MSMEs sector from Atmanirbhar Bharat Covid package in 2020.
The average cost of internet shutdown costs to ₹2 crore per hour. According to a report, internet shutdown can cost at least 0.4% and at most 1.9% of a country’s daily GDP.
Effects on Education –
You surely know about the virtual classes, meetings happened during Covid. All thanks to internet that, children were able to join classes and complete their education.
But do you know during the pandemic, how students managed to take education in J&K. Actually, only 2G services were running at that time in state. So holding virtual classes was difficult. So teachers used to make 10 minutes video then they used to upload that video on Youtube which took them 3-4 hours to upload. And to download that video the same time was wasted.
So basically. the kill switch of internet shutdown definitely affects the education of young India’s youth!
Internet Shutdown leads to disruption of E-pharmacies, insurances could not be availed by injured persons, test laboratories become defunct as all their works happens online. And most noticeably, it affects the Hospitals. Entire data network of hospitals broke down if maintained online. Sometimes it could lead to lose of life.
Till now what I had conclude is, Internet shutdown is used by every government either state or central, either BJP or congress. It doesn’t matter from which side you are, if internet shutdown happens you will be affected too! Internet has become a part of our life and if it break down, our life will surely get affected in many ways!
Thank you for reading!