Kerala Is The First Indian State Now To Declare the Internet A Basic Human Right
Kerala is the most literate state in India, and it has just declared the Internet access as a basic right for every citizen just like food, education and water. The state budget has unveiled a project, that aims to provide internet connections free of cost to 20 lakh low-income families and at subsidised rates to others. Though it is a move in the right direction, the United Nations recommends that every country should make access to the internet as a Fundamental human right as well. Basic human rights are separate from the Fundamental rights, which are granted by the Indian Constitution.
In this increasingly digital age, where the government is on a mission to move towards a cashless economy and promote e-governance and digitisation, access to the Internet is essential. The Kerala government has understood the fact that without the primary access to the Internet, all the digitisation initiatives will become fruitless.
Finance Minister Thomas Issac said on the eve of the announcement as quoted “The Internet will now become a right for the people and within 18 months the internet gateway would be set up through the K phone network at the cost of one billion Rupees.”
Mr.Issac additionally said that the project would make internet access as the right of every citizen and the state would provide easy access to both government and non-government services through the computers and mobile phones.
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To facilitate the same, a new optical fibre network, dubbed ‘K-Fon’ has been proposed which would be created parallel to the existing KSEB electric power network at the cost of 1,000 crores. The plan is expected to get completed within 18 months. The project would also involve the creation of Wi-Fi transmission centres at the public places, government offices, libraries, Akshaya centres and Janasevana Kendras.
Mr.Isaac said that it is estimated that by 2017-18, almost all the government transactions will become IT-based. Therefore the right to basic Internet facility will become a prerequisite for providing civic services universally through the electronic medium.”