Ensure large companies don’t take control of internet: Cong to govt

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 13, 2016 22:15 IST
Demonstrators of Free Software Movement Karnataka hold placards during a protest against Facebook's Free Basics initiative, in Bangalore. (AFP)

The Congress on Wednesday asked the government to ensure that large companies don’t take control of the internet and also set a clear target date by which there will be universal internet access to all Indians.

Ahead of the unveiling of ‘start-up India’ policy by the government on January 16, the main opposition party gave six suggestions to stimulate start-ups, saying the new companies are the “only hope at a time when economy is in doldrums”.

Seeking to wrest the credit from the NDA government, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the UPA had conceived the policy blueprint for the ‘start-up India’ initiative even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was claiming credit for it.

“As usual, the Prime Minister will be claiming credit for and repackaging what the Congress had already put in place,” he said.

He said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had received the suggestions during his recent meetings with the heads of 27 such companies in Delhi and Bengaluru.

The suggestions include a clear and categorical statement from the government that it will support net neutrality and an assurance that large companies would not be allowed to restrict access to internet. “It should be the responsibility of the government to provide internet access to all,” the party said.

Also, government buildings, public universities and schools should be allowed to provide office space with power, connectivity and basic information technology infrastructure to act as incubator for ‘startups’.

The party said corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds should be permitted to be invested in startup or innovation-related research and development in public universities under the guidelines laid down by the previous UPA government.

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