Phones have been banned in all colleges and universities in Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, because the regional government reportedly believes that students spend too much time on their mobile devices.

The state’s Directorate of Higher Education issued a circular announcing the new rule, which applies to both students and staff on all college and university campuses.The blanket ban is aimed at creating a “better teaching environment for students across all colleges and universities in the state,” the directorate said.

The crackdown was put in place after the government concluded that the state’s young scholars were having trouble focusing on their studies. It’s unclear what the punishment will be if a student or faculty member is caught using a mobile device on campus.

According to local media, the extreme measure was likely the brainchild of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Indian monk and Hindu nationalist Yogi Adityanath, who already prohibits the use of mobile phones during cabinet meetings. That ban was reportedly put in place because ministers were caught reading messages on WhatsApp during important government consultations.


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