Govt aims to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats via optical fibre by mid-2018

Rajalakshmi S | | Updated on: Jul 18, 2017
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Indian digital economy set to reach $ one trillion in another 5-7 years: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Around 1.5 lakh gram panchayats will be connected via optical fibre under the national optical fibre network programme of the Centre by mid-2018, the Union Minister for Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said today.

Of the targeted 2.5 lakh gram panchayats are to be connected under this programme, now called ‘BharatNet’, around one lakh has already been connected.

Speaking at an interaction organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Union Minister said: “One lakh gram panchayats have already been connected and by mid-2018, the remaining will also be connected.”

According to Prasad, the BharatNet project has seen better optical fibre connectivity during the Narendra Modi-led NDA regime. In three years, it has covered 210,000 km; compared to just 358 km being covered since it was announced in 2011. The Centre, he said, would look to push the Digital Gaon initiatives in the coming days. The scheme would see the launch of telemedicine, education and skills training through digital technology in connected villages.

“Around 1000-odd digitally connected villages in a district will be taken up to link people through technology like use of virtual classrooms and so on,” he pointed out.

Prasad further added that the Indian digital economy is expected to reach $1 trillion in another 5 years.

Digital economy Currently, the digital economy, which includes sectors such as fintech, digital payments, communications, cyber-security, electronics, IT and ITeS, is estimated to be about $400 billion.

According to him, the Centre has been able to save at least ₹50,000 crore through use of digital technology and by transfer of subsidy benefits directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

Published on January 11, 2018

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