We are committed to Digital India and denies being under pressure
GN Bureau | April 22, 2015
Continuing his theme of rich versus poor that began with land bill speech, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Modi government of trying to give away internet space to corporates.
In the name of youth Rahul Gandhi said that the people are fighting for net neutrality on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. "The Modi government is trying to carve out the net and hand it over to the corporates," he said while making a mention on the subject in Lok Sabha on Wednesday afternoon.
"I would request the government to stop TRAI's decision. Please change the law or write a new law on net neutrality," said Rahul.
"The government is already snatching land from the people. I thought the Modi government would at least protect internet rights of people," Rahul Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.
He also hinted at 'nexus' between US corporates and Modi government. Rahul brought up US president Barack Obama's article praising PM Narendra Modi in Time magazine. The world's biggest industrialists are in the US and it is for the first time that the US president has written an article on the Indian Prime Minister.
Govt not under any pressure
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government is not acting under any pressure from the corporates and it will never do so in future either.
Prime minister Narendra Modi's vision that Internet should be made available to people in a non-discriminatory manner. “When PM talks of Digital India, he means that 125 crore people of India should have access to Internet. We are committed towards it,” he said.
"In the world, on the social media, PM Modi is very respected," Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad said: "Today Rahul Gandhij speaks about internet neutrality, but we would like to know how and why the UPA government blocked Twitter handles." Prasad also said that the aim of the government was to move towards mobile governance.
When asked by a reporter to respond if Rahul is doing politics on the issue, Prasad said “absolutely”.
Prasad said this while talking to reporters outside parliament he said: “They (Congress) still don't do their homework. TRAI is an independent body but its recommendations are not binding on government,” Prasad said.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan then said a notice should be given for a half-an-hour discussion and she would allow it.
Interestingly, the Congress party supports net neutrality and maintains that free internet is a pre-requisite for dissemination of ideas.