Sources said the IT ministry officials underlined the need to exercise caution on the issue of providing 4G internet services to the border state. Any laxity may lead to spread of misinformation which may result in violence and the law and order situation getting out of hand. The officials said ideally, the Centre should only ask the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary to take a call on the basis of ground reports received by the state home department.
The Centre has already told the Supreme Court on August 10 that 4G services will be allowed in one district each of Jammu and the Valley after August 15. These two districts will be those which have been most peaceful in the recent weeks.
The Standing Committee, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, met on Tuesday where the chairperson is understood to have mentioned the 4G issue in his opening remarks.
BJP members said there is no need to rush on this issue while Congress and other opposition members insisted that the people of J&K should not be deprived of 4G services anymore. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey argued that he had spent a week in the border state recently and found that 2G and 3G services were working fine and social media sites were accessible. He said the internet may be slow in the state but is available to the people.
The case of Delhi riots was cited where internet services were shut down by the Arvind Kejriwal government during the recent riots to prevent spread of misinformation. Similarly, J&K should decide on the issue.
“Law and order is a state subject. As per the law an officer of joint secretary and above can decide on shutting down or allowing internet based on inputs from the ground,” a member said.
Some BJP members maintained that internet services in states like UP, Bihar and Jharkhand were as slow as J&K. Shaktisinh Gohil (Cong) spoke in favour of starting the 4G services soon. The ruling party members countered this, saying in case there is a law and order situation due to spread of rumours on WhatsApp or social media platforms, it is the local administration that will have to deal with it. Hence, the decision on allowing 4G should be left to the union territory.
The panel also discussed 5G pricing in the rest of the country with some members emphasising that the cost should be brought down. The issue will be taken up further in the next meeting of the committee.
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2 Comments on this Story
Gopal Sriniwasan168 days ago
spread of misinformation and rumours cannot be alibi to deprive the Citizens of J&K the benefit of 4G services.
What is required is a deterrent monitoring and stringent, foolproof IT laws which mercilessly punish the wrongdoers with no support of Liberal state laws, such as bail and other provisions of law to escape
In fact, the GOI and the local J&K administration can take a leaf out of the GCC which has 4G services with deterrant monitoring mechanism
013585 AGARWAL VIJAY KUMAR168 days ago
Independent decision making is rear in practice.Policy directions prevail and its easy route.There is no application of mind & responsibility in such type of administration.