ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Broadband Internet Access

A Luxury or a Right?

With the effects of the pandemic becoming increasingly severe by the day, there has been an almost total shift to online modes of operation. However, this has created a huge digital divide in the country, aggravating the already existing inequalities. To realise the dream of a digitally inclusive India, internet has to be provided as a public good and at subsidised rates for low-income households.

The entire world is battling the minuscule coronavirus, a highly infectious disease, first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO 2020) declared COVID-19 as a global health pandemic on 11 March 2020, concerned by the alarming level of spread and severity across continents. With more than 31.21 million infections and close to a million deaths globally in the first six months of the pandemic, increasing numbers and the evolving situation every day, the road ahead is highly uncertain.

The situation in India is equally alarming even after the first six months of severe lockdown to contain the virus, with many states showing an intense viral spread, though relatively a lower death rate remains a matter of surprise for experts. There is no prescribed line of medical treatment for the disease. Medical scientists are attempting to invent new medicines while researchers are trying to test a variety of existing drugs to treat Covid-19 (WHO 2020). As a solace, even the emergency use of plasma therapy to treat Covid-19 was authorised. Simultaneously, a vaccine quest by pharmaceutical companies is on an anticipated path, while accelerated approval to yield political dividends is promised with unfortunate vaccine nationalism becoming a major concern (Sinha 2020). Amidst all these dramatic ongoing phenomena, COVID-19 emerged as a critical driver of digital transformation in India and the world. Concurrently, the societal divide has deepened alarmingly, as physical distance, the new lifestyle of work from home, and digitalisation have become the new normal.

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Published On : 12th Jan, 2024

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