62 Internet Shutdowns Reported In Last 5 Years, Each Costing Rs 148 Crore; J&K Reported Maximum Shutdowns
Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), a not-for-profit organization which provides legal assistance and creates awareness about legal issue has found that Internet was shut down for record 62 times since 2012.
In fact, SFLC has created a repository and a tracker for collecting & recording each and every instance of Internet Shutdown in India, which has been aptly named as InternetShutdowns.in. As per SFLC, ‘policy makers, academics, media-persons and the public at large’ can now easily check updated data about Internet shutdowns in the country.
Jammu and Kashmir experienced maximum shutdowns at 27, which is maximum for any state in India.
The State Of Internet Shutdowns In India
As per this website, total of 62 instances of Internet Shutdowns were reported since 2012. Here is the breakdown:
In 2017, till the time of writing, 4 instances of Internet shutdowns were reported.
Among 62 shutdowns, 44 were targeted at mobile services, and 8 targeted both mobile and fixed line connections. Regarding 10 shutdowns, no conclusive information was found.
Mishi Choudhary, President and Legal Director at SFLC.in said, “There is a global consensus that access to Internet is a human right, in a digital and connected world. Yet, many countries block Internet services as responses to conflict situations, or even for trivial reasons such as to prevent cheating during examinations.”
The report clearly showcases the fact that Internet shutdowns have increased two-fold between 2014 and 2016.
Economic Impact of Internet Shutdowns
The most interesting aspect of this study: Economic impact of Internet Shutdowns.
As per the findings of the study, 44 Internet shutdowns were reported during 2015-16, which collectively costed Rs 6485 crore for the economy. If we take this data as standard, then we will find that each shutdown costed approximately Rs 148 crore for the Indian economy and local businesses.
Mishi said, “Unfortunately, these shutdowns not only imperil civil liberties, but also grievously hurt the economy, as a recent report by the US policy think-tank Brookings Institution showed. The shutdowns in 2015-16 cost Indian businesses an estimated amount of $968 million (Rs 6,485 crore)”
The report observes that as Aadhaar based Internet payments are being encouraged, such frequent Internet shutdowns can have devastating impact on the overall economy, and can put a stop to business activities besides impacting the general public.
SFLC has already written to Additional Secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Dr. Ajay Kumar, informing him about the negative impact of Internet Shutdowns.
Besides, SFLC is also collaborating with Access Now Foundation to launch a global campaign to re-write policies for Internet shutdowns, and to convince global Governments against this practice.
Do you think Govt. has a right to shut down Internet in view of law and order situation? Or there should be no Internet shutdown, under any circumstances? Do let us know your opinion by commenting right here!