Kochi Beats Delhi In Prosperity Ranking! Kerala CM Announces Free WiFi Hotspots

But Is It Violating Net Neutrality?


Smart City

Two important news have emerged from Kerala – God’s Own Country. As per a study conducted by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) on behalf of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it has been found that Kochi is the most prosperous city in India, beating India’s national capital Delhi.

Meanwhile, Kerala Govt. has announced free WiFi for their citizens, but have included one clause which is threatening to disrupt the principles of Net Neutrality.

We explore..

Kochi Is India’s Most Prosperous City; Beats Delhi

Kochi, the fast emerging metropolitan, IT and start-up hub from Kerala has been hailed India’s most prosperous city.

The study was conducted by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) on behalf of the Asian Development Bank, observing the development in the first 20 smart cities selected by Govt. of India.

The ranking of the cities, placed under the list of ‘Multi-Dimensional Prosperity Index’ studied four crucial aspects of urban development:

  1. Household Amenity Index
  2. Physical/Finance Infrastructure Index
  3. Social/Health Index
  4. Community Asset Index.

The points accumulated were used to generate the final ranking.

When it comes to Physical/Finance Infrastructure Index and Community Asset Index, then Kochi is the #1 city in India, beating all other 19 cities.

When it comes to Physical/Finance Infrastructure Index, then Kochi is only behind Delhi, and for Community Asset Index, Kochi is again #1 city.

Jabalpur, Solapur and Kakinada have been placed at the bottom of the ranking.

Here is the complete ranking of the 20 smart cities:

Multi-Dimensional Prosperity Index (MPI) Ranking

  1. Kochi
  2. New Delhi
  3. Ludhiana
  4. Davanagere
  5. Coimbatore
  6. Jaipur
  7. Chennai
  8. Vishakhapatnam
  9. Ahmedabad
  10. Pune
  11. Bhopal
  12. Surat
  13. Udaipur
  14. Indore
  15. Belgaum
  16. Bhubaneswar
  17. Guwahati
  18. Solapur
  19. Kakinada
  20. Jabalpur

Is Kerala Breaking Net Neutrality Principles By Offering Free WiFi?

Pinarayi Vijayan, who is the CM of Kerala, announced a noble initiative, wherein 2000 free WiFi hotspots would be installed all over the state, so that citizens can access free Internet.

Under this offer, users can get 300 MB of free data, everyday. The locations of the free hotspots would be identified by District Collectors of the cities, and would include bus stands, tourist places, Parks, Public places, Jana Sevana Kendras, Govt. offices etc.

However, the announcement also stated that if a person opens Govt. websites or accesses Govt. records, then the limit of 300 MB won’t be counted towards such activities. Hence, Govt. websites and Govt. records can be accessed for free, without using the 300 MB data limit.

The announcement said, “Access various e-Governance, m-governance services, public content available in the State Data Centres without any limit from the Hotspot locations.”

As pointed out by Medianama, this is clearly a discrimination by Kerala Govt., as it is incentivising access of Govt. websites.

As per TRAI order on Net Neutrality, this should not happen. The order said, “No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content”.

Will TRAI take action and stop this discriminatory offer from Kerala Govt.? Or can Net Neutrality be compromised, just because it is Govt.?

We will keep you updated.

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