So, Zuckerberg and Modi just came together to end net neutrality in India?

Kumar Sundaram

Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of internet.org, claiming to create free internet but actually leading to separately sellable and controllable segments within internet has found a partner in the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi is India’s Hindu supermacist PM brandishing himself as a ‘development man’ who will bring progress to the country by pushing technological growth, bringing foreign investment, creating jobs and even getting a permanent seat the the UN security council – not through some coherent policy framework but by simple miracles of leadership. Although critised globally for its sinister design, the Facebook CEO’s internet.org suits Modi’s megalomania and his right-wing cheerleaders turning his every act into an epic by sheer cacophony on the social media. Even the mainstream media in India, owned by the big corporate houses backing Modi, has an almost uncritical celebration of everything about Modi, particularly his foreign policy.

Modi is in the US for the UN General Assembly meeting and he met the CEO of Facebook yesterday and the result is this Modi-berg which seems to have just hit net neutrality in India.

Tip of the Modi-berg?

Zuckerbeg ModiInternet.org is an idea to provide internet for free to some, but in the process creating a more layered and controllable internet on the other side. While the free package won’t include more than 50 websites and that list has to be a result of a deal/favour with Facebook, the paid internet will also get segmented on the basis of speed and restrictive niches based on interests and trends. Internet as free platform through which a blogger or a group can reach out with its idea to the people through web will be history.

If your website/blog is not part of some package that people can subscribe, you can almost forget about being heard on internet. And such packages would be more attractive because of the specific interest they would cater and also possibly made more affordable by websites that will join specific packages and earn advertisements.

And what about the Indian poor?

Internet packages on mobile have become costlier since Modi has assumed power. Restricting the poor to limited number of websites cannot be a way to allow them internet access.

Indian poor are nothing more than a chip in sinister bargains.

If you want to end net neutrality, justify it by claiming its providing free internet to the poor.

If you want concessions in the climate change negotiations for domestic corporations like Adani who fund your election, bring in the Indian poor and say we need to emit more.

For getting a dangerous nuclear deal passed, the earlier govt famously used the dream of lighting bulb in the house of a poor rural woman called Kalawati.

The poor of India in fact provide a rich dividend for its elite.

The fact is, Modi’s policies have led to more farmer suicides, more corporate-driven displacement of the rural poor and loss of jobs in the rural as well as urban India. Internet is still shut down in Modi’s Gujarat. Zuckerberg is trying hard to end net neutrality through internet.org And both are together talking about empowerment through technology!

For more details and perspective on net neutrality and facebook’s internet.org, see these two links:

First an article simplifying internet.org for you –

Facebook’s Internet.Org Promises Free Internet For All. But Here’s What They’re Not Telling You

And a video which explains the threat to net neutrality succintly, although it was made in a slightly different context when India’s Depart of Telecommunications was trying to push it with partnership with some domestic corporations.

  • Siddharth Lele

    To the Author.

    Dear Mr. Kumar Sundaram.

    “Internet packages on mobile have become costlier since Modi has assumed power.” I take great offence with this statement. The Internet packages have become costlier due to the 2G scam perpetrated by the UPA (II) government prior to the Modi government which necessitated a fresh auction of the spectrum. And because the spectrum is a scarce resource, it was sold to the highest bidders. The winning bidders in turn increased the cost of the said Internet packages as well as the cost of making calls in some case, to recover their costs. And that really is how every business functions the world over with little or exception.

    So unless you separate the cause and effect and attribute the increase in cost to the right cause, I am inclined to believe you are just another Modi hater who will “dump” everything on him. Regardless of whether he really, truly was responsible for it or not.

    And no. I am not a “right-wing bhakt” that you run into on social media these days. I am just a simple man who believes that PM Modi is capable of turning India’s destiny. Or at least lead it on the path to it. I am the same aforementioned simple man who believes that barring the 5 prior years of the NDA rule, we have seen the Congress with varied partners “rule” India. It’s time we let a little fresh air come in India and see what that lead us to.

    And yes. I am all for net neutrality. And I DO believe that the Internet.org is not a solution to it. But as mentioned, I do take offence to the earlier noted statement / line in the article.

    • Kashish

      your comment does not make any sense. if the company’s are forcefully increasing prices due to re-auction process, then its the govt job to regulate it and stop them. After all, the companies were equally responsible for the scam, its not like the politicians did the scam for the companies out of good heart.
      The article is written in aggressive tone but points out to the right things Name me the policies that support his claim of future development. None whatsoever.

      Digital India, was he able to even explain what he meant by that? Did he once discuss the security issues with that setup. People are getting blackmailed for their ashley madison details that got hacked. If govt is preparing that setup, where are the details on what information is collected, how is it stored, how is it protected. There are no fucking details available, just slogans.

