6th Aug 2021 11:08:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

The new IT Minister has assured that funds wouldn’t be a problem for extension of the State Wide Area Networks (SWANs) in all uncovered districts in Arunachal Pradesh up to Block level for the growth of internet governance process. While fund extension is part of the ongoing process of covering all states/UTs under the tech scheme launched in 2005 by the Centre and its importance for delivery of quality governance is beyond doubt, any internet related news concerning the state will invariably compel a citizen to ask what has been the actual progress when it comes to mass coverage. Way less than the Digital India promises.

The new IT Minister has assured to visit Arunachal very soon to take stock of its communication and IT scenario. For an on-ground assessment he should venture out of the capital and visit any far-flung district and try connecting to the internet himself. An effort spanning just a few minutes will be adequate to have a clear view of the state’s internet reality and it’s essential to recall the landmark verdict pronounced by the Supreme Court in January 2020 in context of a case relating to internet blockade in J & K. The apex court observed that access to the internet is a Fundamental Right under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Furthermore, it’s also necessary to recapitulate that before this ruling came, the United Nations had recommended that all countries should make access to the internet a Fundamental Right for their citizens. It will thus be wrong to limit the interpretation of the verdict only to the case it is related to and the implications are far-reaching and in effect encompass the length and breadth of India and all its citizens. A little over six years had passed since the launch of Digital India, the two fundamental goals of which are setting up of digital infrastructure as a utility to all citizens and their digital empowerment. Realisation of the latter is impossible without the first which essentially relates to the hardware aspects i.e. IT infra that would deliver high-speed internet to the users. In Arunachal Pradesh, the said infrastructure building works are a never-ending process and there are several border districts where even basic mobile connectivity is a far cry, forget high-speed internet network. The pandemic has exposed a good number of fault lines the state needs to address fast and internet availability and penetration is definitely one such and the first-hand sufferers have been the students who have been deprived of reaping the benefits of the new online teaching-learning process- a clear instance of violation of Fundamental Rights.
The Centre must give extra emphasis and treat Arunachal’s internet need as ‘Most Urgent’.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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