India File

Caught in a policy tangle

Pratim Ranjan Bose | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 28, 2016

Blank Calls Communication room in Tripura's Deocherra ASHOKE CHAKRABARTY

The NOFN pilot in Tripura is now on ventilator

Using the video conference facility provided by the NOFN pilot project, Bibek Debnath helps his fellow villagers in Bilthai in Tripura, connect to doctors and even shop online. However, the pilot is now on ventilator. The class-XII pass-out Debnath who was the IT assistant at the panchayat hasn’t received his salary for months. Most of his colleagues have stopped coming to office. NOFN was rolled out in Tripura without any policy direction on revenue generation. The initial NOFN policy paper gave states the option of preparing their own utilisation plan. This was referred as State model.

But, Tripura insisted on a central model, where in BBNL would share some bandwidth with the State establishments free of cost, in exchange of using public infrastructure, and market the rest. Two years down the line, BBNL is yet to respond to the marketing call. Meanwhile, the State IT department proposed charging nominal fees to villagers for using such data services.But that didn’t find favour of the State cabinet. Now none has any sense of ownership of the assets created.

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Published on March 28, 2016
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