Committed to equal access to Internet for all: Govt
"As far as the issue of net neutrality is concerned, for Internet expansion in India, the young people of the country have done a commendable job and my government will strive to ensure a non-discriminatory availability of Internet for the people of India, particularly the young people," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
Net neutrality calls for equal treatment to all Internet traffic with no priority given to an entity or company based on payment to service providers such as telecom companies, which is seen as discriminatory.
A major public uproar has been continuing for last few days in the country, especially on social media, alleging violation of net neutrality principle by platforms like Airtel Zero and Internet.org, where Facebook has partnered with Reliance Communications in India.
"I want to assure the people of India, the Prime Minister himself is a great supporter of the profound activism of Indian young people on social media and the great role they are playing," the Minister said.
He added: "It is a sensitive issue on which we need to take a proper, informed decision. The larger commitment of my government, on which I am very active is, we need to strive for a non-discriminatory Internet availability."
‘Govt trying to give away net space to corporates’
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi regime of trying to give away internet space to some corporate groups, a charge vehemently denied by the government.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Gandhi said the government "wants to distribute internet among industrialists. Every youth should have access to internet... This government wants to carve out the internet and hand it over to some corporates." He demanded that either the existing laws be amended or a new law be brought.
Congress and BJP members indulged in a war of words over the issue, as IT and Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a dig at the erstwhile UPA government over the spectrum allocation scam and claimed that the Modi government wanted internet for all 125 crore Indians. Gandhi had earlier begun his speech by making a sarcastic reference to US President Barack Obama's write-up on Modi in a prominent US magazine.