With the time, everything changes. So are the daily lives as well as the tools and methods of businesses. The invasion of technology in personal lives of people has not only changed the personal preferences of people but also the attitude of society and nations as well (HuffPost, 2012). World Wide Web (WWW) and internet are two technological inventions that have revolutionized the whole world and its impact is never like before.
The adaptability of internet into daily lives of the people has made it an essential need not a want or luxury. So the dynamics as well as the importance of internet has got new values and wings for the society and nations as whole. Now it does not remain just mean of communication only. Rather it has numerous impacts on social and economic lives in the modern society, though with risks and dangers as well (Lee, 2002).
In today’s fast changing and dynamic world, it is has become imperative for the governments to ensure accessibility of internet to all as there is hardly an arena of social and personal lives of people where internet has not become indispensable. Today internet is not just about businesses but is basic necessity in this modern civilization. It’s such a powerful tool in the hands of mankind that no civilization can afford to limit it in the hands of a few people by making it costly or whatever. And for a developing economy like India with full of paradoxes, it is impossible to make internet inaccessible to masses. It will not only deprive people of innumerable opportunities but push into unequal society dominated by the poor and deprived (Upadhyay, 2015).
It is common for the businesses to put efforts to increase their profits through different strategies and tactics (Friedman, 1962). Even if their strategies and tactics have long term negative social or business implications, they often fall for those as future is unpredictable. But in such a peculiar situation if private interests tend to do so, the government needs to step in to avoid such distractions. And if need be, the government must take tough decisions as for the government it is the social benefits that are of prime importance. It can easily ignore short term business problems over long term social and economic benefits.
The issue of net neutrality is a kind of distraction with which government needs to deal properly and take a tough decision in favour of net neutrality as it will strengthen the arms of people. It does not only make a social sense but also has a long term economic sense as well because tomorrow's business environment is going to be completely dependent on services based on internet and limiting it would have long term negative implications for businesses and economy both.
In times of digital world if we look at the current scenarios in the Indian economy, we easily observe that India is lacking on infrastructural front as well as skills both. In short term, it would not be possible for any government with limited resources at all levels to provide with enough infrastructure and upgrade skills of its people support to her economy to achieve medium to long term social and economic goals. So it needs to have an ad-hoc solution that is sustainable and can provide enough infrastructural support to the economy and that is possible only through sharing of resources, skills and infrastructure. Besides these above realities, it is a common fact that it is the learning capacity of a nation that actually helps to grow (Stiglitz, 2014) than just depending on tangible and intangible infrastructure. This one thing is boon for India as the experiences at DRDO to ISRO or reverse engineering suggest that the learning capacity of India is very high.
India aspires to become the largest economy in the world in coming decades and for that the government is continuously launching schemes after schemes such as Digital India, Start up India and Skill India etc. The success of these schemes is more dependent on the availability and affordability of internet for all than any other things or factors considering other constraints. The universal access and net neutrality not only makes economic sense but also is a tool in the hands of common man to cross hurdles and barriers in the path of sustainable growth and development.
In last few years India has witnessed a number of successful low cost e-commerce start-ups. These e-commerce start-ups have not only brought revolution in buying behaviour of people across nooks and corners of the country but also have brought in huge confidence in young generations to think beyond government or normal corporate jobs. Entrepreneurship has started attracting new blood and days are not far away when businesspersons/ entrepreneurs would have higher acceptance in Indian middle class society.
This change in the attitude of people is resulting in huge rise in innovative products and services for consumption and other social purposes. Also at the same time it is helping in bringing best technologies and skills to India. Flipkart, Ola and Paytm etc. are examples. But these positive changes have been feasible and successful only because of universal access of internet and net neutrality. At this stage where Indian economy needs peoples’ participation as entrepreneur to provide with jobs to all, any constraint in access of the same will kill millions of start-ups as those new firms would not be able afford the discrimination in the name of business. It is quite possible that the bottom lines of telecom operators may not look very attractive but will help to have an attractive, vibrant and futuristic economy. If this internet can be used as disruption through better access to it, it would be better for telecom sector in long run.
In other words for better future, net neutrality is the need not the want and India cannot afford to go against net neutrality whatsoever reasons, rationales and claims may be made against it by telecom operator and other interest groups. The government has to ensure that internet flourish as usual. Or even better.
- Friedman, M. (1962). Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- HuffPost. (2012, Feb 10). The Impact of Technology on Our Work and Family Lives. Retrieved from HUFFPOST: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-impact-of-technology_b_1932974
- Lee, K. R. (2002). Impacts of Information Technology. Retrieved from IBM Research Zurich: https://www.zurich.ibm.com/pdf/news/Konsbruck.pdf
- Stiglitz, J. E. (2014, June 3). Creating a Learning Society. Retrieved from Project Syndicate: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/gindart/2014-06-03%20-%20Creating%20a%20learning%20society.pdf
- Upadhyay, R. K. (2015). Impact of Globalization on Distribution of Income, Poverty and Inequality in India. Abhinav-National Monthly Refereed Journal of Research in Commerce & Management, 38-44.
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