‘Digital India’ goes offline

‘Digital India’ goes offline

Srinagar: The Internet blackout in Kashmir has hit the government of India’s “Go Cashless and Digital India” campaign. The common services centres (CSC) set up for the promotion of the campaign are now without Internet facility.
Asif Iqbal, state project manager of the CSC, said that the majority of their centres in Kashmir are disconnected following the Internet shutdown in the Valley. “We haven’t moved beyond a few of our activities. Our work has been badly affected as it requires Internet access,” he said.

It is a worst kind of suppression and oppression by government over Kashmiris. In today’s digital age, everyone is dependent on internet and business community has to rely more on it for transactions.
Siraj Ahmad
General secretary Kashmir Economic Alliance

Out of 2000 centres across Jammu and Kashmir, around 1300 centres were promoting awareness about digital mode of transactions. However, only 12 percent of these centres actually have access to internet and rest have been rendered defunct due to the blackout.
The government has been pushing for cashless banking transactions and has declared a village in Budgam district as the first “cashless village” in Jammu & Kashmir.

The decision is taking us back to stone age. We condemn this decision and ask government to revoke this ban order immediately for the betterment of whatever little business has remained here.
Mushtaq Ahmad Wani
Chairman Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industries (KCCI)

Even during the ongoing internet ban, BJP minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had come to Kashmir to advocate for cashless transactions through digital modes.
During the 2016 uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, prepaid mobile Internet was suspended in Kashmir for 133 days while Internet was shut down 10 times last year.
Chairman of the Federation of Commerce and Industries in Kashmir Mukhtar Yousuf said the business community has been left shattered by the ban.
“In today’s digital world every one prefers to execute most of the work online to save resources, but here we are thrown into the Stone Age. We are being asked to go online and on the other side our online access is being gagged by the government,” Yousuf said.