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FM announces Rs. 19,000 crore additional outlay for BharatNet project

IBEF:  June 29, 2021

On Monday, Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman announced an additional outlay of funds worth > Rs. 19,000 crore (US$ 2.56 billion) to expand the reach of broadbands in rural areas through PPP model and boost Digital India initiative. The project would offer extension of BharatNet broadband connectivity to all pending villages in India.

In August 2020, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi announced to offer broadband connectivity to all inhabited villages in 1,000 days. As of May 31, 2021, 1.56 lakh Gram Panchayats out of 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats have been made service ready.

FM, Ms. Sitharaman said, “As of May 2021, 1,56,223 gram panchayats have been made service-ready. To meet the 1,000 days target, an additional Rs. 19,041 crore (US$ 2.57 billion) is being provided to extend the same facility to the rest of the pending areas. This is an additional amount that would take the BharatNet project total cost to Rs. 61,109 crore (US$ 8.24 billion). We plan to complete the project work with this amount.”

The upgradation and expansion of BharatNet would include Gram Panchayats and inhabited villages.

In 2017, the final phase II of BharatNet project was launched. Under the project, the government aims to link up 1.5 lakh panchayats across 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and provide bandwidth to telecom players at ~ 75% lower price for Wi-Fi and broadband services in rural areas.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.