      Anytime people criticize him, they are branded anti national.

      Lets talk about policy-content on which he is a failure thus far.

      We all are hoping he will change that but he has not shown any signs of it yet.

      • Prashant Jha

        I did not find a single merit in your comments either. There has been lots of foundation laying in the last 15 months which will enable the economy to accelerate. Focus of highways, inland transport, railways are some of the very basic infrastructure requirements that went begging during UPA regime and took its toll on economy. Things are gathering pace on that front. Fixing leak of subsidies through Jan Dhan has saved thousands of crores of peoples’s money. About mobile charges it is still the lowest in the world while making the govt coffers swell by few lac crores which will ultimately percolate to people of India. You dont have to bring a new policy every time to prove you are working. Dusting and tweaking old policies are often as effective. If invective of the perpetual Modi hater Mr Sundaram excites for reason other than merit in arguments nobody can counter that

      • This man is short of ideas himself, everytime he copies others and most of the schemes of UPA are renamed and presented as if his own Ideas…!!!
        1) Nirmal Bharat – Renamed to Swatch Bharat
        2) Direct Benefit Transfer – Renamed Jan Dhan Yojna
        3) National Pension Scheme – Renamed Atal Pension Yojana
        4) National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) – Renamed Digital India
        5) Aam Aadmi Beema Yojana (AABY), – Renamed Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Beema Yojana
        6) IAY – Indira Awaas Yojna to GRAM – Renamed National Gram Awaas Mission
        7) Planning Commission – Renamed Niti Ayyog
        8) Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Pariyojna – Renamed Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGY).
        9) Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) – Renamed as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)
        10) modi said the current government took a strategic decision to begin production of neem-coated urea to boost the falling fertility of India’s over-fertilised agricultural lands.
        Reality: Parliamentary data reveal that urea, along with various pesticides, has been coated with neem for 11 years.
        11) Modi has implied that issuing “soil-health cards” is an original idea of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
        Reality: More than 50 million soil-health cards had been issued to farmers across states and union territories by March 2012.
        12) Modi claim Farm credit target raised to Rs 8.5 lakh crore. This was a key achievement during 2014-15.
        Reality: An examination of government data since 2010-11 reveals that farm-credit targets are raised by at least Rs 1 lakh crore every year. The target for 2014-15 was fixed at Rs 8 lakh crore.
        13)Modi Launched Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), Traditional Agriculture Growth Programme, to promote organic farming; every farmer to get Rs 20,000 per acre every three years.
        Reality: PKVY is, again, an example of change in nomenclature; it clubs existing organic-farming schemes/programmes.

