India may be digitizing at a rapid rate, but it won’t allow injustice to its citizens nonetheless. It’s comforting to know that on the nation’s track to modernization, they continue to fight relentlessly for the values rooted within society.
What Is It?
Net Neutrality is basically a guarantee that no online traffic will be treated differently regardless of its source or destination. There are evidently a lot of loopholes people try to find within the concept, but India has arguably declared it does not plan to exhibit flexibility in changing online equality.
The fight to keep India’s net neutrality intact has caused a dispute between Mark Zuckerberg and parts of the nation that are pro-net neutrality. He introduced a service that would provide Indians free access to limited services. Zuckerberg believes his Free Basics service does nothing to harm online equality, and can, in fact, help the Internet become more accessible to people of each sector in society. Unsurprisingly, this is a huge blow to Zuckerberg, who has issued statements ridiculing the critics against his service stating, “Who could possibly be against this? Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India,” and “Instead of recognising the fact that Free Basics is opening up the whole internet, they continue to claim – falsely – that this will make the internet more like a walled garden.” He is determined to launch the service in India, considering the nation Facebook’s second biggest market in the world.
Despite his best efforts, critics are not too keen on giving up the war. A volunteer for savetheinternet.in, Nikhil Pahwa, believes the biggest issue is Zuckerberg’s inability to respond to an important question.
“Why has Facebook chosen the current model for Free Basics, which gives users a selection of around 100 sites (including a personal blog and a real estate company homepage), while rejecting the option of giving the poor free access to the open, plural and diverse web?”
It’s hard to tell who will win the battle, but India’s strong belief in net neutrality is said to bring the country even closer to having the world’s most progressive policy for equal internet access. Given that even the USA is currently raising efforts to remove net neutrality rules, this says a lot about India’s persistence to support values and ideas that contrast with modern ideas.