In terms of the economic impact of the Internet shutdowns in 2020, India is the one who has suffered the most in the world. It has caused losses of $2.8 billion for us. As per a report by a UK- based privacy and security research firm TOP10VPN, the economic impact due to the curbing of Web access last year was more than the double of the combined cost of the next 20 countries of the list. The report added that the actual impact for India may be higher than $2.8 billion figure as this report focuses on larger region-wide shutdowns.
The report had a separate mention of the extended curbs on internet use in Kashmir, that lasted from August 2019- when J&K’s special status was scrapped- to March 2020. And called it as “the longest Internet shutdown in a democracy”.
As per the report, the world saw 93 major shutdowns during the pandemic. Apart from India, it included Ethiopia, Myanmar, Yemen, Belarus and 16 more. The firm used the ‘Cost of Shutdown Tool’ to calculate the economic cost of the shutdowns. It uses the Brookings Institution method.
While the major portion of shutdowns include J&K, the other large localized were seen in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya also. With increasing dependence on the Internet, especially in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, shutting of services even in small region shits access to services such as payments, healthcare, commerce, education, etc—adding up to economic losses.