Here’s more talk from the central Government about making 2.5 lakh panchayats in India Internet enabled. According to a new report, the government is going to setup Wi-Fi hotspots in all those villages.
Remember, it was 10 years ago when the state government in Karnataka promised Wi-Fi in Bangalore, the state capital. A small stretch along M G Road in Bangalore got free Wi-Fi connectivity only a month ago.
The nationwide project, according to a report in the Hindu Business Line will cost about Rs 4,000 cr and has been initiated by the ministry of rural development. Funds collected from telecom operators under the Universal Service Obligation scheme, will be used to implement the project.
The ministry will foot Rs 2,000 cr of annual cost of operations. The proposal hasn’t received a cabinet approval yet
Karnataka Wants to Make All Families Internet Literate
Meanwhile, the state of Karnataka, home to IT giants like Infosys & Wipro has plans to make at least one member in every family Internet literate. The state’s IT & BT minister S R Patil told reporters that it wants to provide broadband connectivity to all panchayats in a year, reported Deccan Herald.
“The focus will be on students and women in the drive,” the minister said. For the program, organised as a part of the National Rural Digital Literacy Mission, the State government has partnered with chipmaker Intel. Nearly 18,000 computers will be installed for this.
Free Phones for Rural Poor
The government is also planning to distribute free mobile phones to rural households at the cost of Rs 7,000 cr. The scheme, expected to be announced announced in August last year, seems to have been delayed. We can probably expect some progress sometime around the General elections next yer.
The plan, under the program likely to be called the Bharat Mobile Scheme, is to give 25 million internet enabled phones to rural households. Beneficiaries under the scheme will have to pay a one time fee of Rs 300 for a smartphone and Rs 30 of phone credits.