This article is in the backdrop of the farmers protest in around the NCR region that has recently witnessed an internet shut down.
India shuts down internet more than any democratic nation in the world and in the past 4 years we have seen over 400 such shutdowns.
Majority of this was seen in Jammu and Kashmir which has seen partial recovery after 200 days. Also, post the abrogation of Article 370 there was a rise in these cases; this has been criticized from people all over the world including UN rights groups and civil society organizations.
Currently, Indian laws are vague regarding this as it is mostly said that it is done in ‘public interest’ but on the contrary we have seen that it is part of the Fundamental Rights under Article 19 (Right to free speech) and Article 21 (Right to life) according to several judgements of the courts.
We need to assess the impact of the same, especially during the pandemic when internet is really important to access digital tools to carry out health operations. It can also be seen that the vulnerable segments of the population will be cut off from health and welfare alerts.
Digital services will be cut off and immediate needs of pregnant women, students and others will be severed.
Journalists might find it difficult to do ground reporting due to this.
Sectors related to IT, finances or consulting services are completely dependent on internet and this will cut off their economic activity.
India is estimated to have lost over $20000 crore in the year 2020 due to internet shutdowns.
Due to all this, the Govt should not undertake blanket bans suddenly and must undertake well formulated protocols and policies. Though alternatives might result in mass surveillance among others.
Govts., especially democracies will have to create modern, independent institutions that have the authority and expertise to create frameworks that will help us meet challenges and overcome issues without having to resort to the blanket ban.
Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
The MPC or Monetary Policy Committee is a Govt appointed committee mentioned in the RBI Act which aims to frame and set policy rate and tools like Repo Rate, MSF, CRR and so on.
The committee has 6 members, 3 nominated by the Govt and 3 members of the RBI; the ones nominated are not Govt employees but are from a background related to finances or banking.
The members from the RBI include:
The Governor who is the ex-officio chairperson of the MPC
The Deputy Governor
The executive director
The members nominate by the Govt are through a committee which consists of
Economic affairs secretary
Three experts in the field of finance or banking
They are employed for a period of 4 years and are not eligible for reappointment.
The decisions are taken by majority with each member having a vote.
The Governor of the Ex-officio chairperson does not have veto power but has a casting vote in case of a tie.
National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)
The NIP was announced in the Union Budget of 2019-20 with a corpus of 100 lakh crore that would be invested over the next 5 years.
It was a first of its kind initiative which aims to provide best in class infrastructure to the people of the country which will also improve their quality of life.
NIP also aims to seek investment both domestic and foreign and will push India to achieve the $5 trillion economy status.
NIP covers both economic and social infrastructure projects.
We need to note the Atanu Chakraborty task force that was created to provide recommendations on the NIP.
The NIP will also help in creating jobs also improve the ease of life of the common people which will help in making growth more inclusive.
It has the highest allocation towards the energy sector at 24%, then roads at 19%, and so on.
It focuses on various aspects like the PNG, drinking water, sanitation, ports, etc.
The Govt has also created the Development finance institutions, particularly for the infrastructure sector which wasn’t there earlier and this will help better growth and development.
This is not similar to the commercial bank as it also caters to the development aspect which commercial banks do not.