IT Ministry Priorities: Broadband Connectivity To 2.5L Villages, Creating Electronic Manufacturing Hub & BSNL/MTNL Revival
In an announcement which can change the landscape of rural India, Government has decided to provide 2,50,000 villages with high speed broadband internet connection within 3 years. 50,000 villages would be covered by the end of this financial year, and then 100,000 each year till 2016-17.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is the Union Minister for Communications & IT, Law & Justice, shared his ministry’s plan at Delhi recently. While making this announcement, the minister said that 28 million direct and indirect jobs would be generated as his department is now focused on electronics manufacturing and broadband Internet access all over the rural India.
The minister also said that Rs 20,000 crore has been designated as a rough estimate to implement the mega broadband project in rural India. BSNL Power Grid Corporation and Railtel are already working on a pilot project which would be soon rolled out across India.
Some of the major announcements and priorities for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology are
– Identifying telecommunications and IT as the most important aspect of the Indian economy, the minister boosted the morale of the ministry and asked all officers to quit lobbying and concentrate only on growth and merit based project allocations
– Performance of BSNL and MTNL needs to be scrutinized and optimized as these are the national telecom carriers. The ministry will now have a focused approach to improve these government departments
– Telecom network in the North East India will be another area of massive improvement in the coming months. 8000 new mobile towers would be installed with an expenditure of Rs 5000 crore
– In principle approval for a nationwide Mobile Network Portability (MNP) has been granted, and implementation would soon begin after getting TRAI recommendations
– Electronics manufacturing will now be targeted for overall development of Indian economy. 8 new areas of Modified Special Incentive Subsidy Scheme has been identified where electronics manufacturing will be promoted and encouraged. Some of these areas include: Ghaziabad(UP), Vadodra & Gandhinagar(Gujarat), Nagpur, Nasik, Aurangabad & Thane (Maharashtra)
– A special Green Field Electronic Manufacturing Clusters in Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Maheshwaram, Bhiwadi, Jabalpur, Hosur and Kakhanada would be developed.
– Spectrum related issues concerning telecom providers and TRAI would be sorted out, keeping in mind the welfare of consumers and companies both.
– The formation of Postal Banks across the country would now be initiated. Already 1.5 lakh post offices in India has accumulated saving deposits worth Rs 6 lakh crore; which now would be channeled into the right direction.
During the election campaign, we had analyzed the manifestos of different political parties, and one promise of BJP which stood out was access to broadband Internet in villages. Within 3 weeks of formation of their government, announcements have already been made regarding the same. The government is going in the right direction as of now!