With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing schools and colleges to shift classes to digital platforms, the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) demands special allocation for building digital education infrastructure in the Union Budget 2021-22.
SIO reiterates its demand for more central government spending on the education sector and employment, as many students lag behind and a large population of youth struggle to find jobs due to the pandemic and lockdown. The organization demands that the funding for fellowships and scholarships for marginalized students, which have witnessed a decline in the last few years, be increased substantially in the next fiscal.
A decline in Education Spending in the Budget Disappointing: SIO
The union budget was expected to provide a stimulus for education and employment as many students are lagging behind while a large population of youth is struggling to find jobs due to the pandemic and lockdown. However, instead of providing them with some relief, the government continues its march towards full-scale privatization, under the garb of divestment. This blatant shift from the very idea of a welfare state is in the DNA of this budget.
Here are some observations about the education sector and employment in the Union Budget 2021-22:
-The annual outlay for the Ministry of Education has marked a sharp decline from Rs. 99,331 crore in the last year’s budget to Rs. 93…
SIO’s Statement on the arrest of Disha Ravi
The high-handed arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi on the ludicrous charges of sedition for editing a toolkit, essentially a publicly available document, is shameful and unacceptable. The government must heed the genuine demands of our farmers, instead of trying to create a ‘conspiracy’ bogey and make villains out of activists.
Mohammad Salman Ahmad
National President, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO)
New IT Intermediaries Rules spell doom for privacy and freedom of expression: SIO
The recently notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which cover social media intermediaries as well as the digital news and OTT Platforms, have raised several red flags.
Under these rules, the social media platforms are required to preserve data for 180 days – double the time period prescribed earlier – ostensibly for investigative purposes. The data has to be preserved even after a user has deleted their accounts, require the rules. They also provide for government and courts to force the platforms to identify the originator of specific information, even though it is still unclear how this kind of identification will be verified.
It is important to note that, in the absence of a data protection law and any kind of oversight on how surveillance operates in India, these requirements have a vast potential for abuse at the hands of intrusive state machinery. Used together with Information Technology Decryption Rules, the rules will allow the government to break any type of end-to-end encryption to gain knowledge of who sent what messages and also get to know its contents. The requirements will also break existing protocols for the deployment of end-to-end encryption that has been built through rigorous cybersecurity testing over the years.
The rules have come at a time when several litigations are challenging the government over its stance on surveillance and privacy. Excessive governmental control over digital news, OTT content, and other such areas require much more deliberations and wide-scale consultation with the experts and different stakeholders.
Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) demands that the government immediately withdraw these rules and initiate broad-based consultations and deliberations before redrafting them. We further urge civil society to constantly engage in dialogue on the subject of digital privacy and freedom of expression.