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...Horrified, you run to an Airtel store to quit the service but the shop assistant says you will lose the phone number you’ve used for decades if you do that. The absurdity of this skit is the reality of social media today. Social media users cannot communicate across platforms. If they don’t like a service, the fear of losing their entire digital networks renders them captive consumers. This also hurts competition as startups offering new features cannot compete with established firms. It is time social media is better regulated to protect consumers and encourage competition. Six years ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh introduced mobile number portability so users could take their mobile numbers with them to a different network. In January alone, more than 6 million people used that right to switch networks. The threat of losing customers has sparked competition leading to lower prices and better services. ...TOI on Sept. 9, 2017, 2 a.m.
...Luckily, he survived. Last Saturday, 23 others were not as lucky. They died when their train was derailed about 80 km north of Delhi. 156 others were injured. India’s railway is the most deadly in the world with 27,581 deaths in 2014 alone. That is about 530 people dying every single week. In the US that same year, 16 people died in railway accidents every week. In the UK the number was less than seven. Why do so many Indians perish on train tracks and what can be done to fix the problem? The answer is surprising: Subsidies, meant to keep the railways accessible to the poor, may be a key culprit. Some of the biggest drivers of death on India’s railways are derailments, people falling off overcrowded trains and others being run over as they cross railway tracks. ...TOI on Aug. 26, 2017, 2 a.m.