Battling with low internet speed on crowded Delhi lanes and underground metros, I often recall the Delhi Chief Minister’s promise that he made a few years back- of providing free Wi-Fi all-over the capital.
But then, the promise proved to be empty (like most of the promises of most of the ministers), except for free Wi-Fi at metro stations, that nevertheless doesn’t work most of the times.
Let us not generalise so pessimistically our views about all ministers and governments; for the Kerala government is providing free Wi-Fi to about 2 million of its people living below the poverty line.
Here’s What The Kerala Government Is Doing For Its People:
The people falling above the poverty line will also be benefitted. The state will provide Internet access to all at low-costs. Internet access has been declared as a “lower-cost structure”, just as water, air and food.
The move comes from the ruling party in Kerala- the Left Democratic Front (LDF). The proposal to make the internet a “citizen’s right” was included in their election manifesto and was announced in their 2016-17 Budget by the Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.
“Internet connection made a basic citizen right. Kerala cabinet gives final nod for ₹1548 crores Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) Project to provide Internet to every household in the state. For 20 lakh BPL (below poverty line) households it will be free. The project to be completed by Dec 2020,” Mr Isaac tweeted.
Called the Kerala Optic Fibre network (KFON) is a joint venture by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Kerala State’s IT arm. A new optic fibre network and Wi-Fi transmission centres will be put in place across the state.
Other state governments like Telangana and Tamil Nadu as well as the Delhi government had talked of providing free internet, but the word never transmitted into action.
Why The Hype About The Internet?
In today’s tech-savvy world, where everything is just at a click away, the internet becomes an indispensable part of people’s life. Given that, it is also true that access to it is limited to just some sections of the society and there are still several million people for whom having internet is a far-cry.
In such a scenario, Kerala’s decision to regard the internet as a ‘basic right’ becomes an appreciable move. A few countries to have declared internet as a right, including France, Spain, Costa Rica and Finland.
The state of Kerala has often set an example for the rest of the Indian states to look up to. Besides having achieved 100% literacy rate, it also sees a considerable number of women in employment. Also, the sex ratio in the state, according to the 2011 census is 1084 females per 1000 males, which is the highest amongst all the states.
Hope that the rest of the country learns from this wonderful move by the Kerala state government in terms of digital policies as well as a quality life.
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