BSNL, RailTel Responsible For BharatNet Failure; Private Firms Would Have Been Competent (Govt Panel)
The Standing Committee on Information Technology presented a report in Lok Sabha, expressing displeasure on the rate at which the three Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) had been implementing the first phase of project of BharatNet.
The BharatNet project is an initiative taken under the Modi government’s Digital India vision, to bring internet connectivity in all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the country.
The IT standing committee expressed its displeasure at the slow work one by BSNL, RailTel and PGCIL, in the implementation of the first phase of BharatNet project.
Work done by 3 CPSUs Criticised
The IT standing committee presented a report in Lok Sabha on Saturday, as per which the project assigned to BSNL, RailTel (a telecom infrastructure provider tied to Indian Railways) and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited to implement the first phase of BharatNet, lacked competency and planning.
“The way the project [BharatNet] had been implemented by the 3 CPSUs [Central Public Sector Undertaking] clearly indicated that they lacked competency and sufficient expertise to implement the project of this size.”
The committee also continued to add that the task could have been performed better by any other private agencies/global companies, rather than the CPSUs assigned.
BharatNet, erstwhile National Optical Fibre Network was approved by the government in October 2011.
It aims to bring internet connectivity to all 2.50 lakh gram panchayats in India through optical fiber to provide a faster, more reliable internet connection.
Three CPSUs were assigned to conduct the first phase of the project. The committee’s criticism of the CPSUs was related to how they implemented the first phase of BharatNet.
The committee noted, “BharatNet is the backbone and important pillar of ‘Digital India’ and the success of Digital India programme squarely rests on the success of BharatNet project.”
Why were the 3 CPSUs Chosen?
The 3 CPSUs chosen had prior experience in laying optical fiber and had already laid the fibre successfully in previous projects.
However, due to “inadequate” planning and preparedness, according to the report, the project lagged from 2011 to 2014.
Source: The Print