The suspension of mobile services across 22 of the total 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh has impacted the Internet-based start-up ecosystem of the country’s biggest state.
The Internet restrictions were undertaken on 20 December as a measure to control protests against new the Citizenship Act for illegal immigrants.
Cab aggregator services, food delivery apps, and online retail services faced the brunt on business after Internet services were snapped as a precautionary measure. The state saw a dip in the sales of compressed natural gas (CNG), as most cabs were off the roads.
Cab aggregators like Ola and Uber, along with food apps like Zomato and Swiggy, have faced a dip in business owing to curbs imposed on Internet.
“Food delivery apps have seen volumes dip by 10-20% in the areas where the internet services were curbed”, said an official from a food delivery start-up. Online grocery stores also faced the brunt as per the official.
The lower number of cabs driving on the roads also affected the sales of CNG in the state.
In the state capital city of Lucknow, three CNG outlets experienced a dip in sales. At one of the outlets of Green Gas Limited, the average daily sale has gone down “substantially due to low footfall” in the last few days, officials claim.
As per an estimate, the average sales have dropped by about 50 percent. The outlet’s average daily sale is about 20,000 kg.
The scanty footfall comes despite one of the three CNG outlets in Lucknow being shut on the directive of the state administration due to threat perception.
At least 18 people have died in Uttar Pradesh protests against the amended citizenship law since Thursday, as police have repeatedly been forced to use tear gas and pellet guns to disperse protesters.
The Citizenship Amendment Act allows for Indian citizenship to be granted to non-Muslim immigrants from six religious minorities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who have fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and arrived before 31 December 2014.
The legislation, however, excluded Muslims from the same countries of origin from being granted citizenship, with protesters claiming that the law and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) are discriminatory against the Muslim community in the country. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shrugged off these claims, insisting that the law is not anti-Muslim.