PM holds review meet and pushes for greater involvement of states in the project o connect India
GN Bureau | May 25, 2015
After a review by prime minister Narendra Modi on May 11, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has called a meeting of state IT ministers and secretaries on May 29 to discuss the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project.
The government is looking forward to greater participation of the states in the project that seeks to provide broadband connectivity to all panchayats. This is of prime importance in the success of Digital India initiative.
Modi had held a review meeting on the project and discussed a report submitted by former IT secretary J Satyanarayana-led committee to fast-track the NOFN. Modi has been keen on increasing participation of the states in the project. It is likely to be renamed BharatNet and provided with an outlay of about Rs 72,778 crores.
The Satyanarayana-led committee had recommended: involvement of private sector for the project, increased role of state governments, use of satellites and radiowaves for providing connectivity to certain areas.
The BJP-led government had set a target to complete roll out in 50,000 village panchayats by March 31, 2015, another 1 lakh by March 2016 and the rest by end of 2016.
What is the National Optical Fibre Network?
The NOFN is envisaged as a non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure to bridge the digital divide. It is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), department of telecom, ministry of communications & IT,.
The NOFN will open up new avenues for access service providers like mobile operators, cable TV operators etc. to launch next generation services and spur creation of local employment opportunities encompassing e-commerce and IT outsourcing, as well as e-banking, e-health and e-education.
The project is being implemented by three central PSUs: BSNL, PGCIL and Railtel in the phase first.
What is Digital India?
Digital India is an ambitious programme estimated to cost Rs 1,13,000 crore, which will prepare India for the knowledge based transformation and delivering good governance to citizens by synchronized and co-ordinated engagement with both central government and state governments.
The vision of Digital India is to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It would ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically. It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically.
The Digital India vision provides the intensified impetus for further momentum and progress for e-Governance and would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities.
Digital infrastructure will focus on providing high speed secure Internet. Governance and services on demand will stress on integrating services across departments and jurisdictions and making services available in real time for both online and mobile platform.
Digital empowerment of citizens will pay emphasis on universal digital literacy and availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages.
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