Over the last year, the Indian government has been campaigning to get the majority of Indians access to the internet through its Digital India initiative.Yet at the same time, several villages in the country have been trying to ban the use of mobile phones all together.Just this month, one village in Modi’s home state Gujarat banned all teenage girls and single young women from using mobile phones.
The village council in Mehsana district reportedly felt technology was becoming a ‘nuisance to society’ and compared the use of phones to alcohol, saying it distracted girls from their studies and household work.
Another village council in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh also announced a ban on the use of mobile phones and social media by girls below the age of 18.
Anyone found breaking the ban, has to pay a fine of Rs 2,100 (£21), while people who catch them out would be rewarded with Rs 200 (£2).They would only be let off if the women are talking to their relatives on their parents’ phones.
One village council member said: ‘Girls get spoiled and get involved in relationships with boys at a young age because they use phones.‘This further leads to crime against them. In our times, there were no such problems, but this technology has spoiled them and we needed to curb it.’
In India, there are around a billion mobile phone subscribers but there is equally a wide gender gap in terms of who owns the phones.According to a 2015 study, there were around 113 million fewer women than men owning a mobile phone in the country.