    • Dont know about Destiny,but a brash attempt is being made to change history already.
      Modi’s ONE Year highlights =======================
      1. For the first time, 33 percent BJP MPs criminals enter parliament
      2. Another first, 33 percent Modi cabinet criminals
      3. Modi himself not cleared his name in teen snooping case, no investigation as well
      4. Amit Shah, President of BJP is still on bail. His lawyer made SC judge
      5. 50+ massive U-turns in 9 months
      6. Modi could not even bring down 12 subsidized LPG cylinders to 6
      7. Modi’s EU visit canceled by EU (first of it’s kind)
      9. Modi begging bureaucrats to continue Dr.MMS scheme of things
      10. Altered Inflation formula (removed vegetables/ fruits)
      11. Altered GDP formula, many experts laughing even now
      12. Nepal declines Modi speech in Sita brith Place
      13. SL PM says he will shoot Indians violating borders (just before Modi visit)
      14. Ist budget says bullet train, 2nd budget says no new trains at all
      15. Tax sops for rich corporates, nothing for common man
      16. Joins hands with ‘corrupt NCP’ makes Govt with separatists PDP
      17. Modi not revealing expenses of his foreign tours
      18. DD official transferred for showing news item of Jasodaben
      19. Cut in mid-day meal budget, 20. Cut in tribal welfare
      21. Cut in women welfare, 22. Cut in child welfare .
      23. Modi Sarkar total 111 foreign trips in 8 months.
      24. No one rupee deal with USA on Modi’s visit.
      25. 11,000 CCTVs for Obama, nothing for Delhi women
      26. CVC rendered usless 27. RTI rendered powerless
      28. RTI queries discouraged
      29. Jasodaben RTI query not answered
      30. NGOs targeted, accounts frozen
      31. BJP fields highest number of criminals in K’taka, AP, Telagana
      32. BJP fields highest number of criminals in Maha, Chattis, New Delhi
      33. BJP fields highest number of criminals in Haryana, J&K, Jharkandh
      34. Increased fear among farmers due to land grab bill
      35. Increased fear among minorities
      36. Flip-Flop on Pakistan, allows hoisting of Pakistan flag in J&K
      37. Releases Masrat Alam and Thunda 38. Maldives chooses Pakistan and China as it’s mentor…ditches India for first time
      39. Not a single insurance claimed under Jan Dhan Yojana till date.
      40. Prices of essential medicines increased
      41. Judiciary diluted by ‘fixing’
      42. Modi donated 25 crores to Pashupathinath temple, where did he get it ?
      43. EU rejects Modi’s visit, PMO again begs and somehow finalizes dates using Rafale Jet deal black mail!
      44. Modi spends Rs.300 crores as lobby fee for civilian US Visa, but gets only diplomatic Visa like Gaddaffi.
      45. Modi literally begging bureaucrats to continue Dr.MMS/Chiddu scheme of things !! 46. Gujarat Model exposed on daily basis by CAG and Gujarat Govt.
      47. Gujarat records highest incidents of girl raping in nation
      48. DRDO Chief kicked out for not following Minister 49 IIT director thrown out and replaced with non- technical person.
      50. Modi’s Luxury car dealer made VC of Muslim University
      51. ED officials thrown out for investigating BJP drug racket in Punjab
      52. Asaram Bapu’s two complainants/witnesses shot dead
      53. Amit Shah lawyer made SC Judge
      54. Higher education budget cut by 25 percent
      55. Research allocations cut across all fields.
      56. EXCISE duty of petro products hiked 4 times !!
      57. Highest farmers suicide >4500 prople in 100 days of Modi as PM
      58. Haramzade Ramzade
      59. Ghar Wapsi utter flop
      60. Love Jihad
      61. Church attacks
      63. Godse love
      64. Modi has no guts to take on Sadhvi, Sakshi, Uma, Sushma, Giriraj Singh
      66. Modi shamelessly blasts media for not praising VK Singh for evacuating 1,500 people, UPA evacuated 15,000 from Libya, no media reported it nor UPA claimed credit !!
      67. Modi shameless says cement bag price has been reduced to Rs.120, while in market it is Rs.390-415 per bag.
      68. Modi says India is land of scams in Canada !!
      69. Modi says India was begging UNSC seat all these years !!
      70. Modi went to his mother on his b’day to seek her blessings (actually dragged her out of house for cameramen), but he forgot his mother when he went to Pashupathinath temple.
      71. Chief economic adviser of Modi Sarkar says new GDP rate is puzzling
      72. IMF says it will investigate New GDP formula of Modi sarkar
      73. RBI Governor too says GDP numbers are puzzling !
      74. Selective leakage of Bose documents
      75. Still no action on Vadra, Haryana, Rajasthan and India ruled by BJP !!
      76. Judiciary weakened with questionable people appointed as SC judges (Amit Shah’s lawyer in criminal cases made SC Judge).
      77. Zero deal in Germany, snubbed by Chancellor Merkel
      78. Saved Rafale company by buying ready to fly planes instead of negotiating for technology buy.
      79. Huge protest against Modi by Indians in Canada.
      80. Jobs down in last three quarters
      81. Business Resilience rating of India drops by 7 ranks !!
      82. Free air tickets given to NRI/Indians in Australia for attending Modi’s speech, advertisement on Modi’s own website about free air-tickets !!
      83. Highest farmer suicide rate under Modi sarkar
      84. No minister visits farmers to assess damage caused by un-seasonal rains
      85. MNREGA funds increased in budget but choked in reality
      86. Central Govt. reluctant to spend on social schemes, in spite of funds availability
      87. RSS issues map in it’s magazine showing Arunachal Pradesh part of China. 88. RSS issues map in it’s magazine showing Kashmir part of Pakistan.
      89. At SAARC, day-1 Modi snubs Sharief, Day-2 Modi hugs Sharief !!
      90. Bhutan power plant given to Adanis
      91. Adanis constant companion of Modi on foreign visits not experts
      92. Modi wears 12 lakh worth suit with name all over it suggesting he is dictator inclined. 93. Gujarat and MP ranks lowest in farm payment (per day allowance)
      94. Modi’s pet project of oil discovery drains 60,000 crores without finding one liter of gas.
      95. Adani wealth skyrockets from 44,000 crores to 117000 crores under Modi in just 9 months.
      96. Huge protests outside Madison Square Garden by Indians against Modi
      97. Modi never faced media a single time after coming to power
      98. VIP culture zooms under Modi rule
      99. Modi’s presstitutes asked to leave Nepal for showing Modi propaganda
      100. Nepalese burn effigy of Modi !!
      101. RSS magazine shows Kashmir part of Pakistan and Arunachal part of China
      102. China media says Indians are inferior on eve of Modi visit
      103. District collector issued notice for wearing sun- glasses while meeting Modi.
      104. Increased excise duty on petroleum products 4 times in a month
      105. No 15 lakh black money per family.
      106. Petrol sold at 43 percent more compared to UPA last month rates ($ rate considered)
      107. Talks about opposition in foreign land (bringing down PMO’s stature)
      108. UP BJP MP says Modi sarkar has achieved nothing !!!
      109. Mamta refuses to take back her words ‘Danga Babu/ Donkey’ jibe on Modi
      110. Siddaramaiah refuses to take his words back ‘Rakshasa’ on Modi.
      111. Arun Shourie says Modi govt is confused, misleading people
      112. In spite of heavy lobbying, Modi slapped with diplomatic visa (a Visa given to enemies of US/ Dictators like Saddam/Gaddaffi)
      113. UN report says Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are happier than Indians !
      114. Both Chinese media and RSS cut Kashmir and Arunachal off Indian Map, feku is silent and says he is ashamed of being Indian….

