As mobile internet services and SMSes have been restricted in Gujarat for a week now owing to riots during a quota agitation led by young Patidar community leader Hardik Patel, the banks in the state have reportedly seen losses to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore, while telecom operators have also incurred a considerable loss.
The Gujarat government has suspended mobile internet access and exchange of SMSes since 25 August to check the spread of rumours as it got tough on the violent agitators. While the services were restored in some parts of the state on Tuesday, a call was likely to be taken on lifting the restriction fully later in the day.
Though it helped control the law and order situation, the suspension of mobile internet services adversely affected the daily activities of many companies and industries in the state. Businesses of online retailers, app-based cab services, banking operations and hotels were affected by the temporary ban on mobile internet.
"Communication through the internet is the crux of business nowadays. We are cut off from the international market completely," Bipin Patel, senior V-P, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The Times of India.
E-commerce sites, online taxi-hailing firms, net banking services have seen their transactions decline by 90% in the past one week, incurring losses running into thousands of crores. With online payment process being crippled, dispatch of goods has become impossible for the online retailers.
As SMS services are also halted in the state, online transactions have almost become impossible without a one-time password from banks.
"I had to shift to our Mumbai office for a couple of days to ensure the transactions were smooth. Authorities should allow mobile internet services to be functional on at least corporate telecom accounts as business has come to a standstill due to the suspended internet services," said Piruz Khambatta, chairman, CII national committee on food processing.
Meanwhile, the Income Tax Department has extended the deadline for filing income tax returns for the people in Gujarat to 7 September, while in other states it expired on 31 August.