Monday, 30th October 2017

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Net closure cost India ‘$1.3 billion’

The 159-day-old Kashmir blackout is already the longest imposed in a democracy

By Anita Joshua in New Delhi
  • Published 11.01.20, 3:04 AM
  • Updated 11.01.20, 3:04 AM
  • a min read
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Top10VPN.com said that India had witnessed 4,196 hours of Internet blackout in 2019 (Shutterstock)

India lost over $1.3 billion (Rs 9,200 crore) because of Internet shutdowns in 2019, making it third only to Iraq and Sudan in terms of the economic impact of such frequent blackouts.

This was revealed by Top10VPN.com, a portal that focuses on simplifying digital privacy and fighting for an open Internet.

Another dubious distinction: the 159-day-old Kashmir blackout is already the longest imposed in a democracy, according to advocacy group AccessNow.

Top10VPN.com said that India had witnessed 4,196 hours of Internet blackout in 2019. India, its report titled “The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019” and released earlier this week said, imposes Internet restrictions more often than any other country, with over 100 documented shutdowns in last year.

“As they tend to be highly targeted, even down to the level of blacking out individual city districts for a few hours while security forces try to restore order, many of these incidents have not been included in this report, which instead focused on larger region-wide shutdowns. The full economic impact is therefore likely to be higher (than $1.3 billion),” the report said.

The India section of the report records three major shutdowns — the Kashmir blackout, the recent shutdowns in various parts of the country owing to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, and the disruptions around the time of the Ayodhya verdict.