Kerala planning to provide free internet for 20 million families
Kerala's CPI(M)-led LDF government is planning to implement 'Kerala Fibre Optic Network' (K-FON), a new initiative which would provide free internet connections to 20 lakh poor families. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a written reply to the state assembly that the government is also planning to give out free mobile phones under the initiative.
UN passes resolution making internet a basic right, India disagrees
In July 2016, the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has passed a non-binding resolution which makes internet access a basic human right. As many as 70 countries signed as cosponsors while 17 countries, including India, China, Russia, UAE and Saudi Arabia strongly opposed the resolution. Basic human rights are different from fundamental rights and aren't granted by the Indian constitution.
Why UN feels internet is a basic human right
The UNHRC, while passing a resolution to make internet a basic right, said internet access increases access to education tools, helping combat illiteracy. It said it's impossible to live in the digital age without basic internet access. The UN said the resolution's goal was to improve accountability for human rights abuses and ensure online freedom, security and privacy.
Kerala first state to declare internet basic human right
On March 18, Kerala, India's most literate state, declared that internet access is a basic right for all citizens akin to food, education and water. In the state budget, a plan was unveiled to provide free internet connections to 20 lakh poor families and at lower internet rates to others. The move comes as the central government promotes digitization, e-governance and a cashless economy.
Funds haven't been earmarked for the internet initiative
The initiative, which was mentioned in the LDF's election manifesto and state's draft IT policy, doesn't have any funds earmarked in it, Vijayan said. The states' 2017-18 budget had proposed to provide 20 lakh free internet connections to poor families. Internet would be made the right of the people, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac said.