Gandhinagar: Update: A day after drawing controversy over his remark that the internet was being used just used to watch "dirty films" in Jammu and Kashmir, NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat on Sunday clarified that his statement was taken "out of context" and that he is not against the rights of the Kashmiris to have the access to internet.
Speaking to ANI, Saraswat said that he apologises if the 'misquotation' has hurt the feelings of the Kashmiris.
"I have been quoted out of context. If this misquotation has hurt the feelings of the people of Kashmir, I apologise and would not like them to carry this impression that I am against the rights of the Kashmiris to have internet access," Saraswat said.
In a shocking statement, NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat said that suspension of internet in the Kashmir Valley has had no effect on business and went on to add that nothing except ‘dirty films’ were being watched by the people in the region.
“What difference does it make if there is no internet in Kashmir? What do you watch on the internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there,” Saraswat said in reply to a reporter’s question on Saturday.
He further slammed politicians who wanted to go to Kashmir by saying, “Why do politicians want to go to Kashmir? They want to re-create the protests happening on the roads of Delhi in Kashmir. They use social media to fuel protests.”
Saraswat further said that nationwide protests surrounding the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had taken a hit on the country’s GDP.
“For the past 3 months protests have been ongoing against CAA on the streets. This led to the loss of man-hours, the shutdown of factories, hospitals and schools. All this has an effect on the GDP. The teachers in government schools are getting paid but classes are not being held, the salaries are being paid but the factories stayed shut, all this adds up,” he said.
The NITI Aayog member further spoke about the condition of the economy in the country and said that the “economy around the world, including America, China and other big countries” was on the downward slide.
He, however, added that the economy in India is stable and stressed that the country needed to focus on “standardisation, competitiveness and quality” were needed in the export sector to boost the economy.