In a teacher entrance exam held on Sunday in Rajasthan, internet services and business were shut down in an unprecedented manner on the orders of the administration. In fact, Rajasthan Teacher Eligibility Entrance Test (REET) 2021 was conducted on Sunday for the recruitment of Level 1 (Class 1-5) and Level 2 (Class 6-8) teachers at 4019 centers across the state. Around 16 lakh candidates appeared in this exam. The last REET was conducted in 2018.
Internet service closed to stop fake news and rumors
On Friday, Principal Secretary, Home, Abhay Kumar had written a letter to state, divisional and district officials to enforce law and order and suspend internet services to prevent cheating during exams. He wrote in it that, “Around 16 lakh students will participate in REET 2021 and will travel from one district to another. In such a situation, there is a possibility of deteriorating law and order situation due to fake news, rumours of accidents, paper leaks etc. Thus, in keeping with the Central Government’s 2017 notification on “Public Safety” and “Public Emergency”, Kumar had asked the Divisional Commissioners to take a call to suspend internet services.
Internet service suspended everywhere except Jaisalmer
Significantly, except in Jaisalmer, where Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and his wife Usha Naidu had arrived on Sunday, internet services remained suspended across the state for various periods on the orders of divisional commissioners.
In Jaipur Division, Divisional Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Yadav had issued orders to suspend internet services in Alwar, Dausa, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Yadav, in his order, had said that 2G/3G/4G/data (mobile internet), internet services, bulk SMS/MMS WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media services, except voice calls and broadband internet through Internet service providers, need to be suspended.
Internet service remained closed for 10 hours in Jaipur urban area
In Jaipur Urban, orders were issued to shut down the internet for 10 hours between 7 am and 5 pm. At the same time, internet service remained closed in Jaipur Rural between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm. Internet services were suspended in Alwar, Dausa and Jhunjhunu for 12 hours between 6 am and 6 pm, while in Sikar it was suspended for nine hours between 8 am and 5 pm. The internet shutdown affected food aggregators like Zomato which displayed messages on suspension of services.
100 crore business affected
Local businesses were also affected by the internet service shutdown and most businesses remained closed across the state. In Jaipur, the district administration had earlier held a meeting with trade union representatives and requested them to keep their establishments closed on Sundays. It was a voluntary decision following the request of the administration. On the other hand, Jaipur Trade Federation President Subhash Goyal claimed that about 80 thousand to 90 thousand shops remained closed in Jaipur. He said that except essential services such as food shops, restaurants, juice shops, medical stores, everything else remained closed. Along with this, he told that, “Business of about 100 crore rupees was affected due to the shutdown of internet services in Jaipur.”
BJP targets Congress for shutting down internet service
On the other hand, BJP state president Satish Poonia attacked the Congress government over the internet suspension across the state, saying, “There is a huge difference between the words and actions of the Congress party… the public was inconvenienced by the internet shutdown on such a large scale. Even after shutting down the internet, there were many irregularities. The government has to come up with a strategy.”
Significantly, on Sunday evening, Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) spokesperson Rajendra Gupta said that out of 16.51 lakh qualified candidates, around 95 per cent appeared for the exam, which is conducted in two sessions from 10 am to 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm. was held till 5 pm.
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