Q.) Are internet shutdowns healthy for democracy in India? Discuss the socioeconomic impact of the internet shutdown in India?

Ans– Healthy democracies are those democracies where sovereign governments protect the rights of citizens via balancing civil liberties and securities than digital curbs. Government overall keeps on conveying internet shutdowns and organization disturbances to subdue mass fights, prevent political race misfortunes, build up military overthrows, or cut off struggle regions from the rest of the world.

Democracy flourishes in the digital awakening of digital awareness rather than digital darkness. the report named “Worldwide expense of Internet closures in 2020” is ready by top ten VPN guaranteed. Despite 2020 being a pandemic consideration, there are more than long stretches of web closure in 2019. India’s economic losses due to the internet shutdown are $2.8 Billion.

  1. Internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir is an abrogation of article 370 seen internet shutdown.
  2. Internet shutdown in Delhi NCR region during farmers protest for the farm bills.
  3. The recent internet shutdown was seen in Bihar to control the violence that spread due to the Agnipath scheme of the Army, approved by the Defence ministry.

Arguments against internet shutdowns–

  1. Arbitrary internet shutdown violates the fundamental rights–
    • Article 19(1)a – Freedom of speech and expression.
    • Article 19(1)g – Practice of profession.
    • Article 21 A – Right to education.
  2. Supreme Court in the Anuradha Bhasin case said Free discourse and articulation on the web was a central right and naturally safeguarded under article 19.
  3. Internet shutdown has multi-faceted problems–
    • socio-economic-political instability.
    • curbing dissent – extra-emergency power.
    • undermining human rights (UNHRC).
  4. The pandemic has forced offline activities online, show-it people, businesses children’s education, and access to life-saving information will be stopped.
  5. Internet shutdown in the state force a digital divide creating isolated virtual work with it connected to the rest of the world in a digital dark age.

Arguments in favor of internet shutdown in India–

  1. India’s territorial sovereignty and integrity are of prime concern. India’s Geography has numerous challenges. India is facing with cross border terrorism, border security, and International Security in national security,
  2. India does Internet closure with predefined rule-“Impermanent suspension of telecom services” (Public crisis or Public wellbeing) rules 2017.

Discussing the social-economic impact of the following–

  1. Covid-19 guideline update raising.
  2. E-Governance undermined.
  3. Regulating virtual social space isolation.
  4. Vulnerable people missing e-court services.
  5. Virtual market e-commerce.
  6. Created a socially disconnected virtual Island.
  7. E-tools-based education.
  8. Social exclusion.
  9. E-health services at remote locations concern.
  10. Welfare schemes delivery status. internet shutdown has a huge invisible and visible social impact which affects every section of society but harshly to most marginalized communities. similarity has a great amount of economic impact– economic impact–
  11. Service Delivery was even delayed.
  12. White-collar jobs work disrupted.
  13. E-NAM scheme farmers are being undermined.
  14. E-commerce faces assembly line challenges.
  15. Virtual marketspace gets regulated.
  16. Digital India to digital darkness.
  17. Business trade Finance is hampered.

Internet shutdown in Bihar during Agneepath scheme–

Nitish government has taken an important choice in regards to Agneepath. In 12 regions, the public authority has prohibited 22 destinations and applications including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, while checking the Internet. Alongside this, video transferring on YouTube has additionally been prohibited. Network access has been prohibited in Kaimur, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxar, Nawada, West Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali, and Saran. Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department has given this request to stop the exchange of messages through the Internet. The significant person-to-person communication locales that have been closed down are Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, Quezon, Tubular, Google +, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Economy classes are visible in form of quantitative calculations which hamper India’s dream of a $ 5 trillion economy. As the pace of globalization, digitalization and connectivity accelerates governments need to have technological advancements to deal with Internet shutdown as a last resort than the first approach.

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