Cheap Data: Why is India subsidising porn and social media rubbish?

As a middle-aged man, I am just old enough to be overtly cynical and covertly enamoured by social media, so I start my day by surreptitiously checking my social media account, and today is my lucky day.

I am approached by one Victoria Elisabeth who is living in Taxes and wants to be my friend. I loved Victoria because she serves in “USA Army in Afghanistan” and yet has managed to remain unapologetically buxom.

As I scrolled down on her page, I can see that she has also posted videos of some more of her friends who were caught in transit between the army camouflage and something else to wear and were fortunate/unfortunate to have met men clad in birthday suits.

The best part of her is that all her friends are Indian spread all across the hinterland of our vast subcontinent.

I see that Munnasingh from Bigwara (who has photos of his wife and son on his profile) finds her “betiful”, and so does Ramlal Agarwal a middle-aged shopkeeper from rural Rajasthan who otherwise shares photos of various gods only.

Her friends’ list is full of hot blooded Indians, and hence I feel honoured that she wants me to join this elite group mostly from rural India, now gallivanting across the globe befriending young women suffering from acute scarcity of cloths.

As I always like to play hard to get, I decided to leave lovely Victoria hanging and moved to the news page to discover an interesting statistics that could be the reason why Victoria from Texas loves rural Indians.

The data connectivity that she is riding on costs almost One Hundredth in India than her homeland!

If we look at the cost of 1 GB of internet data for the world, India is the cheapest with less than 10 cents per GB of data compared to about 8 $ per GB cost of the second largest democracy.

There is little doubt that this almost-free internet is the reason why we have hundreds of Indians not just befriending Victorias of the world but also making India the top user of Facebook and possibly Pornhub too.

And, while millions of Indians are busy watching porn and when no doing so, sending “betiful” messages to Victorias on social media, we are also a nation where we now see a bloodshed in the market of mobile and data because the price war has made it unviable for any company to make any profit.

Cheap data is a double whammy that India can’t ignore anymore because it is almost akin to having drug mafia getting subsidised by market forces while the market itself is collapsing in the process.

The low cost of data has little role to play in helping economy by offering communication network as a very small part of this connectivity is meaningfully employed.

Most of it is used by Indian masses for recreation that is not only getting dangerously addictive but also on the verge of damaging social fabric.

The signs are on the wall, as it is surely not a matter of pride that we top the list with 290 million Facebook users (100 million more than USA) now, and despite a ban on porn, we are surely giving stiff competition to the world as the studies have shown that almost half of the data streaming on mobile phones in urban India has sexual content.

We need to seriously rethink how we price the much-needed internet market before it is too late.

Indian government needs to intervene now and increase the cost of internet connectivity dramatically not only to ensure that it becomes viable market for mobile companies but also to ensure that we don’t turn into an unproductive nation in grip of a new form of opium (as China had become prior to opium wars).

The state must not control how people want to use the internet or even their time, but state can’t allow market forces to subsidise recreation.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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