India’s Economy Suffered $1BN Loss From Internet Shutdown
As per the Hindustan Times, in a recent study released by Brookings Institution, it was unveiled that India has lost almost a billion dollars from internet shutdowns over the past year as compared to another country. India was rated to be at first place amongst 19 countries that were examined in the study. These countries cut off the access to the web on purpose. India has the worst impact on the economy even when countries like Morocco and Syria which is controlled by ISIS have cut off the internet access for more days than India.
Darrell M.West who conducted the study calculated the economic impact of internet shutdown. He assessed the country’s Gross Domestic Product and the size of its digital economy and duration of internet shutdowns. It was also found that internet shutdown in India has been more rampant since 2014 due to increased popularity of mobile applications like Whatsapp and Viber. Dr S. Amar Prasad Reddy, Additional Director General at National Cyber Safety and Security Standards said,”it’s easy to spread misinformation with WhatsApp, and since there is no nodal officer in the company, it becomes difficult to trace criminals.”
The internet is mostly shutdown to avoid a violent situation such as unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, following the death of militant Burhan Wani. The authorities suspended mobile internet services in Kashmir valley to check spreading of rumours by anti-social elements. Jammu and Kashmir have witnessed major internet shutdowns in the past three years than any other state. State authorities of Haryana also blocked mobile internet in certain districts after the protest by Jat community for reservations turned violent.
The Internet services were cut off for a little more than a week in Gujarat in September after the protest by the Patel community to demand reservations. Godhra also witnessed the shutdown in internet services after the derogatory messages were circulated against Islam.
The internet was also shut down in February by the Gujarat State Subsidiary Selection board which were worried about cheating during the Revenue Accountant Recruitment Exam.
Prashanth Sugathan of Software Freedom Law Centre India said to Hindustan Times,” It is important for a citizen to exercise his fundamental right to freedom of expression and it is not justified to curtail the right for reasons like preventing cheating in examinations.” Dr Reddy said that the enforcement agency should update their skills in dealing with cyber crimes.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.