Internet shutdowns cost India $968 million (Rs 6,485 crore) in 2015-16, the largest loss among 19 countries surveyed and the result of 22 shutdowns, the same as war-torn Iraq, according to a report by Brookings Institution indicating the negative effect of these shutdowns on the economy.
Internet services in India are shut down to prevent unrest; in Kashmir, mobile internet services have been shut as the state has been witnessing unrest for more than three months. This has rendered its information technology sector “dysfunctional” resulting in job-cuts and shifting of operations by several firms to outside the state.
The Brookings study analysed 81 short-term shutdowns across 19 countries between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, and estimated that these shutdowns cost the global economy at least $2.4 billion (Rs 16,080 crore).
The maximum loss was incurred by India ($968 million), followed by Saudi Arabia ($465 million) and Morocco ($320 million).
Globally, the shutdowns across 19 countries lasted 753 days, with Syria (in areas controlled by the Islamic State) having the maximum number of shutdown days at 348, followed by Morocco (182) and India (70).
India equals Iraq in number of disruptions
There were a total of 81 disruptions across 19 countries during the surveyed period. The maximum number of disruptions was in India at 22, equivalent to Iraq, followed by eight in Syria and six in Pakistan.
The report noted that in 2016, India joined the ranks of countries such as Uganda, Algeria and Iraq that have disrupted internet services in response to concerns over students cheating in exams.
The Gujarat government had banned mobile internet for four hours to prevent misuse of cell phones during revenue talatis (accountants) recruitment exam in March 2016, The Times of India reported.