Union Budget 2014: Govt allocates Rs 500 cr for Internet connectivity in villages

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 10 2014, 21:58pm hrs
The government today said it will allocate Rs 500 crore for its 'Digital India' initiative to set up broadband network in villages and promote local manufacturing of hardware and Indian software products.

Under the Digital India initiative, National Rural Internet and Technology Mission, the government will focus on setting up broadband in villages, promote local manufacturing of hardware and Indian software products, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said while presenting the Budget for 2014-15.

"A special focus will be on supporting software products startups. A national rural Internet and technology mission service in villages and training in IT...I have provided a sum of Rs 500 crore for this purpose," he informed Parliament.

Also in what could provide more opportunities for the technology firms, the Minister proposed to set up 100 smart cities for which the government will provide Rs 7,060 crore.

Besides, in a bid to boost the earnings of the small and medium enterprises, Jaitley said manufacturing units will be allowed to sell their products through retail and e-commerce platforms.

'The proposed Rs. 500 crore allocation to set up broadband network in villages under 'Digital India' initiative is a welcome move. Parts of the investment should be spent not just in setting up infrastructure but educating and facilitating various opportunities. This would definitely open up more avenues for the technology startups to reach out to an exponential number of new consumers., says Sumesh Menon, Co-Founder & CEO, U2opia Mobile.

'We believe this is a forward looking move and welcome it as it will unlock the power of the internet for diverse industries like agriculture and banking and media till the very last mile.', he further adds.

"We believe that India is ready for internet for all and we welcome the Governments focus in this direction through the Digital India initiative. While we expect this effort to require more investments than the Rs. 500 crores earmarked at this initial stage, this is certainly a good beginning towards internet for all.", says Morten Karlsen Sorby, CEO of Uninor. Also, Internet in villages will not work unless it is affordable internet for all and this is where the telecom industry must partner the Government through innovative technology and business models, he adds.