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Ludicrous assertion

Ludicrous assertion

NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat's remark that suspension of Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir did not have any significant impact on the economy, as people there "did nothing other than watching dirty films online" is quite unfortunate. Now pronounced as a right to freedom of speech and expression by the Supreme Court, internet access is not limited to mere gratification of separate fantasies. In the modern age, the internet is practically everywhere. The entire tourism and travel industry of scenic J&K works on the internet. Saraswat's comment is not just unfortunate but deplorable. Being a member of the policy think tank, his assessment of internet shutdown in the Valley is not far from unscientific claims of BJP leaders. Tourism industry alone would account for crores of loss from an internet shutdown. Counting other businesses would mean three or four times of that loss. Research cites around $1.3 billion or more in losses sustained by India due to the internet shutdown, with global mark reaching as high as $8 billion in 2019. Naturally, with businesses incorporating the internet as primary tool for transactions, information, etc., it is difficult to imagine business-as-usual without one. On the contrary, Saraswat opined on how protests such as those against CAA or in JNU are what affect the economy. It is not rocket science to decipher how Saraswat's remarks are against the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Careful consideration of thought is important before putting it to speech since it is likely to attract backlashes if found irrational in nature.



(Image from indiatoday.in)

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