The Internet ban in Gujarat, India, has since been lifted, but the companies who rely on the Web to do business feel the effects that the temporary ban had. According to Inc42 magazine, a entrepreneurship and business online publication, Gujarat has a large number of small startup businesses that all use the Internet to conduct business and when the ban went into effect, they couldn't get any work done. This lead to serious losses in revenue, which can be disastrous for small and young businesses.
"We were stuck," Ritam Bhatnagar, founder of Ahmedabad-based wWhere, which is a location sharing web-app, told Inc42. "Almost throughout Saturday, we couldn't work due to unavailability of Internet services. We use OTP [one time password] to generate passwords and the SMS ban also restricted our services in Gujarat. We could see that fall in analytics."
Bhatnagar isn't the only business owner that reported issues. Pratik Dholakiya, the co-founder of two Ahemedabad-based startups, E2M and MoveoApps, told Inc42 that his companies basically couldn't do business at all.
"Since, our primary business comes from the U.S., this ban forced us to cancel/postpone many business meetings," said Dholakiya.
According to the Economic Times, the ban had an effect on online sales and business, operational process and payment processing. These problems were felt across the state. Manish Singh, the director for business development and strategic alliance at social startup Abhumka Herbal, told the Economic Times that his business may have to pay some penalties for not being able to handle the processing of online payments and complete orders as they were supposed to do. Abhumka Herbal sells tribal healthcare products through Amazon and there is no process in place for dealing with this kind of issue. Singh is not only worried about the order penalties the company will face, but the bad reviews and publicity that are likely to come up as a result of the ban.
"All this to face with no fault of ours," Manish Singh, told Economic Times.
The ban was lifted, allowing businesses to work online. However, there is always the possibility that it will go back into effect. There was a similar Internet ban near the end of August that had comparable consequences.
Why was the Internet ban done?
The ban was put in place after riots broke out upon the arrest of Hardik Patel, a leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, in August. He was arrested again recently and riots renewed, prompting Indian authorities to implement a state-wide ban on the Internet to stave off any more unrest that could spread through social media and other Internet communities. The ban was continued in the Mehsana district due to the levels of unrest there.
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