Modi’s village broadband plans facing delays; will private players help fulfill the goal?

By: |
Updated: January 13, 2020 11:22:27 AM

Niti Aayog in a meeting with officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposed the public-private-partnership model in the BharatNet scheme to provide thrust in the lackluster functioning to carry out the service.

internet services in srinagar, Article 370, Kashmir valley, NEET, suspension of internet services in jammu, latest updates on jammu and akshmirThe union government had launched the BharatNet scheme to provide last-mile connectivity to every village and gram panchayats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious BharatNet scheme to connect India’s hinterland with Broadband is languishing, with the project already having missed its phase-1 target, and now phase-2 targets seemingly impossible to achieve. The government has called for help from private players to fill the gaps to overcome the current delays in implementation of BharatNet, The Indian Express citing an unidentified official. The union government had launched the scheme to provide last-mile connectivity to every village and gram panchayat. The scheme had an initial target to connect 2.50 lakh Gram Panchayats with high-speed internet connections by March 2019 but could connect only 1.18 lakh in the stipulated time.

“With an estimated Rs 19,516.37 crore having been invested in the scheme so far, the utilisation status of the infrastructure created under this so far is discouraging. Of the 1.26 lakh GPs that have been made service ready so far, WiFi hotspots are functional only in 15,000. The plan to provide fibre to the home (FTTH) connectivity is operational only at 27,856 GPs till end-December,” the report said citing the official.

As a result, the government is considering roping in private firms to meet the requirements set in phases 1 and 2. Central government think Tank Niti Aayog in a meeting with officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposed the public-private-partnership model in the BharatNet scheme to provide thrust in the lackluster functioning to carry out the processes required for the speedy launch of the services.

Under the PPP model, private companies will be brought in with maximum contract duration of 25 years and they will be allowed to bid circle-wise for the much ambitious BharatNet scheme. The selection of private players will be made on the basis of their quote for viability gap funding. The government is likely to mandate the term of on-demand internet service with minimum speeds of 50 Mbps to at least five developmental institutions in the given area under the proposed model.

Do you know What is Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Finance Bill, Fiscal Policy in India, Expenditure Budget, Customs Duty? FE Knowledge Desk explains each of these and more in detail at Financial Express Explained. Also get Live BSE/NSE Stock Prices, latest NAV of Mutual Funds, Best equity funds, Top Gainers, Top Losers on Financial Express. Don’t forget to try our free Income Tax Calculator tool.

Next Stories
1PM-Awas Yojna: Only a third of sanctioned units completed so far, state-wise numbers here
2FCI may face serious storage problem in a few weeks, here’s why
3India is in talks with Mongolia and Russia for importing coking coal: Dharmendra Pradhan