Budget 2019: Every village to get Internet connectivity under Bharat Net: FM Sitharaman
Budget 2019: "This will be speeded up with assistance from Universal Obligation Fund and under a Public Private Partnership arrangement," the Finance Minister said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today informed the Parliament that under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan, over two crore rural Indians have so far been made digitally literate. Presenting her maiden budget for the Narendra Modi government, she said that in order to bridge rural-urban digital divide, Bharat-Net is targeting internet connectivity in local bodies in every Panchayat in the country.
"This will be speeded up with assistance from Universal Obligation Fund and under a Public Private Partnership arrangement," the Finance Minister said.
Notably, BharatNet Project is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fiber, implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) – a special purpose vehicle under the Telecom Ministry. The scheme is the government's ambitious rural internet connectivity programme.
The programme was implemented the Modi government in its first tenure, subsuming all the ongoing and proposed broadband network projects. The project, executed by BSNL, RailTel and Power Grid, is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF).
The programme aims to connect all of India’s households, specifically rural households through demand, affordable high speed internet connectivity to fulfill the objectives of Digital India programme in partnership with the states and the private sector.
The Bharat Net proposes broadband connectivity to households under village Panchayats and even to government institutions at district level, and aims to cover all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats for provision of E-governance, E-healthcare, E-Commerce, E-Education and Public Interest Access services.
Notably, Bharat Net's first phase was completed in December 2017, providing intenet access to 1 lakh Gram Panchayats, and so far about 83000 Gram Panchayats have been connected.
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