A recent report has shed light on the severe economic consequences of the internet shutdowns in the Indian states of Manipur and Punjab.
The study, released on Thursday, disclosed that these shutdowns resulted in a staggering estimated loss of $1.9 billion for the Indian economy. Furthermore, foreign investment plummeted by approximately $118 million, and a distressing 21,268 jobs were lost as a direct consequence.
North East has 12,343,609 mobile phone customers, while Punjab has 35,446,039 mobile phone customers, according to TRAI.
According to the NetLoss calculator, an innovative tool developed by non-profit organization The Internet Society, India has one of the highest shutdown risks in the world in 2023, standing at 16 percent. The tool, hosted on the Internet Society’s Pulse Platform, provides a means to measure the economic impact of internet shutdowns across the globe.
The year 2022 witnessed a record-breaking surge in internet shutdowns worldwide, as governments employed this measure during civil unrest, school exams, and elections. These widespread shutdowns had severe economic implications.
In response to these concerning trends, Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO of The Internet Society, emphasized that the increasing prevalence of internet shutdowns globally demonstrates a disregard for the negative consequences that undermine the open, accessible, and secure nature of the internet.
Governments often fall under the mistaken belief that internet shutdowns can quell unrest, curb the spread of misinformation, or mitigate cybersecurity threats. However, the report highlights the highly disruptive nature of shutdowns to economic activity. They impede e-commerce, lead to losses in time-sensitive transactions, contribute to unemployment, disrupt business-customer communications, and create financial and reputational risks for companies.
Moreover, the report underscores that internet shutdowns hamper a country’s growth, as research indicates that internet adoption has a positive impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is evident that the negative repercussions of these shutdowns far outweigh any perceived benefits, reinforcing the urgent need for governments to reconsider their approach to maintaining public order without compromising the economic well-being of their nations.