Amid the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution and the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), India experienced the most number of hours of internet blackouts.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of India had ordered a review on the internet shutdown in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after the abroagation of Article 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019. While the internet and 2G services were restored in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir last week, India has incurred enormous losses due to the shutdown apart from causing inconvenience to the public.
According to a report, titled The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019 by Top10VPN, India has lost more that $1.3 billion due to the the internet shutdown across the country. The shutdown lasted for 4,196 hours in 2019 alone making it the third nation after Iraq and Sudan to be economically affected. India was among 21 other countries where internet shutdowns happened last year.
In India, apart from J&K, northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh were also a victim of internet shutdown after the anti-CAA protests turned violent. This had resulted in a loss of $102 million in the northeastern states. Internet services were shut down in some parts of Delhi as well amid the protests at Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU. The Narendra Modi led government had imposed the ban on internet in order to quell the protests.
The report also showed that the total cost of internet shutdowns across the world were $8.05 billion in 2019. Top10VPN's internet shutdown tracker for India calculated 106 shutdowns in 2019.
Earlier, in 2018, a report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relation estimated that India had lost $3.04 billion between 2012 and 2017 with the shutdown lasting for 16,315 hours.
However, the internet shutdown that was imposed on August 4 was the longest interest ban ever that has been imposed by any other country.
The internet shutdown in India has been vehemently opposed by the citizens as it is violates their fundamental rights.
The data showed that Iraq topped the list and had it cost them $2.3 billion in 209 hours of shutdown in 2019. The internet shutdown amid the anti-government protests due to rising unemployment, failing public services and corruption in October 2019. Sudan, that ranked second in the list, was hit by $1.87 billion with 864 hours of shutdown.
Apart from the complete internet shutdown, some countries had blocked social media platforms. WhatsApp, among other, experiened the highest number of shutdown across the world at 6,236 hours while Facebook that ranked second saw 6,208 hours of shutdown. Instagram, Twitter and YouTube saw 6,193, 5,860 and 684 hours of shutdown respectively. Countries across the world also put blocks selectively on specific online platforms. WhatsApp was the platform that saw the highest number of shutdowns globally at 6,236 hours.