Internet users have no reason to trust the government in India after the NSA revelations last May.
“We have given the government a lot of problems,” said Bhaskar Niroshan, a founder of the Internet Society of India and an executive vice-president at the Indian Web Society that is working with the Internet companies. The country has “a very weak culture and trust, but they are not there and India needs a strong culture of trust.”
For example, Niroshan said, people’s trust in the Federal Reserve and Congress in America has plummeted after that central bank’s monetary policy changed from interest rate stabilizing to quantitative easing, making the economy’s economic performance far more variable than it would have been before the policy change. Niroshan said that is one of the main factors behind the rupee’s plunge over the past few weeks, due in large part to Americans seeing U.S. politicians as not as strong as they really are.
“They feel no fear” of government, said Niroshan, who grew up without internet access in India. “They feel that the government does everything but the economy is all the government has.”
“The government is very worried about not being able to maintain enough trust,” said Aniruddha Singh Badal, an analyst at BSE’s Prabhat Singh Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. In March, the government issued four new securities to address the concern that government is not meeting the promises it made on the transparency report issued by Auditor General Rahul Sinha last month.
In fact, the government’s own website is warning that the government’s current financial status is not sustainable. The web site on the government’s website was first launched in the days following the government’s controversial purchase of stakes in two media companies, one of them owned by the media magnate Reliance Jio’s media arm. The page was updated at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday and the government says its website now serves 30 million visitors per minute with a “fast and smooth rollout to their sites by 5:30 p.m.”
A government spokesperson said the government has revised the website to reflect the government’s latest financial statements. “For all those companies, the company website has been updated,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. The website shows the government’s financials for fiscal year 2016-17, “which includes changes of key financial institutions over the past three years” that were not announced to the press.