In a bid to strengthen rural connectivity, the government has made an allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for the ambitious Bharat Net project, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said. The project will ensure high-speed broadband on optical fibre which will be available in over 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with hotspots and access to digital services at low tariffs.
"We have given Rs 10,000 crore to the Telecom Department to complete connectivity and implementation of various program," he said at an event.
A Digi Gaon initiative will also be launched to provide telemedicine, education and skills through digital technology, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his Budget speech.
"Under Bharat Net, optical fibre has been laid in 1,55,000 kms. I have stepped up allocation for Bharat Net project to Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18 and by the end of 2017-18, high speed broadband on optical fibre will be available in more than 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with hotspots and access to digital services at low tariff," he had said.
Terming the Budget 2017-18 "intrinsically innovative", Lavasa said the government has not tried to introduce new scheme, but focussed on those which gather momentum. There is a qualitative improvement in rural programs, he said, adding that Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana that started in 2002 should be over by 2018-19.