"It must be noted that this is not an issue of just elite as it is being made out to be. It will affect even the poor because so many services are delivered over the internet today," Patnaik urged in a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman Rahul Khullar.

The government was trying to extend its services to the people through this medium because it would be effective and inexpensive. Present usage of the net seemed to encompass everyone, rich or poor, particularly the younger people, he added.

Stating that he did not see any justification in limiting the ability of new start-up companies to reach the internet user, Patnaik urged "Let us remember that the internet is not the market place but the market is made inside the internet."

"While the underprivileged deserve much more than what is available, nobody should decide what exactly are their requirements. You cannot force a person to use a certain mobile application because the telecom company believes that it should be doing so," Patnaik explained.

Patnaik said TRAI should make efforts to ensure that access to the internet for an Indian citizen anywhere in the country means un-throttled and equal access to the full spectrum of the open World Wide Web in practice.

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