Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has spoken out in favour of net neutrality again and has accused the government of letting the internet be controlled by large corporations. Gandhi took a dig at PM Modi’s pet project ‘Digital India’ and called it a “euphemism” for an internet controlled by large remote corporations.
Gandhi also accused the government of deliberately delaying a decision on the issue of net neutrality on the “pretext” of repeated discussions.
“With Digital India, people should get more access to the Internet the whole Internet and not primarily a filter on the web. This is imperative for India to grow in 21st Century…I sincerely hope that TRAI report and Modi government will adhere to this bounden need espoused by millions of Indians”, Gandhi said in a statement.
Digital India “cannot become a euphemism for an Internet controlled by large remote corporations. Digital India should mean Internet connectivity as a public utility, open ended and generative,” he added.
While reaffirming that Congress always stood for ‘Freedom of the Internet’ and ‘Net Neutrality’, Gandhi accused the government of deliberately employing delaying tactics to not come up with a clear-cut policy on the issue.
“NASSCOM has asked for Net Neutrality, over 500 start-up entrepreneurs are pleading for it, young in India have been demanding it, yet we have a government, which under the pretext of repeated discussions, has been delaying framing a clear-cut policy on this”, said Gandhi while attacking the government.
He alleged that the BJP government “quietly looked the other way” when Telecom companies introduced price differential through zero rating plans and attempts to charge for OTT (Over The Top) services.
This is not the first time Rahul Gandhi has spoken out in favour of net neutrality. Earlier, he had spoken on the issue in the Parliament.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already issued consultation papers on the issue twice. These mostly cover questions for consumers on issues covering Net Neutrality, Free Basics and data price differentiation. The much-awaited TRAI report on Free basics is expected to come out as early as this week.
“Like millions of Indians out there, I am earnestly hoping to see a TRAI report (scheduled for 31st January) and Modi government’s commitment in favour of an open Internet in its entirety where there is no ambiguity in regard to difference in pricing or VOIP”, said the Congress Vice President.
(With inputs from PTI)