  • R.Srinivasan

    can the author take care to explain the meaning of this line “Modi is India’s Hindu supermacist PM “

  • Yashika

    Mr. Lele , irrespective of your political leanings, you might like to know that cost of the spectrum is just 3% of the amortized cost of running the telecom company ( global average ).
    While humble 2G net packs have become costlier and their services degraded, categorically to promote 3G and 4G, issues such as call drops and other network related menaces have been totally disregarded. So much so that the govt itself has to intervene.
    Ms. Kashish is right, it’s gross policy failure. Else what prevents network sharing to be optimized ? Or for that matter promoting newer infrastructure providers.
    It’s a big time corporate fraud if you happen to check the loans disbursed for network hardware and the actual number of towers put in place.
    Your hope Mr. Lele is fine but if I spend a penny, I need services and not lucid lectures by the govt.

  • S Naidu

    Have never seen a more blatant misrepresentation of facts as in this statement – “The fact is, Modi’s policies have led to more farmer suicides, more corporate-driven displacement of the rural poor and loss of jobs in the rural as well as urban India”. Yet another hit job coz of sheer hatred for Modi.Will the author care to provide details of these so called facts? A bit deeper analysis will reveal the root causes, but that wont be mentioned here. Besides, net neutrality is a must but do you have any suggestion on how to make internet available to ALL those who dont have it today, at an affordable cost? Dont just write articles merely for grandstanding but apply your mind to give constructive feedback or ideas.

    • A wise person learns from mistakes. If mistakes happen once in a while it is understandable. When every now and then it takes place, it is serious. If is due to either sheer ignorance/casualness, he is unfit to be PM. If it is due to his feeling of bloated self that he can do no mistake he is unfit to be PM as the PM is supposed to work in collectively and not with slaves. If it is due to his contempt for the listeners, media and the people of India he is not fit to be PM as he do not care for the people. What is mentioned in the article as mistakes are only few. There are several more which are mistakes directly attributable to Modi. There are incidents where others are made to make mistakes for his benefit getting cheap publicity and popularity. One example is the alleged “Rambo act’ of Modi in Uttarakhand where he is supposed to have done a feat in 2 days whereas the Army, Air force and Navy jointly took 1 month to do similar activities in reality. After allowing the message to float for 5 days, Party president Rajnath Singh had to issue clarification that the news was allowed by somebody without the knowledge of Modi or BJP. Modi corrected only the one alleged slip up on Mookherji. He did not bother about other several goof ups/bumbles.

  • Venkat Reddy

    Hi,
    Face book is trying to control internet access through internet.org, what ever they are saying free access may not help a neutral citizen.
    Here the challenge would be how do we give access and expand access through network to all habitations of the country.
    For above challenge govt have major role to play…who will bear the cost to offer access to the consumer…
    There should be egalitarian equation among Network, content providers, this partnership will be trivial.
    Govt has to formulate regulation so that neither content provider nor access provider bend the rules in their favor at the cost of inferior or denying fair access tot he customer
    Till date there are no efforts been made in this direction by TRAI or telecom ministry
    If govt heed advice by corporates…definitely it will lead to monopoly ….customer will suffer…in another way it may impact basic right adversely

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  • Kausar Nasim

    Dear All …..I am not so perfect in English but I am trying to say. You all are well qualified guys more than our Politicians, and where you are sitting it’s not so easy to get these Jobs, what you are doing, After getting qualification, Written Tests and Ibterviews you got the job. But for these Pokiticians there is no minimum qualification, no written test and no interview. They are only in Thousands but really they are So Supper & Expert to make fool to all of us in Crores. These Politicians always keep busy to all Public only in discussing, blaming on each other and they rule silently.