Rajasthan suspends internet to ensure cheating-free exams; COAI fumes
Expressing its deep sense of anguish at the state governments' decision to suspend internet & data services, the telecom operators association, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has written a letter to the department of telecommunication.
Expressing its deep sense of anguish at the state governments' decision to suspend internet & data services, the telecom operators association, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has written a letter to the department of telecommunication (DoT). In the letter to DoT, COAI said that the internet services were suspended some 50 times over the past 6 months by the Rajasthan government and these suspensions were made during various examinations.
Since August 2017, the internet services were suspended more than 140 times in the state.
The association in its letter has said that such suspensions have led to losses to the service providers as well as the country. It has used ICRIER report to back its claim of losses. ICRIER report, the Anatomy of the Internet Blackout: Measuring the Economic Impact of Internet Shutdowns in India, published on April 25, 2018, claims internet shutdowns between 2012-2017, which was around 16315 hours or 680 days, has caused a loss of $3.04 billion or Rs 87,000 crore to India.
COAI says, "The practice of suspension of internet service adversely impacts the Union government's Digital India mission".
The letter also mentions that such suspensions are also diluting the true spirit of the preamble of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. According to the rules, the state secretary is the person who can issue orders of suspension of internet services that too only in unavoidable circumstances. However, Rajasthan government has diluted the instructions of the rules through a notification dated September 2, 2017, delegated the powers to home department officers in the field, .i.e., to Divisional Commissioners.
Few example, internet services were suspended during the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers 2018, Rajasthan Police Constable Recruitment and Rajasthan State & Subordinate Services Combined Competitive Examination 2018.