An investigation carried out by Top10VPN reported that during 2019, India lost more than $1.3 billion due to internet outages ordered by the government in districts such as Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.
Among the 3 countries with the bigger economic losses
According to the report, India is in third place in a list made up of 21 countries that suffered forced blackouts of the internet service last year, which, in a digitalized society, had a negative impact on commercial activities.
The investigation showed that the total money lost due to internet blockades among all countries was $8.05 billion, so India represented 16% of the chart. It was only surpassed by Sudan and Iraq in terms of monetary losses.
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Among all the affected regions of India, the most affected was Jammu & Kashmir, who are facing the biggest blackout of the internet they have seen in their democratic history, since they have not had internet for five consecutive months.
Kashmir is a tourist region and due to this it has been severely affected at an economic level. Not only have the big companies suffered, but also the small merchants, since many artisans were left without a source of income when they could not sell their works online. This caused part of the population to migrate to other states to continue their jobs and thus not suffer so many economic losses.
Top10VPN research chief, Simon Migliano, wrote the following: “India imposes Internet restrictions more frequently than any other country, with more than 100 blackouts documented in 2019”. In his words, many of these cuts were directed to specific cities for a few hours, so it is difficult to determine how much time they have spent without internet in the country.
The report has only focused on large blockades (such as those that occurred during the Citizens Amendment Act or due to different religious tensions), so the economic impact is likely to be greater than the one estimated in the document. It should be noted that, although small blackouts were not taken into account, India managed to total more than 4000 hours without internet.