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FM Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 19,000 crore Additional Outlay for BharatNet

When all the gram panchayats have been connected by the dedicated optical fibre network, last-mile connectivity to all villages will be provided by the commercial telecom operators.

June 29, 2021

Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt Nirmala Sitharaman

With the aim to provide a boost to the Digital India initiative, Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman has announced more than Rs 19,000 crore additional outlay for the BharatNet project which is aimed at providing broadband reach to each village through the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model.

On Independence Day last year, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had announced broadband connectivity to all inhabited villages in 1,000 days. Out of 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, 1.56 lakh Gram Panchayats have been made service ready by May 31, 2021.

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“1,56,223 gram panchayats are now service-ready. The rest have to be extended to the same facility so an additional Rs 19,041 crore is being provided so as to meet the 1,000 days target. This is a totally new amount I am announcing, taking the BharatNet project total cost to Rs 61,109 crore. We should be able to complete the work with this amount,” said FM Sitharaman.

Under the project, implementation of BharatNet in the PPP model in 16 states (bundled into nine packages) is to be done on a viability gap funding basis. An additional Rs 19,041 crore is being provided for the project.

The total outlay will now be Rs 61,109 crore including the already approved amount of Rs 42,068 crore in 2017. The expansion and upgradation of BharatNet will cover Gram Panchayats and inhabited villages.

Also Read: TSSC Partners with CSC to Train 1 Lakh Rural Youth for Maintenance of BharatNet

The second and final phase of the BharatNet project was launched in 2017. Under the project, the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at a nearly 75 percent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas.